April 4, 2011

Windows 8 Windows Explorer Ribbon UI Revealed

We see screenshots of new Windows 8 features on an almost daily basis right now, which can be mainly attributed to the fact that Microsoft has started distributing early test versions of the Windows 8 operating system to a wider audience of partners.

The latest leak was posted on the Within Windows website. It shows the new preliminary design of Windows Explorer in the Windows 8 operating system.

Microsoft plans to introduce a ribbon interface to Windows Explorer, just like they did to Paint under Windows 7.

The ribbon will replace the menu and toolbars of Windows Explorer with the exception of the search and navigational toolbar. The header will take up more space as a result, which may not be to everyone’s liking.
A positive side effect is that you get access to additional functions and features that would otherwise be only accessible via menus. Lets take a closer look at some of the options.

The Home tab offers file operations, like copying, renaming, moving or creating. The file properties, open options and selections are there as well. Many of those items have previously been accessible via the right-click context menu, the menubar or the mouse.

The Share tab offers to send selected files via email or fax, or to a burner. There are furthermore links to advanced sharing options and web sharing options.

The View tab finally offers options to change the file and folder view mode, grouping options and whether file extensions and hidden files should be displayed or not.

These options may help inexperienced or new users. Advanced users on the other hand won’t really benefit from the display, especially since the ribbon displays many basic functions and functions that are rarely used.

Additional tabs are dynamically displayed. A Manage tab is for instance added if you select one of the Libraries in Windows Explorer.

You can hide the Ribbon according to Rafael’s information, which is probably what most experienced users will do if the end product looks like this.

It needs to be made clear that this is a work in progress, rather than a polished finalized product. Especially the aesthetics of the ribbon interface are rather unattractive at this point in development.

Lets hope Microsoft puts as much thought into long time bugs – like folder view settings that are not remembered – than they put into designing this new ribbon interface.



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