Ribbons to Make Windows 8 More Tablet-Ready

While the debate over how ready Microsoft will make its next iteration of Windows–Windows 8–tablet-ready is continuing, Microsoft is continuing to experiment with the ribbons user interface that was present on Windows 7 and its Office suite and extend the paradigm into Windows 8. Gone will be the menu-driven toolbars in favor of the ribbon, which has graced various Office 2007 and 2010 applications along with Windows 7 core apps like Paint and Wordpad. In Windows 8, ribbons will go system-wide, which will probably help Microsoft tackle the touch-driven computing form factors, including tablets.

In the past, the company has stated that Windows will be the tablet OS of choice, which is a different direction from what Apple is doing. Rather than scaling up its mobile Windows Phone 7 operating system to accommodate the larger tablet screen, Microsoft will be utilizing a full-fledged desktop OS for tablets, a move which can be seen as controversial as Windows in the past has been designed for keyboard and mouse interface, not pen and touch. However, the move towards ribbons may help Microsoft with the tablet market as ribbons provide a more intuitive classifications of actions into categories and the larger buttons are more conducive to touch than smaller text-based options on drop-down menus. For instance, hitting a picture of scissors for the function “cut” is easier to navigate since ribbons provide larger icons for touch than trying to hit “Edit” and then the text for “cut” in the drop-down menu.

In the pre-release build of Windows 8, ZDNet is reporting that beta users can turn off the ribbon UI for the traditional UI if they so choose, but the publication is uncertain whether this toggle will make it to the final release build of Windows 8.

  

Comments

  1. Djblois says

    I currently have a Windows Tablet and the Ribbon is NOT much better for touch input than the menus. The reason is as the screens get smaller so do the buttons. Tablets which are naturally smaller have smaller buttons eliminating any perceived benefit of the new ribbon interface.

  2. Anonymous says

    big bars full of tiny buttons do not, in fact, make anything tablet ready.
    It really is perplexing how a multi-gajillion dollar corporation who invests all kinds of money in usability r&d for future products and whatnot cannot grok the concept that small buttons are hard to push with big fingers.
    It is mind-boggling at the very least and frankly becoming infuriating to watch.

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