Sep 18, 2011 0
Microsoft unveiled a preview release of their upcoming Windows 8 during their BUILD developer conference this week.Among updates the usual performance and security updates that usually accompany a new Windows release, Microsoft presented their new Metro user interface. METRO is a new way to interface with your windows computer that is optimized for touch-screens. This new interface is Microsoft’s response to the popularity of the iPad and tablet-style devices.The new METRO interface will be amended to the new Windows 8 which is a bit similar to what most people are used to seeing. It resembles Windows 7 in look and feel. Users, can then decide if they prefer to use the METRO solution or the more familiar Windows experience.
The new touch interface is a drastic departure from the Windows desktop environment we are all used to. Where we had previously relied on desktop icons, the METRO user interface provides tiles that contain information for each application. This information can be dynamic or pull content from your computer’s user profile. Weather tiles for instance, will pull real-time data from the web and show you a dashboard summery without having to open the application at all.
In addition to a low barrier-to-entry for programmers and developers, the METRO interface represents a unique shift in the way that Microsoft believes we will interface with our computers moving forward. Much like the convenience of an iPad, the new desktop model is more about managing the user’s life and curiously than treating the environment like a workstation. Easily customizable, the interface has the potential to change the way most people interact with their computers.
The concept of the dashboard is nothing new. Windows Vista introduced widgets, a simple, single focus application that ran on the desktop or taskbar for easy reference. The METRO interface begins with a single focus of providing flash information and moving the user into a task. Each tile represents an chance to optimize the user’s time and eliminate the need to open an application for a quick-glance.
These tiles also represent a tremendous new channel for market’s to move their brand to a user’s desktop experience. An allergy brand that can present real-time allergen data to users. Emails should be designed to take advantage of inbox previews which will make their way to the display tiles.
Windows 8 is far from release, with an expected release to the consumer market in early 2012. It’s not so far off that developers and marketers should not begin planning what the new user experience will be on this platform and how it will shape the user’s habits online.