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MS Win8: Eight Traits of Great Metro Apps

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Microsoft published a video showing details about the interface details of Windows 8. It's 90 minutes long but definitely worth watching since Windows 8 is still going to be a major player on computers.

The video is too full with interesting things. So I am going to highlight only a few remarkable things. At the bottom you will find my personal notes which I took while watching the video. You might be interested in them too.

A Few Remarks

Microsoft has a great history of backward compatibility. With Windows 8, there will be a big difference: you will have «old style» programs (they did not use that term though) and there will be «Metro style» apps. The latter are Microsofts version of iOS or Android: the main purpose for Metro style apps is consuming data and not generating. Touch based devices will be the future - at least they say so.

Fun part: they show a conversion of a RSS program interface to a Metro style interface. That reminds me of this funny video you might already know.

I personally do not think that every device will be used with a touch interface. Working 8+ hours a day with a tablet will cause heavy neck pain. And touch interface displays which are in front of you will cause arm fatigue.

The only chance of overcoming this would be a touch sensitive device that is separated from your display like in this cool video. But there might be something in the queue because Microsoft seems to have adopted many things related to window management from that very same video!

Most things of this new Metro style interface I really do like! Content seems to be important and this is quite a change for Microsoft.

The best thing that is shown? To me it is the touch language. Other touch based operating systems like iOS and Android suffer from the fact that users have to learn each and every app. There is hardly any knowledge or experience that can be transferred from one app to another one. There are no standards for how a button looks like and so forth. Microsoft seems to invest into a touch language to compensate as much as possible. I hope that this touch language paradigm will exceed the simple window management which is shown in the video.

Animations are important to Microsoft. This is not something new. But this time, animations (only) seem to support the user experience like Apple always implemented. This is new.

Fun fact: the Jensen said that everything which is not using those new animations is crap. And the old style Windows interface never used such animations. So everything from Microsoft so far is crap - along to Microsoft :-)

Sharing will be fun with Windows 8 - just like with Android. Searching offers new possibilities which I do like.

Many things are very clever in Windows 8. But one thing still makes me think: the programmers are still the same old lame programmers that did very bad user interfaces so far. Windows 8 need programmers where the details are important. Where the content is the main focus. Where little things enhance the user experiments. And I am not sure, if current Windows programmers are about to change that radically. Many things are done by the system and by coding templates of Visual Studio. But programmer still are able to «break» the great Metro style user experience by producing mediocre Metro apps.

But there is a new hope for the Microsoft platform to finally get a good user experience!

Notes

There are many (rough) time stamps so that you can jump to interesting sequences directly.

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