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Oct 5, 2011

Windows 8 Touch Interactions

Windows 8 has been optimized to understand touch interaction like no operating system before, including its predecessor, Windows 7. 

And of course, this automatically implies that there’s a great opportunity for Windows 8 developers to put together NUI applications for the next iteration of the Windows client. 

The “Designing Metro style apps that are touch-optimized” session at BUILD last month managed to deliver great insight into the natural user capabilities of Windows 8. 

The video that’s available on the official BUILD site is a must-watch for those that didn’t make it to the actual session, or for those looking to revisit the things they learned. 

Presented by Kay Hofmeester, senior UX lead, and Jan-Kristian Markiewicz, UX program manager, the “Designing Metro style apps that are touch-optimized” really digs into the work done to prepare Windows 8 for touch interaction. 

One example is how Microsoft dissected user behavior when interacting using touch as opposite to leveraging more traditional input models such as the mouse or keyboard. 

Users of Windows 8 devices will be able to tap, press and hold, slide, swipe, pinch, swipe from edge, and rotate. The richness of options will contribute to the evolution of interaction beyond anything that’s possible on devices today, especially those controlled through classic peripherals. 

“There are some fun observations from an ergonomic point of view – your body is made to contract and draw circles for example – which influence the touch interactions the team has created,” reveals Microsoft’s Steve Clayton. 

“The pair talk through the thinking of most of the gestures and personally, I found is fascinating to see the depth of thought that has gone in to this UI. I’m now flying through the newsreader app with the swipe to select and magazinify controls and can’t wait to see semantic zoom in action - it’s not in the developer preview but you can see it in action in app search.”

Windows 8 Developer Preview Build 8102 Milestone 3 (M3) is available for download here.


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