Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Windows 7 User Interface and Interaction

Windows 7 will undoubtedly take the graphical user interface and the interaction model to the next level not only as far as the Windows client is concerned, but also in terms of the content designed to integrate seamlessly with the operating system.

Previews of what Windows client applications will look and feel like on Windows 7 are already available on Windows Vista via the Office 2007 System or the touch computing capabilities of Microsoft Surface, but also through the early development milestones of the next version of Windows. However, the Windows User Experience Interaction Guidelines provided by Microsoft deliver an insight set up to help developers tailor their applications to Windows 7, including advice for Ribbons, Touch, Pen and Printing.

“A Ribbon is a command bar that organizes a program’s features into a series of tabs at the top of a window. Using a Ribbon increases discoverability of features and functions, enables quicker learning of the program as a whole, and makes users feel more in control of their experience with the program. A Ribbon can replace both the traditional menu bar and toolbars,” Microsoft revealed. “Ribbons are a new and engaging form of command presentation, and a great way to modernize a program. But as compelling as they are, they aren’t the right choice for every program,” the company added.

Several default components of Windows 7, including WordPad and Pain have already evolved to embrace the Fluent/Ribbon graphical user interface introduced with the Office 2007 System, and which Microsoft is attempting to make ubiquitous with the successor of Windows Vista. At the same time, the Redmond giant is attempting to convince software developers that they will need to build their applications in accordance with the new touch computing capabilities in Windows 7.

“As touch spreads from Tablet PCs to other types of computers, software program developers and designers will find it increasingly important to support touch as well. All Windows programs should have a great touch experience. Users should be able to perform your program’s most important tasks efficiently using their fingers. Some tasks, like typing or detailed pixel manipulation, may not be appropriate for touch, but those that are should be touchable,” Microsoft explained.

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