How Are PC's Being Affected by Touch-Devices?

My opinions on touch-based Operating Systems on PC's

With all the new operating systems being aimed at touch devices, how will traditional PC's be affected?

Now this is all purely based on opinion and I know people will disagree, but I don't think I'm alone in wondering this and I've actually had long discussions about this with some friends that are interested in technology. I'm not suggesting the PC is going out of fashion or won't be supported in years to come, but with almost all of the major operating systems moving to a more "touch-friendly" design, it's making it harder and harder for me to use my PC the way I want to.

I'm not a Mac user so I can't comment too much about OSX, but my first warning signs of this move away from keyboard and mouse was when Ubuntu released Unity, advertised as optimized for touch-devices. I didn't like it so I moved to Gnome. Suddenly Gnome was talking about being touch-friendly too with Gnome 3, and then Windows 8 videos and previews started floating around and they too are aimed directly at touch-devices, with mouse and keyboard support added almost as an afterthought in many people's opinions.

Sure, you can use a keyboard and mouse with them, and it works just fine. But I can see the design decisions and I personally don't want them interfering with the way I'm used to working with my trusty desktop computer. To make things worse, at least for now, there is little customization I can make to these systems to make them work the way I want (certainly in a future-proof way; for example switching back to Gnome 2 or staying on old versions of Windows). In terms of work-flow and interaction, I like the way Gnome 2 works, and the same with Xfce, KDE and Windows XP/Vista/7.

I guess I just don't want big icons, fullscreen "apps" and having to use my mouse as a virtual finger. I hope when the touch-friendly designs are optimized and settled, we can find a way of combining the advantages of both the traditional and new interaction design decisions, or at least find a way letting the users customize it to a way they are comfortable with. Touch devices are amazing and aren't going anywhere, but for real work like programming and writing large documents, the mouse and keyboard are better.

Posted by Christopher Wassall on Fri, 27 Jan 2012 22:30:31 GMT


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