I turned on my Xbox 360 last night and got the new Xbox Live experience, this is a completely new interface to interact with your Xbox and also your online friends and media. It’s really user friendly and a very rich graphical experience. Although we may expect this with our entertainment devices, consoles, MP3 players and phones we are starting to see similar features appear in our business applications, and operating systems.
The next version of Windows, “Windows 7” is including loads of neat touches, if you wiggle your mouse all your open windows minimize in a rather nice way to clear your desktop. It includes the Windows Surface technology so we can interact with the machine in a more familiar way with our hands, rather than just a mouse and keyboard. Expanding pictures by dragging the edges of the windows or moving files around with our fingers, it all sounds a little farfetched, until you try it and it works great! Take a look at the surface site, http://www.microsoft.com/SURFACE/index.html having played with a unit in 2007 I was surprised how good and useful they were.
But we are also seeing major changes to ERP systems, Dynamics NAV 2009 has just launched and when you see some of the screens you wouldn’t think it was a traditional business application. We see the quantity of items graphically allowing the user to get an immediate view of what’s happening in parts of the business rather than trawling through pages of figures. (See below)
So it’s clear we are changing the way we interact with software, from the command prompt days of DOS, through the early versions of windows where point and click was introduced through to graphical rich interfaces, it helps us be more productive, it allows us to see the impact our decisions will have on our business immediately and if we ignore it or dismiss it as just “bells and whistles” it make us as organisations and individuals slower to react…which can’t be a good thing.
(my new xbox live avatar!)