As we inch closer to the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012, Windows 7 is becoming a speck in our rear-view mirror while Windows 8 appears on our horizon. One of the most interesting features on Windows 8 is the touch-enabled user interface (UI) - Windows 8 still offers a traditional desktop UI as well. In the physical world, we interact with everything using our sense of touch; Windows 8 mates the physical and digital user interfaces.
In the digital world, Windows 8 is starting the paradigm shift towards a more natural touch-based interface. Touch enabled UI creates a natural user experience that simulates physical interactions on a digital form factor. The Metro UI style was created to augment touch-based form factors in a way that would simplify how we navigate the operating system.
This has sparked some controversy within the developer community. A blog post about Windows 8 was posted to help clear the air. Some believe Windows 8 has become more consumer-centric with"gimmicks" like touch functionality and 3D.
Steven Sinofsky, President of Windows Division, stated in a blog post about Windows 8 that, "Some of you are probably wondering how these parts work together to create a harmonious experience. Are there two user interfaces? Why not move on to a Metro style experience everywhere? On the other hand, others have been suggesting that Metro is only for tablets and touch, and we should avoid “dumbing down” Windows 8 with that design."
Steven Sinofsky also went on to state, "We knew as we designed the Windows 8 UI that you can’t just flip a bit overnight and turn all of that history into something new."
The folks at IdentityMine agree that the Windows 8 UI brings together two great experiences; one touch-enabled and one traditional (mouse + keyboard). Just like the Silverlight vs. HTML5 debate, we don't believe Microsoft is focusing heavily on either side (touch or traditional UI) - they are trying to create a product that appeals to all types of consumers (this may be both good and bad). Although, many believe that an operating system should not be simplified because there is a loss of control and functionality needed to run a computer at an enterprise level. Microsoft is trying to appeal to the average consumer by creating an UI that is geared towards social networking, web browsing, and emailing.
Is Microsoft sacrificing the dev./tech community by making a simplified OS that appeals to a consumer-centric market?
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