Shared publicly  - 
 
Every day for the last three weeks, I've sat down to write this same story linked below. But I couldn't bring myself to, having only had a loaner tablet with Window 8 Consumer Preview for about a month in April/May. Time is come to break my silence, first here, then subsequent BetaNews story I should have written around May 29.

+Adrian Kingsley-Hughes nails it: "On the face of it, the Metro UI looks good...And then you start to use it".

Almost nothing more needs to be expressed. That sums up the biggest problems. Metro is a usability nightmare, and mixing it with the desktop motif makes matters worse. He astutely writes:

"Not only did someone at Microsoft think that it was a good idea to make Metro the primary user interface in Windows 8, but they also decided to destroy the ‘classic’ user interface experience too by also ‘Ribbonizing’ most of the applications. These Ribbon toolbars are packed with small user elements and are fiddly to use with a mouse, and even more fiddly — at times bordering on impossible to use — when driven with a finger".

Going from those big tiles on Metro to the tiny, finger-hating Ribbon buttons is jarring and frustrating. User frustration is one of the primary things that killed Windows Vista. Developers should want users to feel good about their software. Vista made many people feel bad, and I predict many more will feel worse about using Windows 8. Metro is bad enough. Metro + Desktop = UX fail.

I post here first, rather than BetaNews, to get some reaction from you all for the story I will write there. Maybe you agree, or don't, with Adrian's opinion or mine. Either way, your insight will be invaluable contribution to that story. FYI: His story posted June 7, but I only just saw it today.

As for my take: I wouldn't recommend Windows 8, in its current form, to anyone.

#windows8   #metroui  
7
1
Joe Wilcox's profile photoSiamak Masnavi's profile photoJake Weisz's profile photoPushkar Chivate's profile photo
6 comments
 
I'm sorry but I can't really agree with it. I think what we can all agree on is that Windows 8 has a learning curve, depending on how well Microsoft creates tutorials for it, a steep one, or one that users are introduced to softly.

After having tried all three public releases I have to say that Microsoft has improved the operating system considerably. And while I personally would not update my copy of Windows 7 to 8, I definitely would consider updating XP or Vista to it, and would not mind buying a new PC with it installed.

I did work with Windows 8 on a second desktop PC for the last month or so, and have to say that many paint a picture that is too dark.

Take things like the search. Instead of pressing the Windows key to open the start menu, typing in the search term and picking the results from there, I press the Windows key which automatically switches to Metro, where I'm presented with a superior search interface that allows me to filter and all. I have to admit though that I would have preferred that interface to become available on the desktop right away. Still, it is not as bad as it is painted once you get used to it.

The ribbons? Windows Explorer starts with the ribbon menu minimized, and if you do not want, you do not really need to enable it. There may be some obscure features that you may need to display it for, but that is done with a single click.

Windows 8 is not that bad, and Metro for the most part can be ignored by users who do not want to use it.

If you want, read more on my blog where I summed up my thoughts in a nicer format.

http://www.ghacks.net/2012/06/13/windows-8-is-not-that-bad-actually/
 
+Martin Brinkmann Excellent response, and yours shows the wisdom of getting feedback from others to balance my own.
 
+Joe Wilcox I agree with you that in its current form Windows RT may not be quite ready to recommend to most people, but I believe that its Metro UI is good enough already and by next year I believe there will be Metro versions of all the popular mobile apps.

The classic Windows interface will receive less and less attention from software developers as time goes on, but as the success of the iPad at both the home and enterprise has shown, the path to greater profits for Microsoft lies in following a mixture of the Apple and Google models and Microsoft's recent efforts indicate that they are not averse to learning lessons from both of these companies.

Of course, this all depends on manufacturers (including potentially Microsoft itself) not pricing their Windows 8 devices too high (i.e. same or higher than Apple's prices). 
 
The problem I see, is the closing off of any form of choice. Microsoft has always been the most easy-to-use most extensible desktop OS available. Microsoft has always had backwards compatibility, support for doing things the way people were used to doing it since MS-DOS or Windows 3.1. They never really dropped options, and that's part of why the OS has gotten so bloated, true.

But they've now decided what their customer wants doesn't matter. They didn't just make the start menu go away, they put in the effort to prevent you from bringing it back. They didn't just create Metro, they force you to start in it.

Think back to previous versions... where things like "Classic Start Menu" were always an option. Microsoft has always kept classic options around, until now.

Add on top of that, them taking away choice of where you buy your apps from, and it's just becoming way too closed for me. It seems like Mr. Ballmer decided to take a shotgun, point it at the head of "give the customer what they want", and fire.
 
+Joe Wilcox I agree with you about Metro's usability experience on laptop or desktop.

The use of Windows 8 consumer preview and now the release candidate reminds me of the training issues I had with users when they had to switch from classic menu to the ribbon interface. The usability of Metro could become a deciding factor whether organizations upgrade to Windows 8 or not and how soon. Personally, I am not finding much use of Metro on desktop or laptop and prefer Aero.

On the consumers front, by looking at the market share of Metro based phones, I feel the future of Metro depends upon the success of tablets. If Metro based tablets succeed, then MS will be back in the game big time.
Add a comment...