There has been a lot of news about Windows 10 today from the WinHEC event in Shenzhen, China and this tidbit is really exciting for those of us who use touchpads and Windows tablets. In Windows 10, Microsoft is concentrating efforts on improving the array of multi-touch gestures that you can use on touchpads and touchscreens to improve the user experience but also to give more controls at the touch of a finger – or set of fingers – as the case may be. This includes a relaxation of the requirements on how the touchpad and touchscreen digitizers should perform around all four edges of them. These will allow you to do things like get to Cortana quickly or view multitasking options.
To start, you will now be able to use a three finger touch to do things like quickly activate Cortana or to swipe through multiple desktops you have running in Windows 10. You will also be able to four finger tap to activate the notification center as an example on touchpads. The idea is to allow you to get to parts of the OS you are using or applications you have open more quickly than you can
do in Windows 8.1.
For Windows 10 tablets, the news is even more exciting. In Windows 10 you will be able to do a single swipe from the left to bring up a list of your most used apps while a swipe from the right will bring up the notification center. Multitasking will also be greatly improved. Right now in Windows 8.1, a top swipe will allow you to bring up the commands for the app you are in or if you long swipe (all the way down the screen you) you can snap that app to one side of the screen or completely close the app. In Windows 10, a short swipe will bring up the hidden tool bar in each app while a long swipe will snap or close the app just as it does today in Windows 8.1. Note that this is when you have a tablet in Tablet mode.
All of these improvements are designed to improve user efficiency within Windows 10 but also addresses some of the complaints that users have expressed about how these gestures work in Windows 8.1. Clearly this is an indicator that Microsoft is taking the user experience in their flagship product seriously and want to make it as user friendly as possible. More importantly, this is now being committed to the public record in presentations being made so it isn’t just a “we want to do this” mentality. They actually are working on these things which is great to see.
I personally am a touchpad user on my Windows PC and heavily depend on my Toshiba Encore 2 Windows tablet. These new gestures, while taking getting use to and doing a bit of unlearning from Windows 8.1, I will see as a benefit and I can’t wait to try them. Hopefully we will see them (or some of them) in the next Windows 10 Technical Preview.