Greg's Bite: Windows 8 -- ugly under the Surface?
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Greg's Bite: Windows 8 -- ugly under the Surface?



By Greg Mills

While I try wax eloquent in my occasional digs at Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and all things Windows, it takes an actual PC fan boy to roast 'em right. Jakob Nielsen, described as a "user interface guru," slammed Windows 8 so hard the glass broke.I try to inject a little humor in my criticism, but Nielsen chops em up like stew meat on a butcher block. Nothing funny about it.

Calling Microsoft's business survival critical incremental release of Windows 8 a "monster and a tortured soul" goes beyond my normal bite out of Ballmer's hide.  Since I wouldn't even touch a PC without wearing rubber gloves, my information is pretty much second hand. You can see the Nielsen article at www.useit.com/alertbox/windows-8.html .

When you read the entire article, what jumps out is that Microsoft's attempt to merge what in the Mac world would be OS X and iOS into one system. Apparently, trying to serve two platforms is a flop. Taking a hint from Apple isn't new for Microsoft; however, getting it right is never happening, it seems. While we have seen popular features of the Mac OS X show up in the mobile iOS platform and vice versa, the operating systems remain distinctly unique. Microsoft figured they would beat Apple to the punch and merge a touch and conventional OS. However the results are disastrous.

Microsoft has attempted to use touch screen gestures, but couldn't overcome two basic issues: Apple's patents covering the most logical user interface touch screen gestures and the knee jerk "Microsoft mentality" that firmly bonds them to the past.  

While the colorful tiles of Windows 8 have functions, Nielsen complains that critical functions that users want and actually use are buried and hard to find.  While it takes a while to change people's user interface habits, Nielsen thinks Windows is so hard to use it will flop. Trying to merge tablet and PC functions is bound to confuse PC users who have already suffered incredible learning curves.  

A bloated operating system isn't such a problem for a PC that has plenty of storage, but is a serious problem for a tablet that has limited and unmodifiable RAM installed. Heck, Microsoft is already being sued for false advertising over the amount of actual free memory in Surface tablets. Rather than running a slimmed down and minimalist tablet OS like Apple's iOS, the Windows 8 Tablet OS eats RAM for lunch and leaves little of the 2 Gigs left over for Apps.  

Nielsen really knows Microsoft Windows 8 as running multiple windows with a small window within a window failed to even work in his tests. He watched 12 experienced PC users flounder using a Surface tablet running Win8, as he calls it.  Further, Nielsen dings Microsoft over a "flat" graphical interface where logos remind you of yesteryear. He shows a graphic of logos that reminded me of the old Mac 5 or 6 era.  This isn't artistic, it's amateurish.

Nielsen states; "Icons are flat, monochromatic, and coarsely simplified. This is no doubt a retort to Apple's overly tangible, colorful, and extremely detailed 'skeuomorphic' design style in iOS.  For once, I think a compromise would be better than either extreme. In this case, we often saw users either not relating to the icons or simply not understanding them.  Icons are supposed to (a) help users interoperate the system, and (b) attack clicks. Not the Win8 icons." 

Keep in mind that Nielsen watched 12 experienced PC users flounder to confirm his criticism. One wonders how many patches, upgrades and releases it will take for Microsoft to catch up to basic iOS functionality. Even Google doesn't make such basic mistakes in the Android OS.

No one using a gesture-based touch system has not seen gestures "misunderstood" by the OS. From what Nielsen says, iOS users would be appalled at the frustration Win8 touch users suffer. Finally, Nielsen stabs the bull thought the heart with the conclusion that Win8 has error prone gestures and is weak on tablets and terrible on PCs.  

What all this means for us Mac fans is that the decline and fall of the PC monopoly will only increase in a cascade effect. Apple is likely to inherit a growing following for all the reasons Microsoft is failing. At Apple they do user interface right.  

That is Greg's Bite.

 
AAPL
$124.75
Apple Inc.
-1.42
GOOG
$524.05
Google Inc.
-9.75
MSFT
$41.62
Microsoft Corporation
-0.55
MacNews Search:
Community Search:
view counter

view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter

Chainsaw Warrior: Lords of the Night has...
It's time to put the Darkness back in its place now that Chainsaw Warrior: Lords of the Night has officially made it to iOS. | Read more »
A World of Ice and Fire Lets You Stalk 2...
George R. R. Martin’s A World of Ice and Fire, by Random House, is a mobile guide to the epic series. The new update gives you the Journeys map feture that will let you track the movements of 25 different characters. But don't worry, you can protect yourself from spoilers by filtering the map by chapter. The new map is part of the "A Game of... | Read more »
Gameloft Announces Battle Odyssey, a New...
Battle Odyssey, Gameloft's newest puzzle RPG, is coming to the App Store next week. Set in the world of Pondera, you will need to control the power of the elements to defend the world from evil. You'll be able to entlist over 500 allies to aid you in your quest to save the world, and each one comes with their own elemental affinities and powers.... | Read more »
Fusion - HDR Camera (Photography)
Fusion - HDR Camera 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Photography Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Fusion creates HDR (high dynamic range) photos by capturing different exposures and then combining them into one perfectly exposed photo. The result is an image that overcomes the limited range of a digital image... | Read more »
Sago Mini Toolbox (Education)
Sago Mini Toolbox 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Come build with the Sago Mini friends! Use a wrench, try a saw, or hammer some nails. From sewing hand puppets to building a robot, there are tons of jobs to be done. Grab your toolbox and let’s go! | Read more »
You Should Probably Grab Hitman GO While...
Hitman GO is a surprisingly cool (yet also incredibly drastic) departure from the Hitman series. It's well worth playing for any puzzle game fans out there, and at the moment you can get your hands - or garrotte if you will - on it for a mere $0.99. I'd suggest giving it a shot if you're even remotely curious about it. [Read more] | Read more »
IFTTT is Bringing Do Button and Do Note...
IFTTT has announced Do Button and Do Note for the Apple Watch. Do Button lets you make your own personalized button that can connect to things like your Google Drive, control the temperature in your home with Nest Thermostat, or turn the lights on with Philips Hue. Do Note acts as a notepad that connects to Evernote, Twitter, Google Calendar, and... | Read more »
How Many Days, Hours, and Minutes Are Le...
Countdown, by Yves Tscherry, is now available on the App Store. The app keeps track of countdowns to your favorite things such as someones birthday or days till the New Year. You can display the time in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, or years or you can watch them all at once. The app is available for the iPhone, iPad, and the Apple... | Read more »
The All-New Misfit 2.0 App is Available...
Misfit has just given their app a complete overhaul. Misfit 2.0 now has a brand new interface with a sleek design and is easier to navigate. You'll be able to sync your Misfit device and look up health and fitness information faster than ever before. Just open the app and the home screen will display your daily activity and sleep in a story view. | Read more »
Halo: Spartan Strike (Games)
Halo: Spartan Strike 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $5.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Delve into 30 challenging missions through cities and jungles using a devastating arsenal of weapons, abilities and vehicles including the iconic Warthog against the Covenant and Promethean enemies. | Read more »
All contents are Copyright 1984-2010 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.