One of the major additions to Windows 8 will be a somewhat foreign tile-based interface.
Microsoft rejuvenated itself in the eyes of PC users with Windows 7 after Windows Vista was pretty much universally disliked. The company may encounter some resistance again with some of the changes coming to Windows 8, starting with a new tile-based interface recently shown off in video form.
Microsoft’s director of program management for the Windows user experience Jensen Harris runs us through the video which shows the new start screen for Windows 8. It’s more similar to the Windows Phone 7 interface than the PC desktops of yore.
The start screen replaces all those icons filling up current desktops with a bunch of tiles that Harris says represent “apps,” referring to the programs on your computer. This “personal mosaic of tiles” will be how Microsoft hopes Windows 8 will improve or simplify PC use. One thing you’ll notice is that Microsoft is developing Windows 8 around the concept of touch, but it’ll also work with a mouse.
Fortunately, a section of the video shows that this tile-based interface may not be required. A very Windows 7-like desktop is shown at one point, but incorporated with Windows 8’s “snap” feature that actually pushes the entire thing aside to add a Twitter “app” to the screen. Harris confirms that your PC’s file system will still be accessible, thank the stars.
In one respect the interface looks extremely uncomfortable for those that like to dig into the depths of their PCs and know what a C drive is. However, it does look like it could simplify certain tasks in a helpful way for all types of people. If Microsoft forces the new interface elements on users that don’t want them, there could be trouble ahead. If they’re optional, Windows 8 could make PC use easier for the more casual while also keeping the hardcore happy.