I’m continuing to plug away on my new work computer, a Lenovo X220T Tablet PC. I’m thoroughly enjoying this tablet, which I’ll continue to share more about later. The X220T features a Wacom capacitive touch and active digitizer. As most folks know, Windows 7 isn’t the most touch friendly OS in the world, so Lenovo tried to help them out a bit by including a touch friendly program launcher called SimpleTap.
The interface is easily kicked off by touching a round icon that stays hidden on the side of screen. The SimpleTap icon can easily be moved to any side of the screen by simply holding down the icon and dragging it. After pressing the SimpleTap icon, a screen of commonly used utilities pops up: volume control, screen brightness, camera control, rotation, and more. The icons can be easily moved around, as well as quickly reorganized into a grid. In addition to these included touch friendly icons, existing programs like OneNote, Word, Evernote, etc can be added. It is clear that Lenovo spent a great deal of effort designing this new launcher utility as many of the controls are designed for touch, but they stopped about 40% through the effort. Instead of improving the touch functionality of Windows 7, they highlighted just how bad it is by sticking with the traditional Windows forms approach which results in difficult to scroll lists, small target areas for choosing programs, traditional drop downs, and more. It feels like a Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde approach to user interface design. Checkout the gallery of screenshots below.
This is why Microsoft and their partners continue to get hammered on the user experience front. During a time when the battle for eyeballs and fingers couldn’t be more intense, I expected Lenovo to finish the job – not highlight their deficiencies.