Windows 8 design choices explained in new interview

Microsoft made the choice to redesign its upcoming Windows 8 operating system to incorporate touch screens via its tile-themed Metro user interface. In a new interview at Gizmodo, Microsoft's Sam Moreau, the Director of User Experience for Windows, talks more about the kinds of decisions that the company has made to make Windows 8's new UI work.

When asked what was the one thing he was most proud of in the design aspect of Windows 8, Moreau states:

We designed a future model that didn't have to leave the past at the same time. If it was like a blank piece of paper, "go design something," that's an easy challenge. But if somebody gives you, "Here's 25 years of code and built-in patterns and interaction models and everything like that now, and here's this whole stack of future needs and desires and wants for interaction or whatever," and then they said, "Now design the whole thing," that's one of the hardest design challenges there is, right? To pass down the future at the same time and make it cohesive. And I think we did. I think we've made it elegantly, gracefully using the entirety of the PC's legacy and potential at the same time in this design.

When asked what people don't like about Windows 8, Moreau says:

When you change something—this is my own personal observation—a lot of us know how the PC works, become the help desk for all of our friends and family. Inherent in that is a sense that I know. I've got this expertise now, I've got this power. We've changed something now, and leveled the playing field for all those personal help desks, so they're no longer the guy. It's human nature—I had invested in this, I knew this, and some degree of my self was aligned to the fact that I know how this stuff works. I do think that's an aspect of what's going on.

One of the things that Windows 8 will share with previous versions of Windows is the task manager. However, Moreau believes that users of Windows 8 won't actually use it. He states:

You don't have to close stuff—in fact we don't think you need to close anything—but people seem to want to close. It is definitely one where we felt we had to add it, because people want it, not because they need it. None of those things are running. None of them are running. And you could go into task manager and see that nothing is running. You will be able to go in and see that they are all suspended and not taking any battery or doing anything. In RAM. That's all. They're taking up a little bit of RAM, but they're not degrading the system or your battery power, and that's what people think. It's a little more touchable this time. The targets are bigger. The task manager, you shouldn't ever have to use it.

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