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UIs to the extreme… When is it enough?!?

July 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Just looking at the title, you might be thinking what am I on about. Well it’s fairly simple, when creating a new UI for an OS, when is pushing it to the extreme enough?!? I found myself asking this question tonight as I am busy downloading the new Office Preview and to me delight or night it has a full Metro look and feel to it.

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Hence my question… When creating a new operating system UI, when is pushing the new look and feel to much. Well let’s look back a few years. Windows 3.1 was not the prettiest OS in the world, but was a step up, to an extent, better than DOS. And then came Windows 95, 98, ME, XP, Vista and finally Windows 7. Each time a much better looking, and in some cases, a better OS than before. But it improved consistently from a UI perspective over the the years.

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Then we had this odd ball which was is the Windows Phone 7 which introduced us to Metro. A very clean and “Flat” UI which makes perfectly sense on a phone as you want to push as much performance out of it as possible and it works absolutely brilliantly, in my opinion.

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Then Windows 8 came around, and albeit it still not fully released, but further extended the Metro look. Now again, from a “Tablet”perspective it makes sense and even from a PC it works well even though you might not have a multi-touch screen. But what has been great was the fact that you still had a desktop which enabled rich UIs.

Then the new Visual Studio came out and I must admit, I prefer using notepad and the C# compiler to using it. It is the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen. And to my surprise (NOT) the new Office looks the same. Now I can understand where Microsoft is heading with this, especially with Windows Phone 8 and WindowsRT sharing a kernal and enabling applications to be written once and deployed on multiple versions… But I cannot see myself developing in Visual Studio 2011 on WindowsRT. I need at least Windows 8 Pro to do that, and most people would agree. Yes we need to look at WindowsRT to ensure our application will run on it, but after trying to develop on the GalaxyTab with the Java IDE they provide, it is exceptionally frustrating, especially with real estate.

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So again the question beckons, when is it enough.

The Surface will give us only Metro in WindowsRT, but then you have Office and Office Apps to cater for that. Why have a Metro UI for Office. But even more disturbing, I think, is something like Visual Studio 2011 in Metro. Surely you high end development environments should be exempt from that. My concern is that we are heading for LCARS, in Star Trek. Which in itself is a very sexy UI, but unless I get a starship with it, would I really like to trade in my Windows 7 UI for that?!?

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Just something to ponder over as Windows 8 & Windows Phone 8 is getting closer and closer to release. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ll get both devices & OSes again, because I believe in what Microsoft is doing… But maybe, just maybe they are pushing things to far… As a side note, the XBox 360 already has the Metro look and feel and had it before everything else. Now it works great there, especially with the kinect. But again, are things being pushed to far this time.

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Categories: General, Windows 8 Tags: