28 September 2011

Hardware and touch as an input. Part 3 of 9. Microsoft Build 2011 - Windows 8

Written by Chris Bardon, Posted in Microsoft, Windows 8

In the Build keynote, one of the key takeaways was that the next version of windows was a touch first interface. They even made the claim that in a few years, screens without touch would seem antiquated, which shows that touch is really a big deal for the next version of Windows. Now, that’s not to say that things don’t work great with a mouse and keyboard, but looking at the Metro UI, there’s no denying that the large buttons and tiles are built with touch in mind.

With that being said though, what makes a great touch system? One mantra that kept being repeated at Build was “Fast and Fluid’. In testing, users tended to be much less tolerant of unresponsive touch interfaces-touching something required a much faster response than clicking something. There are also new challenges in interacting with the system, especially in cases where you no longer have the luxury of starting from scratch (i.e. desktop applications). A right click, which is perfectly natural on a mouse, turns into a click and hold, which is much slower, and even a double click often fails because of a lack of precision. Thankfully, Metro doesn’t suffer from many of these issues, largely because of conscious design decisions by the team. There are no right clicks, no click and hold, and a standard set of gestures that perform system tasks.

27 September 2011

Everything is the same (but better). Part 2 of 9. Microsoft Build 2011 - Windows 8

Written by Chris Bardon, Posted in Microsoft, Windows 8

Looking at Part 1 of this series, it would appear that Windows 8 is a radical departure from what we know as a PC, and in some senses it is, but then you hit the “desktop” tile and are greeted with something that looks very familiar-a standard windows desktop

26 September 2011

Everything is different. Part 1 of 9. What happened at the Microsoft Build 2011 conference?

Written by Chris Bardon, Posted in Microsoft, Windows 8

How do you summarize what happened at the Build conference in one blog post? Four very packed days of information about Windows 8 are pretty hard to distill into one post, so I’m not going to try. Instead, here’s a series of posts that each try to focus on one piece of the puzzle.