Video: First Look at Windows 8 Interface
Even though the launch is possibly more than a year away, it's not too early for Microsoft to start teasing us with a look at Windows 8. And it looks amazing.
As you can see in the video above, the Windows 8 interface has been completely redesigned and designed specifically for a touch interface, something that will make Windows 8 far more tablet-friendly. (Windows 7, technically, has a touch interface, but it's tedious to use because it was designed primarily for mouse navigation.)
If the design aesthetic reminds you of the Metro UI found in Windows Phone 7 devices , you're right. Several Microsoft executives have mentioned that Metro UI heavily influenced the design team for Windows 8, and Microsoft wants all its operating systems to feel similar going forward.
Touch navigation is really smooth and responsive. Microsoft demoed a working version of Windows 8 at the D9 technology conference yesterday (June 1) running on a simple desktop. Windows 8 will reportedly require fewer resources than Windows 7, which will be an advantage for mobile devices.
The new interface has a revamped home screen that indeed looks more like a smartphone than a traditional desktop interface. Gone is the Start menu, replaced by a home screen with all a user's apps prominently displayed along with relevant information (weather from weather apps, stock prices from stock apps, etc.). Icons are much more informative, and they open with a tap to display the full app.
The traditional (since Windows 95) Start button is nowhere to be found. Instead, swiping back and forth shows all the relevant data. Swiping left from the right side of the screen brings out a small menu with search, share and connect options, as well as an icon that will take the user to the settings menu. The Windows logo in this menu will instantly take the user back to the home screen.
Even though the design is reminiscent of Windows Phone 7, Microsoft hasn't forgotten that this is for computers, so multitasking and multiple windows are still an integral part of the experience. Microsoft created a feature called Snap to take care of this. Swiping right and left instantly switches between apps, and swiping and holding from the left side of the screen brings out a context menu with running apps. This allows the user to flip a second window onto the screen, and slider bars let the user decide just how much screen room each app takes.
It all looks rather fantastic and delightful to use, but remember that this is just the pretty bits. Underneath is still the code behemoth we've come to love and loath in Windows. Microsoft has simply redesigned the interface, and it's not even complete. In the video you can see the file system menu boxes are unchanged from Windows 7 even though everything around it looks brand-new.
Regardless, Windows was in desperate need of a new interface, especially with Microsoft's outspoken desire to put Windows on tablets. It's simple, fast and, for the first time in a long time, makes Windows seem inviting.
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