Windows 8 will be Microsoft’s complete reimagination of the PC, and Microsoft is hard at work optimizing it for full blown desktop business powerhouses to SoC devices. Microsoft has been especially focused on the immersive, Metro UI tablet experience it provides. An important part of that is how Windows 8 will react to portrait and landscape modes – we’ve never seen this functionality displayed before in a demo of Windows 8.
Steven Sinofsky has recently updated the “Building Windows 8″ blog with a new entry centered on designing Windows 8 around any way a person holds their tablet – vertically or horizontally. “One of the best things about a tablet is that you can hold it in your hands. It’s personal…so when planning Windows 8 we wanted to make sure that the experience could support any orientation that the device could be held in.” He writes. Sinofsky explains the four principles that the Windows 8 Division followed when optimizing for landscape and portrait modes:
  • The experience tailors itself for all form factors: small screens, wide screens, laptops and desktops.
  • The experience takes advantage of widescreen formats for multi-tasking and for full-screen video.
  • The device can be held and interacted with in the way that is most comfortable.
  • Developers have the opportunity to create one app that runs on all views and orientations across form factors with minimal effort.
After some research was done on the reasons people rotate their tablets at all, the team formed four goals for Windows 8:
  • You can easily rotate your tablet to best suit your task or ergonomic posture.
  • Rotation in Windows is fast and fluid.
  • Windows rotates predictably across the system and apps – keeping the user in control.
  • Developers can easily build high quality and intentional landscape and portrait layouts, depending on the experiences they want to enable.
The one other major obstacle for Microsoft was also designing Windows 8 for any aspect ratio: 4:3 or 16:9 or 16:10.
We’ll leave it up to you to decide whether they hit this one on the bull’s eye or missed by a long shot! Check out the video below, and don’t forget to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and favorite this page.