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  • Windows 8 Usability

    Posted on November 19th, 2012 at 19:17 woody 8 comments

    This is a very well-thought-out synopsis of the problems with the Win8 UI.

    Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox.

     

    8 responses to “Windows 8 Usability”

    1. Hans-Peter Guttmann

      Within a week of working the Consumer Preview of 8 in March I concluded that the ‘Metro’ interface was 99% irrelevant for Desktop users. Now good 3rd party software can ‘reintegrate’ Windows for the Desktop so that Metro almost never comes to the fore — exceptions being certain notifications, AutoPlay for example. (This is not to denigrate the underlying improvements in 8 that you know about better than most of us.)

      Metro seems acceptable on tablets. But not for production with long-standing Windows applications: I work with dual monitors — 28″ landscape + 24″ portrait — to multi-task efficiently between Office apps, CorelDraw apps, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, & two or three browsers.

      I concluded that Microsoft judged they needed to make a stand in the tablet market in one-product cycle before the end of 2012 and have used Windows 8 to achieve that entry point and endowed it with OS-‘dual personality’ to function as sort of a ‘streaming advertisement’ of the tablet universe for traditional PC users.

      Should Windows 8 end up alienating tens or hundreds-of-millions of licensees, 2016 may see ‘Windows Tablet 10’ and ‘Windows Desktop 10’ versions. If ‘Aero’ can be explained away, so can ‘Metro’.

    2. Oy! This guy is really stuck in the 20th Century! it’s as though he and his alleged “experienced users” had never touched a tablet before!

      Anyway, the Windows 8 Pro Legacy Desktop (which I am using with Google Chrome now) is nowhere near what the article says it is. The article refers only to desktop and laptop users having their first encounters with a Tablet Interface (Metro/Modern). Not younger users who use phones and tablets for everything these days.

      Still, those who have gotten used to the wayb Apple’s iOS or Android does things, will find Win-RT a very jarring experience right out of the box. Like those of us who have not restored the desktop Start Button, users of other tablets will either adjust or reject Windows 8 on tablets.

      What is being sadly lost in all this boo-hooing about Metro is that there are solid improvements on the Legacy Desktop in Windows 8, and under the hood on both sides of the Legacy/RT divide. Let’s not ignore these improvements when complaining that things have changed in the Metro UI.

    3. I am trying to install Windows 8 on my HP computer that was running Windows XP. During thye final states I get an error message telling me to hold in the power key for an error codfe 0x0000005d

      Can you help. Holding in the error key has no effect except to bring the error message back.

      I have tried to use my update disk for 32 bits and the Windows does not recognize it.

      Doug Cooper

    4. @Doug -

      I haven’t heard of that one. Best bet is to head over to the Windows 8 site on Answers – http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_8 and ask for an official response.

    5. @RC -

      Points well taken…

    6. I use a tablet everyday to do tablet things, i.e., real play; I use a desktop computer to do desktop things, i.e., real work. I do not see where I would greatly benefit from having both functions on the same device and the need to switch back and forth from one to the other stikes me as cumbersome. Thus I will stay with Windows 7 for most of my use of a “computer”. The tablet is a very convenient e-book reader, a so-so web surfer and fair video viewer and a poor game player. Nuf sed.

    7. Windows is a tool, a means to an end. It should make achieving that end as seamless as possible, not go out of its way to confuse.

      Imagine the outcry from your local tradesmen if they had to relearn how to use a hammer & nails every three years.

    8. @axkramer —

      I actually agree with you and TMK on most points.

      I think those who use tablets regularly would not like having even a few of their Apps on a Legacy Desktop. That’s basically the flip-side of what the article covers.

      And having to relearn how to use basic OS tools every three years or so is a major reason why folks don’t like Windows or Office in general. But the analogy with tradesmen should also include that there are frequently new power tools to learn, and these do improve productivity in many trades. That is a better analogy than hammers and nails.

      The hammers and nails of Windows (basic navigation, copy and paste, and file structures) have not changed every three years. We still use the same basic tools in this regard as in the days of Windows 98 or earlier. Only the window-dressing has changed all that much over the years.

      Again, you do not have to use Metro to get things done in Windows 8 Pro.

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