Friday, August 17, 2012

Will you be more productive with a touch enabled Win 8?

Today, I read Mary Jo Foley's post which analyses a spectrum of opinions from PC users as to whether it is worthwhile to install Win 8 or no.

Windows 8 is optimised for touch enabled devices including smartphones, Windows Surface tablets and a new generation of touchscreen/ hybrid PCs.

The question is whether software which is designed for touch interfaces would function optimally on standard/ older machines.

And for me, this raised a question as to whether touch interfaces would benefit productivity at all?

Those of you who follow my blog know my opinion - touchscreens are great interfaces for browsing and running apps but when I want to type and work, I head back to my PC. In fact, touchscreen smartphones have generally reduced the amount of typing I do including the length of my SMS-es. I type slower on touch screens and I don't enjoy doing it. People who have heard my banging away furiously on my PC keyboard will testify that I type fast and well on the PC!

Equally, I enjoy browsing on touchscreen devices. So much so, that I rarely browse on the PC any more. The experience of navigating a site (or app) through touch feels so much more natural and right! It takes me much closer to the original reading experience of a book/ magazine and I guess that's why I love it.

If MS brings touch capability to Win 8 purely as an add-on experience (which seems to be the case), I am cool with it, but I don't see the benefit to me as a user. It only seems to benefit Microsoft allowing them to offer a unifying OS across devices.

I have tried some hybrid devices which combine touchscreen with QWERTY - like HTC ChaCha and the new Blackberry Bold smartphone. Such devices tend to be confusing because there is always a decison/ choice to be made - to use the touchscreen or the keyboard? While this is a split second of decision making, it still interrupts an unconscious and 'blind' usage flow where you have no decision and only one usage path.

If MS proposes to make it integral to the Windows experience (and specifically the usage of MS Office), then I am curious but also apprehensive. I don't know how it will add to my convenience or save my time. This will have to be demonstrated convincingly as my current experience does not suggest this is the case.