Windows 8 is the first flavor of Microsoft’s platform to arrive with optimized support for touchscreen displays, but meant to deliver a new, unique experience to users looking for increased mobility.
With tablet PCs gaining more and more ground on the market, Microsoft has focused on ensuring that devices running under its upcoming platform will deliver the expected experience and that they will be successful.
Thus, it started the development of Windows 8 back in 2009 with focus on offering support for both touch input and for the use of the traditional keyboard and mouse input methods.
The process of optimizing Windows 8 for touch involved bringing improvements to touch on the desktop as well, Jensen Harris, director of Program Management for Microsoft’s User Experience team, notes in a blog post.
Thus, users will not have to choose between taking advantage of either the keyboard and mouse or touch screens, especially since touch hasn’t evolved to the point where it can fully replace the traditional input methods.
Moreover, people still have to learn to take full advantage of keyboard-less devices, and are still dependent on non-touch notebooks or desktop PCs. However, that might change, and Windows 8 provides full support for touch to enable this evolution.
“Within the new UI and WinRT apps, touch is promoted to an equal citizen alongside mouse and keyboard. Just like you can use a PC with mouse and keyboard only (or just keyboard,) you can also have a great experience using the UI with just touch,” Harris states.
“In other words, we aspired to design a user experience that is new, worked for touch-only devices as a first and only input method, and when a mouse and keyboard are added, these can be used exclusively or with touch. Keyboard shortcuts are there alongside gestures—you pick based on your preference and the capabilities of your PC.”
Harris also notes that Microsoft focused on designing Windows 8 to work the way users want it to. Users will be able to take full advantage of the operating system in any situation, whether only through touch or only through keyboard and mouse, or a combination of the two.
Windows 8 will offer support for touch in all form factors, and users will be free to use the input method they like the most. “This is what we mean when we say Windows 8 provides a no-compromise experience,” Harris notes.