One thing that has vexed industry watchers for quite a while now is how Microsoft plans to integrate its flashy Metro interface for tablets and phones with its upcoming Windows 8 interface. Today, Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky cleared up some of the confusion about this in one of his regular updates about the state of Windows 8. While the tablet-focused Metro interface, after all, looks quite nice and is a major departure from the default Windows style, the screenshots of the new Windows Explorer Microsoft showed just a few days ago were the exact opposite: cluttered and unnecessarily complicated. According to Sinofsky, Microsoft can’t just start with a clean slate but still wants to offer users “a design that truly affords you best of both worlds.”
Two Separate Interfaces = The Best of Both Worlds
The question, of course, is if Microsoft’s somewhat odd approach to the Windows 8 user interface will really offer the best of both worlds or if it will just offer two completely disconnected experiences. Microsoft argues that “Windows 8 brings together all the power and flexibility you have in your PC today with the ability to immerse yourself in a Metro style experience.” Both Microsoft and Apple, though, have tried this same approach with their media-focused Media Center and Front Row experiences in the past and both didn’t succeed in convincing users to switch between these two interfaces.
According to Sinofsky, Windows 8 will let you “seamlessly switch between Metro style apps and the improved Windows desktop.” But will users really want to switch between two completely different user interfaces? While Sinofsky says that the design goal for Microsoft is “no compromises,” it’s hard to see how it’s not a compromise to add two completely different user interfaces to an operating system.
You can find more of Sinofsky’s reasoning here.