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Microsoft talks about Windows 8 Ribbon and Metro UI

Steven Sinofsky, in yet another Building Windows 8 blog post, reflects on feedback given regarding Windows 8 and its user interface. Sinofsky also responds about negative criticisms of the Ribbon UI and the importance of the Metro UI.

“I would add that we do believe we have taken into account many of the criticisms we were certain would surface. We chose the ribbon mechanism, and to those that find that a flawed choice, there isn’t much we can do other than disagree. We were certain, and this proved out, that the dislike of the ribbon is most intense in the audience of this blog. Said dislike, we assumed, would produce a high level of commentary, much the way some topics during Windows 7 blogging did. That assumption was correct,” Sinofsky states.

Based on the feedback Microsoft received, the biggest concern stated was the Ribbon UI. Was it for advanced users or for beginners? Sinofsky states that although menus were once targeted for beginners and concext menus were targeted towards advanced users, we now see a blend of both. “We also know a very small set of people remain unhappy. That was true in versions before the introduction of the Ribbon mechanism, though obviously for different reasons. It might be the case that no matter what we do, there will be a small set of people that are not satisfied?” Sinofsky adds.

Sinofsky also states that work still needs to be done to properly organize its menus, and thats where we come in. “We are actively considering the feedback in this regard. We share the goal in having a clean user experience. We also have the goal of making sure people can get done the things they do want to get done. The role of data here is important when used correctly and it also helps us to avoid the use of small data sets or anecdotes driving the choices.”

As far as the Metro UI goes, Sinofsky states that it is more than just a monochrome set of visuals and fewer controls. “We see a new platform, a reimagining of Windows. For Windows 8, Metro style means a new type of app—an app that learns from and improves upon the current platform. This is a lot of what we’ll talk about at BUILD.”

Microsoft plans on showcasing more about Metro UI at the upcoming Build conference. “At BUILD we’ll talk about the attributes of those apps, and the tools and languages you can use to create those apps. What we’ve said is that there is a very deep platform that provides for a rich opportunity for apps of all types—from media to social to games to productivity. We don’t see any limits to where this will go,” Sinofsky adds.

Sinofsky reiterates that the desktop in Windows 8 is like an app. You can use it if you please, or turn it off and not use it.

Sinofsky also urges users to not judge Windows 8 based on screenshots and videos. “We also know that even with that much background, until you can touch the software it is going to be difficult to develop a complete picture. Many products look better or worse until you can use them. I’m fairly certain that in this case we have a lot of upside.”

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