Stack OverflowWhat are some examples of Windows desktop applications with beautiful GUIs?
[+15] [16] KC Kia
[2009-04-28 00:27:58]
[ gui winapi polls ]

This is a subjective question. For those who are Windows developers coding desktop applications, what are the most beautiful or nice looking GUI you have ever seen or built?

Why am I asking this? I'm looking for good models to follow.

See also:

What is the best UI you've ever used? [1]

(1) It may not be obvious to someone with 21 points what you mean by community wiki. - le dorfier
(2) @KC, usually the "close all subjective questions police" will close your question pretty quickly if you post a subjective / argumentative question and its not a community wiki. To avoid the public shaming by this annoyance its usually good to pre-empt and mark something as community wiki. I sometimes do it, and sometimes choose the public shaming. read all about it here… - Sam Saffron
(3) Whoever is voting to close this, please explain why? Its does not appear to be a dupe. I think its more productive just to edit the question and wait for it to turn to a cw - Sam Saffron
Thanks, sambo99. - KC Kia
(3) not a duplicate, as the other question is much more broad -- this is windows desktop apps only. And it's always nice to see examples of good ui - Jeff Atwood
Why so many deleted answers? (At least a dozen of them make sense) - peterchen
[+10] [2009-04-28 00:30:08] Martin

I have to say I think the new office ribbon is a paragon of usability.

Something Microsoft have got right.

That said, I've seen it emulated in several apps where it just doesn't work because poeple assume if it works for office it will work for my app. They fail to understand that it is not just a replacement for all menu/toolbars.

(10) Don't get me wrong, I think the ribbon is beautiful, but as for the usability, it is terrible. Expecially for someone who got used to a customized interface of the earlier versions (like me). It takes way too much space, also. - ldigas
(1) I don't mind it now, but WOW was there a learning curve. For a lot of people who have used previous versions of Office for some time (myself included), it was hell to work out where everything had gone... - Damovisa
I loved the new Office interface pretty much from day 1. I started using it in Beta and never looked back. There have been a few occasions where I've been forced to use the old interface...yuck. - Steven Richards
The new interface forces you to scroll through ribbons to find what you need, which is rather unintuitive. - Stefan Kendall
@Damovisa, don't forget the extremely helpful online help that simply said "Do it the new way" without saying what the new way was. As a user of Word since 2.0 during which the new features and UI affordances changed mostly gradually, the new ribbon was a complete shock. - RBerteig
Office 2010 is particularly nice, IMO. - Michael Itzoe
@Martin - I would argue that it is awful for usability and given that every single person I've met complains about it, I'd say I'm right. Whomever thought up the idea to put a magic little icon in the bottom right corner of a ribbon section to indicate another menu of choices should be shot. In addition, menus afforded the user the ability to browse the various commands available. No easy means to do that with a ribbon. - Thomas
[+9] [2009-04-28 00:34:01] Rob Allen

Blu [1]: a twitter client from thirteen23. Its so beautiful you would think it was made for the iPhone. It's built on .Net 3.5, WPF and unicorn tears.


I don't use Twitter but now I wanna just for the sake of that app.. - JulianR
[+8] [2009-04-28 00:32:39] JRL

Google Chrome. A+.

Although it looks nothing like a native Windows app. - Ed S.
(8) Because it looks nothing like a native Windows app. (FTFY...) - Shog9
Safari 4 on Windows is very Chrome-like but I think they pull it off much better. - Joey Robert
+1, but I think it would be very difficult to follow the Chrome model and get it right. You can break the rules when you know what you're doing (like Google do), but if you don't have their level of expertise it might turn into a bit of a mess. - Skilldrick
Very clean UI. I like that. I always used Windows Internet Explorer until version eight, when I think the UI became to full of small buttons and stuff. - Andreas Rejbrand
@JRL - Somehow there is this thought that menubars, toolbars, and in the case of Chrome, sidebars make for poor usability. IMHO, I'd give Chrome a solid C on usability and B on aesthetics. - Thomas
[+7] [2009-04-28 00:36:26] MartinStettner

Google's Picasa Application

(1) That's does not look ANYTHING like a Windows app. - Isaac Waller
???! I do NOT mean the web application. The the desktop version looks as much as an Windows app as Office2007 does ... - MartinStettner
Picasa is one of my favorite Windows apps. Wonderful example of the sort of fast, slick UIs that are possible. - Shog9
(2) +1. I think Picasa is the definition of a beautiful GUI - that is not just displaying eye candy but doing whatever you do as seemlessly and intuitively as possible for the user. - utku_karatas
[+3] [2009-04-28 00:53:57] Michael

I've found that programs that follow the GNOME Human Interface Guidelines [1] are easier to understand, more humane, and more pleasurable to work with compared to those that aren't. This doesn't apply just to Linux, however. Programs for Windows that follow these guidelines are generally much nicer than almost anything written on Visual Basic.


Thanks, Michael. That is a very useful link. - KC Kia
(1) I find it more than a little ironic that GNOME suggests not using icons which consist solely of a picture of a foot. - Instance Hunter
[+2] [2009-04-28 00:45:45] Sam Saffron

One of my favorites is DVD shrink [1], it was last changed in 2004 and still looks pretty good. It has an almost perfect balance of advanced/simple features and the UI is dead easy to use.

I wish more applications were like it.


DVD shrink has a solid UI - Shog9
[+2] [2009-04-28 00:52:12] Damovisa

Klok [1] for me.

Nice and simple - minimal interaction required.


[+1] [2009-04-28 00:29:59] ldigas

Visual Studio 2008
New Office package (Word, Excel), Autocad ... the ribbon style

[+1] [2009-04-28 00:57:52] Happy

Sync Toy [1]


it is certainly easy to use. I would like more power features though that don't involve me building something from the sync framework. For example, you can rename a folder pair, but you can't change the actual folders it points to. If they move or get renamed you have to start all over. - Rob Allen
[+1] [2010-06-15 14:40:33] DeadlyBrad42

I am particularly in love with Paint.NET [1]. I think it's one of the best WPF apps out there.


[0] [2009-04-28 00:31:30] John T

I think this [1] thread contains what you're looking for. It answers what the best GUIs are in general, I think you can easily pick out which ones are windows apps.


[0] [2009-04-28 00:50:15] Peter


It's not bad in general, but deserves a mention mostly for it's progress dialog with a little tortoise flying between folders.

[0] [2009-04-28 00:55:24] Happy

Microsoft Expression [1]


[0] [2009-04-28 03:32:55] Ben

I personally like the new Office 2007 interface. Whatever you do, make it blend with the default scheme of the OS you are targeting. I absolutely abhor GUIs that have some strange scheme, i.e. Action Replay.

But also have some respect for existing users. If you are going to completely replace the UI, you have an obligation justify the non-negligible learning curve cost to an existing user. If you don't, they will refuse to upgrade because of that cost. - RBerteig
[0] [2010-06-15 14:37:22] RHaguiuda

I really loved YNAB [1] GUI. It`s clean and beautiful.


[0] [2010-06-15 14:46:41] Andreas Rejbrand

I loved the GUI of Microsoft Encarta World Atlas 97. Screenshot [1]. I also think that the Blender GUI is very "cozy" and nice: screenshot [2].

I also like my own AlgoSim [3] GUI: