There’s an excellent chance I’m being a complete fuddy-duddy, waving my arms and yelling at those damn kids to get off my lawn. That said, it’s a horrible idea to force everyone into touch-based computing.
The unveiling of Windows 8, coupled with Apple’s nudging of OS X closer to iOS with Lion, has me shaking my head.
Why monkey around with happy users by combining their experiences? Some people love iOS. Some people love OS X. I don’t think this is a peanut butter and chocolate moment though. Using Lion as an example, out-of-the-box it enables an option called “Move content in the direction of finger movement when scrolling or navigating” which creates backward scrolling for wheel mouses.
Disabling this option was one of the first things I had to do after my upgrade because every single window scrolled the wrong way.
I haven’t yet had a chance to kick the tires on the developer preview release of Windows 8, but as I was drafting this post, I saw that Tim (@oraclebase) has.
From his post, it looks like Microsoft has taken similar steps to make Win 8 touch-friendly by default, which doesn’t have to but frequently does mean, keyboard/mouse unfriendly.
So, let’s assume the smart minds at Apple and Microsoft can gracefully normalize touch and type interfaces. What about all the software that runs on these OSes?
I’m going to guess that redesigning an application to support touch isn’t easy. Sure, you get a lot from the SDK, but stuff like data entry needs to be rethought to accomodate the clunkiness of using a touch keypad.
Can you imagine the productivity dropoff with a touch experience for something like a spreadsheet or word processing application? I wonder how a touch-friendly Microsoft Office will work.
Then there are the ergonomic differences between touch and type usage to consider.
It’s still early in this game, but given the way things are going, I doubt any of us will have a choice other than to adapt.
Or switch completely to Linux for real work.
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