The next Windows milestone, currently dubbed Windows 7, could very well be sporting a huge user interface overhaul. Now what makes me think that? Julie Larsen-Green (pictured to the right) is leading the Windows 7 area that is focused on "end-user interaction design and overall experience." You may not have heard of Julie before, but she is the one who pushed for the Office 2007 interface redesign which was a drastic move away from the menus and toolbars we had been familiar with for nearly 20-years.
I think that Microsoft would be smart for making a big change in the Windows user interface because Linux is quickly catching up. It’s just like how OpenOffice was on the verge of being a clone of Microsoft Office, but when Office 2007 was released there was a strong difference established between the interface of the two office suites. As users become more familiar with how Office 2007 operates it will be increasingly difficult for people to switch to the free OpenOffice.
So what could Microsoft do to drastically distinguish themselves from competing products? I’ve been wondering that for awhile now, and I’m sure Julie has some great ideas up her sleeve. One thing that I would really like to see is an efficient an customizable implementation of pie menus. I’ve talked about this before, but I think that using pie menus would offer increased productivity over the traditional right-click menu.
The other idea that is floating around the Internet is that the Taskbar will be replaced with a sidebar. This is seen in almost all of the Windows 7 concepts drawn up including the nice set by OSBeta. Here is a preview of one of their concepts:
It’s actually kind of fun to see what people come up with, but in the end it is Microsoft’s decision as to what the consumers will receive. Do you think Microsoft’s vision of Windows in 2010 is a little far fetched from where we currently stand? Is it time to ditch the Taskbar?