Microsoft have given the first public demo of the user interface that will be included in the next version of Windows, currently known as Windows 8.
At the D9 conference yesterday, Windows and Windows Live President Steven Sinofsky brought Corporate Vice President of Windows Program Management, Julie Larson-Green with him to show a demo to the audience. She has also written about the design of the interface in this article.
Microsoft have also posted the first of what promises to be a series of videos to YouTube. This one gives a good impression of the new user interface.
It’s clear that it is designed around touch and gesture, and shares a lot in common with the Metro interface of Windows Phone 7. Thankfully, for old fogies like me, the traditional Windows 7 interface will still be available. While I think that the new touch interface will be wonderful on tablets, slates and other handheld devices, I’ve never been convinced about its efficacy on touchscreen PCs. Reaching out to the screen in front of me all day will have a tendency to give me gorilla arm, I’m sure.
And while the interface can be driven by a mouse, I have the feeling that a mouse is not the best device for this sort of interface. For example, you can use a mouse in a paint application, but the experience has been likened to “painting with a rock”. A digitiser with either a touch interface or pen is much more suited to these applications. I suspect that we’ll see a resurgence of digitiser pads if Windows 8 takes off.