If you’ve been hoping for a large overhaul of the Windows GUI by the time Microsoft releases Windows 8, you might have been disappointed by the fact that the company has decided to keep things similar rather than delve into any major changes. However, Microsoft does plan to incorporate the same ribbons you’ve been seeing in Windows 7’s version of MSPaint within Windows Explorer. The change will supposedly make it easier to navigate through the contents of your hard drive and network and give you a new user experience. That sounds very cute, but let’s see if it was worthwhile for Microsoft to include ribbons in Windows 8 Explorer.
Wait… What are Ribbons?
I notice some of you might not know what I’m talking about, so here’s the run-down. A ribbon is a part of the window that allows you to access certain options without having to navigate through menus. It often appears as a wide toolbar at the top, much like the one in MSPaint. Allow me to show you what I mean:
The red arrow points to the ribbon in MSPaint. Just remember that this is a screenshot of MSPaint from Windows 7. Also note that Windows 8 wants to include a toolbar similar to this one on the top of every explorer window. The idea itself, though, originally came from one of Microsoft’s most popular products: Microsoft Office 2007.
What’s the Big Deal?
Microsoft right now is in a hurry to thwart Apple’s conquest over the general public and enhance its interface in a way that would level the playing field back the way it was. So, it decided to throw in a few gizmos that people might find handy. Most computer novices don’t know how to copy and paste something without right-clicking an element and clicking “Copy,” and so forth, meaning that they don’t know that you could simply press “Ctrl+C/V” to do the same thing in less time. Microsoft asked itself, “So, what if we include copy and paste buttons (big ones) on the top of Explorer?” Indeed, this would help the helpless novices save a little time while transferring data, and the entire ribbon itself has a data-driven interface that would ease the experience even for expert users. Let’s have a look at the ribbon, shall we?
The options included, I think, are phenomenal for those who are just beginning to learn to use Windows. Microsoft’s goal here was clear: Create a new interface that will allow people to find the functions they use the most in an easier fashion.
Some criticism exists, like the fact that certain buttons in that screen will have a near-zero-percent usage among end-users. Windows 8’s explorer window, in my own personal opinion, could still use a touch of improvement before it can call itself “competitive” against what Apple has to offer. Linux itself has many interesting features in its interfaces also, making it a worthy competitor. If Microsoft wants to pull this off, it has to better analyze where it is now and where it must go to achieve a higher level of customer satisfaction.
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