Jan 11, 2009

Usability, Accessibility, and User Experience in a Win7 Environment

Microsoft's newest operating system, Win7 (beta), allows for multi-touch interaction and application development. From what I can tell from the news from the Consumer Electronic Show (CES 2009), touch and gesture interaction holds quite a bit of interest among consumers and application developers alike.

Hopefully people will think carefully about user experience and usability factors when developing the applications we'll be using in the not too distant future!

Because of my background as a school psychologist, I’m interested how touch/gesture applications can address accessibility and universal usability issues.

I wasn't able to locate user experience or usability information for Win7. Here are a few links from the Microsoft website that I think are worth reading:

Touch Interaction Guidelines

How to Design a Great User Experience

Designing with Windows Presentation Foundation


According to the research from Microsoft, ”more than half of all computer users experience difficulties or impairments related to accessibility, and are likely to benefit from the use of accessible technology. Moreover, approaching software design with the flexibility and inclusiveness that are the hallmarks of accessibility often results in overall improved usability and customer satisfaction.”

Regarding touch/gesture interaction, know that “19% (24.4 million) of computer users have a mild dexterity difficulty or impairment, and 5% (6.8 million) of computer users have a severe dexterity difficulty or impairment.”

Christian Moore, from the NUI-Group, shared this nice graphic that depicts the various fields that intersect or converge with interface design, which I think is useful when thinking about how we will design, develop, and use emerging technologies:

Concepts such as accessibility and universal usability can fit into this design!

For more information regarding multi-touch, see my previous post, "For Techies and the Tech-Curious: Multi-touch/Gesture from the NUI Group"

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