Microsoft, Tablets, and The User Experience

Microsoft, Tablets, and The User Experience
Jun 19th, 2012

Microsoft Surface

Today Microsoft announced Surface their venture into the tablet space. While this may not be the first time Microsoft has created their own hardware (Mouse, Natural Keyboard, Xbox, Kinect, and more) it is their first venture directly into the computing device space.

I’ve been pretty impressed by the work done on the Metro UI for Windows Phone, someone clearly took the time to craft a good experience there.  I am a bit worried that Windows 8 seems to be a rather late stab at integrating some of the better parts of the Metro UI into the Windows UI, but Microsoft will have to do a lot more than just a sexy UI and home-grown hardware; they will have to OWN the user experience.

You see, you have have great software and great hardware, but if you are not adopting the philosophy of user experience then you’re only going to make so much headway until you fall behind again. However, Microsoft does have two big things going for it: raw creative talent (Albert Shum and the Metro team, Bill Buxton and the Microsoft Research team), and the money (like it or not, you have to spend money on failing before you can find the right solution).

With this talent, the funding, and really adopting the philosophy of user experience company-wide, they have the potential to reinvent themselves as once again one of the forces to be reckoned with in mobile computing, computing, and more.  Needless to say I will be keeping a close eye on their efforts and hope for the best.

About the author

Nick Finck is a user experience professional who has dabbled in the web for over a decade. He specializes in information architecture, interaction design, usability and user research. Read more

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