If you were hired by Microsoft to make the Windows experience less annoying, what would be on your to-do list?
Mark Hamburg, the Adobe Photoshop/Lightroom guru recently hired by Microsoft, is tasked with figuring out how to improve the way Microsoft's operating system works.
Hamburg didn't recently join Microsoft to work on SmartFlow, Microsoft's alleged competitor to Lightroom, as I guessed yesterday. Instead, he's working on future OS interface concepts, according to a posting on the ProPhotoHome blog that a reader forwarded to me. According to the post:
"Mark was invited by David Vaskevitch to come lead a team working on the future of OS User Experience at Microsoft.
"This is the way Mark phrased it:
"Now, given that I find the current Windows experience really annoying and yet I keep having to deal with it, this opportunity was a little too interesting to turn down. I can’t imagine doing serious imaging anywhere other than Adobe, but, I needed to do something other than imaging for a while."
This begs the question, what, exactly, is Vaskevitch working on? Vaskevitch is a Senior Vice President and Chief Technical Officer at Microsoft, who has been working with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates "to develop a focused and unified strategy and architecture for future Microsoft platforms." Vaskevitch is also quite the digital-photography buff.
Given Vaskevitch's charter is to focus on the future, it's not a complete given that Hamburg will be focused on improving Windows. Windows is Microsoft's one and only operating system today. (Windows Mobile, based on Windows CE, isn't technically "Windows," but for all intents and purposes, it is still is part of the Windows family.)
However, there has been scuttlebutt around rumored Microsoft efforts to build a new operating system that isn't Windows at its core. And is Windows Live or virtualized Windows still "Windows"? Maybe, maybe not.
"User experience" doesn't translate exactly to "user interface." It's also about the applications which customers use to achieve a task. But it's more UI than anything else.
So if you were to provide Hamburg with a SHORT list of suggestions as to what you'd like to see changed in the Windows UI, where would you start?
Update: News.com's Stephen Shankland has additional speculation on what Hamburg might bring to the Windows UI table.