I thought I’d write a little more about Windows 7 – talking (interesting how I used that word) about the interface. Windows 7 has this spiffy new Aero interface – which actually is kinda nice. This spiffy new computer of mine (but no lemon fresh scent) can handle the graphics well enough so it looks nice.
But it’s more than just nice looking – it’s actually pretty useful in the way it works. I have a shot of my pictures folder – which actually consists of three libraries (a neat concept where multiple folders tie together – in my case I have my main pictures in a separate drive – but I just added that to the Pictures folder). In this case the images provide a neat preview of the folders – and along the top of the folder if you drill into the folders it shows you your path. I know this can be a useful feature – as sometimes it’s very difficult to know where you are – especially if you have sub folders with the same name. This will help me understand where I am – and help me to easily go back in the hierarchy – much like the breadcrumbs on a web page. I also just noticed how the search bar is now built in (sometimes that can be fun to find on some types of folders in XP). What’s cool is that you’re searching from this place – instead of having to navigate again in the search tool.
Another think I liked was how the open windows behave in the task bar (I think they “re-used” some of this look from Apple). Your taskbar isn’t overwhelming and groups like items together – but unlike XP it’s a lot easier to tell which is which – simply hover over and get a preview of the window – so I know the correct one to pick. I’m also experimenting with “pin”ing an item to the taskbar – so it’s easy to get to. I don’t want to have too much stuff here – like on a mac – as I find that overwhelming. But the apps I use a lot down there could be quite useful – and I can tell if they are open by hovering over the icon (which is bigger and brighter than on XP).
Overall I think the interface is pretty intuitive – windows has come a long way and I’m impressed with Windows 7. I also just noticed an interesting thing – on the taskbar when I hover the different options it changes the icon at the top – to reflect the different options – for music it shows a note, for documents it shows, well a document. My wife also just pointed out a cool thing – for Google Chrome at the top of the taskbar is an little arrow to the right. Click on that and it gives you a list of the documents you most recently accessed, etc. She uses this for Microsoft word now a lot – making things easier and quicker for her each day.
I think an even better test of Windows 7 is that my non-technical wife (which is good for me!) is starting to like it. They’ve really done a good job on this one – making it a much more enjoyable experience. I don’t have any long term test, but what I’ve heard and seen so far is good.