Microsoft is Jumping on the Bandwagon
It seems Microsoft is finally jumping on the bandwagon of user experience. Know primarily for their operating system Windows, it has long been thought that Microsoft was behind pace when it comes to their user experience. Apple has always been the one leading the pack. However it seems Microsoft is making some major changes in their corporate strategy as they move to put a much higher importance on increasing the usability of their products.
Their new OS Windows 7, while a major release, has no major architectural changes. Instead the company did something new, and focused primarily on interface improvements. Just the fact that these updates are deemed major, and focus primarily on the UI is a statement in its self about the new demands consumers are putting on software industries for more usable, friendly software.
Microsoft has made some major changes to the way users can interact with the OS, and those changes were based on user research. Improving the ability to “peek” at multiple windows while working in one or two primary windows is just one of their updated interactions. They have also made some major enhancements to the toolbar that make it more simple, yet also more functional. To read more about some of the new changes check out the ARS Technica article First look at Windows 7’s User Interface.
This can also be seen in Microsoft’s decision to hire Bill Buxton who is working with Microsoft to reshape their product with a focus on evolving the entire experience. They are taking risky but much needed steps to change their focus and way of life at Microsoft and user experience is playing a huge role in that.
Yet once again, Microsoft is simply jumping on the bandwagon of industry trends. Usability is no long a word that evokes confused faces from users, but is instead becoming a well known term. The shiny glow of personal computer technology has graduated to a common place tool of the times. Users are demanding quality and will no longer take bad UI as a excuse of technological constraints. This trend is sweeping across all industries as leaders like Apple evoke just the needed competition to get the ball rolling.