I think it’s important that Microsoft are flagging the ‘visual treat’ that will be Vista. SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 has great visuals – it’s good that this is being flagged across all desktop OS.
Rule 12: Reserve development time for “fit and finish”!
To deliver high-quality fit and finish, build in time to attend to UI details. Scheduling time for a visual clean-up at pixel level, layout corrections (alignment, spacing), and other visual “fit and finish” is as important as it is to schedule time for bug fixing and other types of quality control.
Perception is reality, and if your customers don’t experience quality in your product throughout, they may conclude there is lack of quality everywhere. A visual bug seen by all your customers might do more damage to your program’s reputation than a rarely occurring crashing bug.