New Windows 8 Explorer UI highlights Apple and Microsoft's vastly different design philosophies
Wednesday 31 August 2011
Microsoft is giving users a preview of its re-imagined file-management app, Windows Explorer, in the lead-up to the release of Windows 8.
As Microsoft begins to show off elements from its Windows 8 OS, it becomes clear that the company’s vision of the future desktop operating system is headed in a completely different direction to that of Apple's minimalist, iOS-inspired Mac OS X Lion.
The main goals of the new Windows Explorer are to optimize Explorer for file management tasks, create a streamlined command experience, and to respect Explorer’s heritage, explains Microsoft in a post on its Building Windows 8 MSDN blog.
"Windows 8 is about reimagining Windows, so we took on the challenge to improve the most widely used desktop tool (except maybe for Solitaire) in Windows," said the president of Microsoft's Windows Division, Steven Sinofsky.
By re-adding commonly-used features that were removed from Explorer in Windows XP and taking inspiration from popular add-ons like TeraCopy, QTTabBar, and DMEXBar, plus Explorer replacements such as xplorer2, XYplorer and FreeCommander, Microsoft eventually arrived at a "ribbon"-styled user interface.
While users have praised the " simplicity, elegance and good taste" of Microsoft's Windows 8 user interface (UI), they have been quick to criticize the Office-like ribbon design of Microsoft’s new Explorer UI for being too cluttered.
"The new ribbon UI for the explorer window is so cluttered with different-sized buttons, labels, multi-part icons, and tabs that I can barely parse it. It’s more like a hall of mirrors than a task-oriented workspace. Is this really the new, streamlined Windows?" questioned TechCrunch’s Devin Coldewey.
The difference between Microsoft and Apple’s vision is "not just about complexity, which Apple hides and Microsoft defiantly does not," noted Business Insider; Microsoft proudly announced that it "collected data from hundreds of millions of users (anonymously) to figure out exactly how they use Windows Explorer today" while Apple firmly believes "you can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new."
Further details about Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system will be unveiled at the company's BUILD developer conference which will take place from September 13 to 16 in Anaheim, California.
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