CIO - It's a little ironic that the main focus of yesterday's Internet Explorer 9 beta launch event in San Francisco was to de-emphasize the browser itself.
The modern browser, with all its tabs, buttons and search fields, has become too cumbersome and draws attention away from what consumers and business users really care about: Web sites. IE competitors Firefox and Chrome are also stripping down their browser interfaces to the bare essentials.
"People go to the Web for sites, and Web sites have become boxed in by the browser," said Dean Hachamovitch, Microsoft's Internet Explorer GM, in his keynote. "With IE9 we are unboxing the Web browser experience so users can focus on sites."
To this end, Microsoft has created IE9 as a browser that "uses the whole PC" - meaning that the rendering of text and graphics has moved from the CPU of a computer to the GPU (graphics processing unit) for more power and speed. IE9 is also offering more support for HTML5, an increasingly popular standard for developers to create rich media on Web sites.
From a design and navigation perspective, Microsoft is pulling out lots of new tricks to integrate IE9 with Windows 7 user interface features such as Pinned sites, Aero Snap, JumpLists and thumbnail controls. The goal is to help users explore the Web without browser clutter getting in the way.
Although some IE9 features appear lifted from competitors like Google's Chrome browser (the minimalist look, the unified search and URL bar), IE9's stripped down interface is unlike any of the browser's previous versions.
It remains to be seen if IE9's simplified "window to the Web" aesthetic will give Microsoft back its lost browser market share.
Microsoft vows to be Web-site centric and keep users happy, so download the beta here and decide if the new look is chic or weak. But before you do that, check out five ways that IE9 integrates and enhances Windows 7 UI design features for Web browsing.
Windows 7 lets you "pin" apps such as IE, iTunes, AIM, Outlook and others to the taskbar and access them there as buttons. IE9 expands on this feature and allows you to pin actual Web sites to the taskbar and access them without having to open a browser.
Web sites can be pinned to the taskbar in IE9.
"We're saying 'Look at the site!' instead of 'Look at the app,'" Hachamovitch says.
This essentially takes the "bookmarks" or "favorites" bar browser feature and also puts it in the taskbar, so you can go directly to a Web site from the desktop.
When a pinned site is launched from the taskbar, the site's colors and logo are integrated into the browser frame. For example, the Amazon logo sits next to the back and forward buttons and those buttons share Amazon's color scheme.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- IDC Report: The Future of eMail is Social This paper discusses the changing nature of collaboration and work fueled by the social Web by examining current email trends and the emergence...
- The Business of Social Business Social business represents a significant transformational opportunity for organizations. Read this whitepaper to learn more.
- Six Ways Your Small Business Can Save with Internet Phone Service Traditional phone systems present two main problems for businesses: limited features and high costs. As a result, small businesses are migrating to Internet...
- HP HAVEn: See the big picture in Big Data HP HAVEn is the industry's first comprehensive, scalable, open, and secure platform for Big Data. Enterprises are drowning in a sea of data...
- Supercharge Your Web and Mobile App Development with High-Productivity Hybrid Cloud Webinar: Hear from industry experts about the amazing power at the intersection of next-generation web and mobile application development and cloud platforms.
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well... All Internet White Papers | Webcasts