Talk about Coming soon: cleaner, better looking spaces

This is just as cool as bananas! Look forward to seeing the new updates. Although I still prefer some solid changes to be made, I reckon changing too many in one shot is not realistic.

Two ideas that just come across my brain:

  1. Can we save my current customised theme as C1, save my next customised theme as C2, so next time when I want to change, all I need is just click my theme?
  2. Can we have our theme(s) randomly selected, or even customised themes rotating?

Nevertheless, I will wait to see the change's coming.


Coming soon: cleaner, better looking spaces

As promised last week, we’re going to talk in more detail about the exciting changes coming to Windows Live, and we figured we should start with the product you’re using right now, Windows Live Spaces.

More freedom to do what you want

Let’s start off with the most visible change: we’re removing the horizontal ad from your space!

Your space is all about your content, the way you want to show it, so we’re reducing the amount of clutter and giving you more freedom by:

  • Removing the horizontal ad from the top of your space
  • Making all of the modules optional (even the Title and Tagline module, which previously couldn’t be removed)
  • Using a simpler header that has less text than other pages in Windows Live
  • Letting you change themes, fonts, colors, and background images on your space using the customize menu
  • Letting you rename or not show the title of each module on your space by using the settings menu for each module in customize mode
  • Letting you select exactly which photo albums to show in your photos module – you can even customize what parts of the photos interface to display

(These last three are features that we’ve already implemented and are available today in Spaces)

Better looking pages

We’re also making some additional small changes to make your space look even better. One of the things we’ve done is to improve the typography on your space by using a larger, more readable default font, Segoe UI. It’s a subtle change, but it really helps make your content easier to read. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of our post from last week with the current font and with the new default font:

(Current version on left, new version on right)

We’re also doing a better job of differentiating titles from normal text by using different size text instead of relying on bold versus plain text. Of course, if you prefer the old font you can customize your space to use the old font (when we release the new update, we won’t override any font selections you’ve already made).

There’ll also be a couple of theme changes, mainly to the header and background images, that make things look a bit simpler, cleaner, and more attractive. The most obvious of these is that we’re getting rid of the 3D “bevel” in the header and moving to solid colors or unobstructed background images. You can see this in the comparison screenshot below:

(Current version on top, new version on bottom)

Don’t worry, these theme changes won’t break your layout or change the way your modules look – they’ll only affect the header and background images.

Improved blogging experience (especially with photos)

Blogging with photos will get even better with the next update. About a year ago we fixed the Add Photos button in blogs on Internet Explorer so your photos were inserted inline in your blog entry, which let you move them around, place them exactly where you wanted, and generally make your blog entries more attractive and appealing. With this release all browsers will be able to insert images inline, and you won’t need to install our upload tool in order to insert images. If you do install the tool, however, you’ll get a rich, drag and drop upload experience that makes inserting images from your computer, or from a photo album you already have on Windows Live, a snap.

We also built a great new photo preview that you’ll see when you click on a photo in a blog entry. Instead of opening up a new window with a larger version of the image, the current page will show a beautiful preview of the original size image (or as much as can fit on your screen):

In the coming days we’ll continue to blog about all of the cool stuff in the next release. We hope you’re as excited about it as we are. As always, please let us know what you think in the comments.

- The Windows Live team

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