Another “Future vision” video from Microsoft that contains snippets of older vision videos. In this video, they added a gesture-controlled bracelet/smart watch (0:17) and a 3D holographic display (0:27).
See my older post for more videos.
Although Microsoft has a reputation for building suboptimal user interfaces, its research department actually has several world-class interaction design researchers (like Buxton, Hinckley, Wilson, Benko). There is no big human-computer interaction conference, be it CHI, SIGGRAPH, UIST or ITS, without several papers and keynote speakers from Microsoft Research. Recently, Microsoft has released several videos about the future in human-computer interaction, and these video actually assemble many quite recent research findings which are adopted almost one-to-one.
Here’s another one:
Some of the research concepts you see in the videos are:
Jakob Nielson is a well known and highly regarded expert in the world of interface/interaction design and human-computer interaction in general. He wrote a critique on Windows 8 shortly after its release which caused a lot of controversy in the net (try Google with “Nielson Windows 8”). Nielson heavily criticizes the way that Windows 8 tries to fuse desktop and mobile UI.
What’s interesting is that Nielson did empirical user studies with 12 experienced PC users. The findings that I find most relevant are these three:
I recently got my own Windows 8 laptop and could experience “live” some of these concerns. Even now, I find it difficult to know whether I’m in the Metro world or in the traditional desktop world because with ALT+TAB you switch between all applications (of both worlds). Gesture interaction is a pain. Of course, Microsoft has the problem that it tries to introduce new interaction techniques for a huge range of actual hardware devices. That may be one reason why the resulting experience does not feel as optimized as in Apple products.
Nielson’s own summary is this:
Hidden features, reduced discoverability, cognitive overhead from dual environments, and reduced power from a single-window UI and low information density. Too bad.
If you want a balanced picture, read some of the counter arguments on the net. I do not link up any because I haven’t found anything substantial yet.