Wednesday, September 21, 2011


A "touchable" Ribbon

I got to play with a Windows 8 Samsung tablet yesterday, tapping and flipping and pinching and snapping it's colorful little cheeks. :) My reaction was similar to the reaction of many so far: fascination. It really is as fast as the videos show--maybe faster. And the techniques feel pretty natural (especially if you have a touch smartphone) and not as interruptive as I was imagining. One thing I've been a bit leery about is the addition of the ribbon UI to Windows Explorer. I wondered how easy it would be to tap exactly what I wanted and navigate without the use of a stylus (which I'll just lose anyway). As I tested it out, the tools on the ribbon were no problem at all--easily tapable, well bordered (so you're not always selecting the wrong tool by mistake). I did have some trouble with the Minimize/ Restore / Close box in the upper right corner of the Windows Explorer window (maximizing when I wanted to close the window), but it wasn't a bad trial for my first time out.

I'm looking forward to seeing what Metro will bring to Office 15 and how it might change the ribbon UI and the general way we access and work with our documents. Will the ribbon somehow scroll off the left side of the screen instead of displaying contextual tabs with further toolsets? Will Backstage view become a side panel that pops up alongside the main work area? Will there be "charms" in our apps that enable us to search, share, and connect devices easily?

And will I be able to play Fruit Ninja while I write and produce a well-written chapter on time (while scoring well on the game)? That's the real question. C'mon, Windows 8, step up.

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