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      Archiving things like this is so important. IMHO, the limitations of these platforms in the 80s and 90s (in terms of pixel density, usable colors, overall performance) led to way better decisions in user interface usability. Specifically things like clearly highlighting focus, active state as well as interactive elements is something that seems to be lost every time a major redesign is done in current desktop operating systems and lots of web apps.

      It’s always fun to show UI designers solutions to “current” usability issues with a screenshot of software from before they were even born.

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        It’s interesting to note that, while pixel density was obviously different (retina screens were… not around yet), the available screen estate was in some cases comparable to modern systems. Just a few examples:

        • The Microstation 5 screenshot is 1664x1248 – that’s actually a little more screen estate than my modern (well, last-year) laptop :). 1600x1200 offers you about 93% of the screen estate of a 1920x1080 screen.
        • At 1152x900, the SunWrite 1.0 screenshot covers about half my screen’s area (1920x1080 on a laptop), but the vertical width is comparable. However, a modern Windows UI (no idea what the toolkit is called at this point, I stopped keeping up years ago…) button is about 50% taller than the… XView? buttons in the screenshot (36px vs. 21px). Factoring in the extra padding, the equivalent Text Property window on the right would be about twice as big. In an interface dominated by vertical widgets (e.g. monitoring apps), you’d have to scroll about twice as much – or, equivalently, you could monitor about half as many items at once.
        • Windows Explorer’s titlebar-plus-tab-bar combo that’s supposed to save space is 40px high on my machine (I did fiddle with titlebar heights a while back, it might actually be smaller than the default). In this screenshot of Windows NT, the titlebar is about 21px high, and a tab is about 21px high. Total space saved: 2px, at the expense of a practically undraggable titlebar (if you click and drag on a tab, it tries to detach the tab, so if you have a few tabs open, you’re left with about 100px’ worth of titlebar space where you neither minimize the window, nor detach a tab). The first Windows NT machine I used had a 1280x1024 screen; the vertical screen estate was definitely comparable to that of a modern 1920x1080 screen.
        • Similarly: in Firefox, with the top menu bar disabled (I keep it enabled because man fuck hamburger menus but anyway), the window’s “header” – titlebar-cum-tab-bar, address bar, and bookmark bar – is 116px, in Firefox’ unsupported compact mode, normally it’s even bigger. The equivalent Safari window in this screenshot is 113px, but note that that desktop was 1200px, so there was even more vertical screen estate available (actually, a screen is 1600x1200, so it’s about the same size as a modern HD display). Edge is even worse, the “header” is 140px tall. Modern browsers, without exception, show you more browser and less content than, what, twenty years ago?

        (inb4 but touch screen: this is a pretty hefty compiling and CAD workhorse machine. It doesn’t have a touch screen and there’s not a single application it runs that would even benefit from one).

        Windows 11 is actually the happy case, retrying the last experiments with either Gnome or KDE, both of which have huge themes by default, is bloody hilarious.

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        NeXTSTEP and RiscOS particularly jump out. They both still look good today (better than some modern GUIs) and had similar takes on how UIs should work that were far more discoverable than anything in the last 10 years.

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      Lot of nostalgia here for me. Fond memories of Sun OpenWindows, A/UX, OS/2, and early FVWM on Slackware.

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      Can’t find anything about Environ-V (could be that that search engines are also bad nowadays); anyone can ID the UI font?

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        Do you mean the window titles? Looks like italic Univers.

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          Thank you, it does indeed look like it!

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      I love stuff like this.

      See also: http://toastytech.com/guis/

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        These are all so inspiring. And here’s a shameless plug of a UI gallery of my own: http://peisik.untergrund.net/engines/

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        Ooh, let’s do a thread with these!

        Amiga-specific but also very cool, as it includes some screenshots from beta and/or unreleased Workbench versions: https://www.gregdonner.org/workbench/ .

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        Me too. And I also love things like the IE is Evil page from that site.