CTL32.DLL was a library used in some win3.1 delphi
programs which simulated there being a mysterious floating light above your left shoulder which only shone on windows UI
thought it was such a good idea, they built it into win95
... and that is how "3D Elements" came to be in the "Appearance" Property sheet
.... This was probably the biggest shiny
ness factor in win95's UI.
For most people, the thrill wore off pretty quick once they got to know windows; so microsoft decided that rather than improving usability
and stability, they needed to make windows look even shinier... so they made Plus!
... and IE4
.. but that still didn't help...
, microsoft introduced smooth scrolling
(read: slow scrolling), menu slideout, mouseover
effects for menus and gradiated titlebars
(as seen in MS Office
97)... yet still hadn't managed to make any leaps and bounds in user interface
design.. (okay.. the address toolbar
is pretty damn cool)
But who needs stability when Win XP
has Alpha Blending
effects, and big shiny primary colored buttons...?