Beta 3 UX Improvements

Hi everybody, Max here. I posted before about "A New Look for IE” back when we released the beta 2 preview, and with the launch of beta 3, I wanted to take a moment to tell you about some of the new functionality we have added and changes we have made specifically related to your feedback.

First and foremost, let me thank everybody who has put the time and effort towards giving us feedback, whether it’s through our connect site, participating in our monthly online chats, talking with us at the conferences we attend, or even just commenting here on our blog; this helps us make the product better for you. Since beta 2, we’ve fixed many issues, and we continue to drive to releasing a more secure, reliable, easy to use browser with IE7.

New Icons

In response to feedback especially here on the blog and on Channel 9, we want to show you some new icons for beta 3.

New Icons in Beta 3

We’ve lightened up the stop, refresh, and search icons, and we’ve changed the icons for the favourites center and add to favourites to give you back the good old favourites star.

Tab Reordering

The next big change we have made, which I’m super excited about as this was one of the more highly voted for issues on the connect site, is that in beta 3 you’re now able to reorder tabs via dragging!

Tabs Dragging

Just drag the tab where you want it to go. This is a super convenient way to keep your tabs organized within your window.

Authenticated FTP

We also heard lots of feedback about FTP not working in IE7. In beta 2, anonymous FTP sites worked, however if the site required authentication, then one needed to either use windows explorer to get the familiar folder view of the FTP site, or use the somewhat arcane ftp://username:password\ URL format in order to make it work in IE7. In beta 3, IE7 now prompts for credentials and gives an html view of the FTP site. If you’re interested in the folder view for the FTP site, simply choose the “Open FTP Site in Windows Explorer” menu entry from the Page menu.

FTP Meny Entry

Easy Access to Email

Earlier in the IE7 development cycle, we decided to remove the command bar icon that provided access directly to one’s email. Through our Customer Support Services division, we learned that the lack of this icon was in fact one of the top call generators for IE7 beta 2, and hence we’ve added this icon back. It’s now available to be put into your command bar through the customization menu. Right click on the command bar and select Customize Command Bar -> Add or Remove Commands.

Customize Toolbar

A smaller change

There’s one more change I want to tell you about, first because I think it’s a great example of a small detail that makes a big difference in how much people enjoy using the browser, and secondly because it was expertly done by one of our new summer interns, Michael Ritche.

IE6 featured auto scaling of large images to fit the browser window, and it had this weird button that would show up over the top of the image after some indeterminate amount of time. It felt a little odd to use, and was somewhat unpredictable. In IE7, thanks to Michael, we’ve replaced this with a simple magnification cursor. Now, you can click to zoom the image to full size, and the image will be centered on where you clicked.

Zoom of a Calgary shot

This was a great first change by Michael, and we’re sure there will be many more.

Jane has posted details of some UX improvements in the RSS experience on the RSS team blog. Check them out.

As we look towards finishing IE7 and starting in our next release, please keep the feedback coming! With your help we’ll continue to improve Internet Explorer.

Max Stevens
Lead Program Manager