Why I want to try Windows 7 Beta?

After coming back from a week of professional training at Microsoft headquarter Redmond, I finally got a chance today to watch Steve Ballmer’s Pre-CES Keynote. The public availability of Windows 7 Beta was the big announcement, and starting last Friday, everyone can download the Beta to try out. Of course, as a UX designer, I’m interested in Windows 7 UI improvements. As I was watching Charlotte Jones demoing Win7 Beta UI, the phrase “Small Multiples” came to mind.  Just a brief look at UI, you probably don’t feel there’s much changed from the Vista desktop. However, through her demo, I was impressed by how these salient changes that were made such as in taskbar, windows management, and network setup made a big difference in people’s productivity. That’s why I want to try out the new Windows desktop and will keep you posted about my experience.

Windows 7 Center has a detailed blog post on changes in UI in Windows 7 from Vista with great screenshots. One UI feature I’m not sure about and waiting to try out is the “jumplist.”

Users access an application’s “jumplist” by right clicking the icon in the taskbar. This gives users the quick access of recent work and frequent tasks. I like the idea, but I’m not sure about the discoverability of this feature since there’s no visual indication why users would want to right-click on the icon. However, once the an user discovers the feature, I think he/she will be able to use it no problem. I’m interested in hearing about the usability study result behind this.

Anyway, my manager John Oxley has started trying out the Beta build of Win 7. If you are on twitter, you can use the hash tag #cdnwin7 to share your experience with him. I’m looking forward to getting mine installed tomorrow. Happy Beta testing! :)

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