June 2, 2011

Normally, I don’t deviate from web-specific discussions on this site, but I saw something yesterday that REALLY caught my eye: the new demo video for Windows 8.  Watch the video below (it’s ok – I can wait; it’s worth watching once)

Done? Great!  Now, show of hands; how many of you are legitimately excited by this? I know I am.  It’s no secret that while I’m not a person that deeply hates apple (I have an iPhone after all) that I prefer Windows because of a few specific areas (mainly price and gaming functionality).  Anything your Mac can do my PC can do.  Not necessarily better, but it can be done.

Windows 8 is really exciting for me.  The tiles are all built with Javascript and HTML5 (YES!) and the windows 8 “apps” are as well; basically this gives anyone with a semi-competent knowledge in web languages a decent shot at writing a really useful app, including guys like me who are specifically “front-end” designers.  I’ve also always had an affinity for the Metro UI (think Zune player and Windows Phone 7 interface).  The idea that one system can run on any device is exciting to me as well.

One thing I keep hearing in comment threads (and on other blogs) is how it’s a mistake to allow legacy support for older softwares to run on the tablet.  Basically, from what I can tell, people either want Windows as they know and love it, or the tiled touchscreen interface. They think that trying to have the best of both worlds is just a mistake waiting to happen.

I disagree.

I think that you NEED legacy support for businesses to even second glance at Windows 8.  No business will use the tiled start screen, and having the familiar workhorse that is Windows powering behind the scenes is a smart move.  Having the “tiled” apps alongside power user favorites like Excel and Photoshop allows you to truly get the best of both worlds.

Plus, having a machine that functions the same, even with different interfaces, is appealing to me.  For starters, my laptop will remain more like Windows Vintage, whereas a tablet and phone running the same software (and having access to the same apps and files) is appealing for work on the go.  I have one technology web that I can access at any time, but with the appropriate interface for the appropriate needs.

I welcome the new version of Windows, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the demo turns out when they release it.  Microsoft has never come out this early with a “sneak peek” at their new designs, but seeing what the prototypes have in store can only mean that the finished product will be that much cooler.

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  • jimvoorhies

    I think your point of view will end up being more true than Gruber’s. Mitch. Although I do understand the differentials he points out as a user experience professional, I am also a realist. People won’t care that the differences between accessing their Excel and Word files and accessing their photos are different and discordant. The’re already used to how Excel works and they won’t have a problem figuring that out. They’ll have more trouble figuring out how to use the new parts, especially if they’ve never used a smart phone. Businesses, where most Windows machines live, will also continue to go that way simply because they’re invested in the technology. They’ll use legacy where it means less redevelopment efforts and they’ll use tiles where it helps their people work faster.

  • jimvoorhies

    I think your point of view will end up being more true than Gruber’s. Mitch. Although I do understand the differentials he points out as a user experience professional, I am also a realist. People won’t care that the differences between accessing their Excel and Word files and accessing their photos are different and discordant. The’re already used to how Excel works and they won’t have a problem figuring that out. They’ll have more trouble figuring out how to use the new parts, especially if they’ve never used a smart phone. Businesses, where most Windows machines live, will also continue to go that way simply because they’re invested in the technology. They’ll use legacy where it means less redevelopment efforts and they’ll use tiles where it helps their people work faster.

  • jeremyflint

    I was under the impression that what they were demoing here was a new Touch UI for Windows 8. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it will make it on to your standard keyboard-and-mouse PC, but it is a better option for a touchscreen UI (tablet) than trying to shoe-horn Windows 7 into that realm.

  • jeremyflint

    I was under the impression that what they were demoing here was a new Touch UI for Windows 8. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it will make it on to your standard keyboard-and-mouse PC, but it is a better option for a touchscreen UI (tablet) than trying to shoe-horn Windows 7 into that realm.

  • jeremyflint

    I think the point Gruber was making is that they are making a mistake by forcing the full version of Excel into an arena where you don’t have the exactness of a mouse. He was only making the point that they should consider writing a mobile version of Office for use on tablets. And why not…Microsoft already has 10 versions of all their software anyway 😉

  • jeremyflint

    I think the point Gruber was making is that they are making a mistake by forcing the full version of Excel into an arena where you don’t have the exactness of a mouse. He was only making the point that they should consider writing a mobile version of Office for use on tablets. And why not…Microsoft already has 10 versions of all their software anyway 😉