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
$108.00
Apple Inc.
+1.02
GOOG
$559.08
Google Inc.
+8.77
MSFT
$46.95
Microsoft Corpora
+0.90
MacNews Search:
Community Search:

Latest Forum Discussions

See All
view counter

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

Monster Flash Review
Monster Flash Review By Jordan Minor on October 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: ALONE IN THE DARKUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Solid shooting and a surprising amount of spooky tension make Monster Flash a great portable piece of Halloween.   | Read more »
Retry Review
Retry Review By Rob Thomas on October 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: SOARING HIGHUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Flappy who? Let Retry wash all those bad bird-related memories away on a cool retro-flavored flight… right into the side of a cliff. Over and over and over again.   | Read more »
Dementia: Book of the Dead Review
Dementia: Book of the Dead Review By Lee Hamlet on October 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: A TOUGH READUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad A witch hunter is sent after a demonic book in the spooky but short-lived Dementia: Book of the Dead.   | Read more »
Card Dungeon, the Semi-Board Game Roguel...
Card Dungeon, the Semi-Board Game Roguelike, Has Been Renovated Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 31st, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Logitech Protection + Power iPhone5/5S C...
Made by: Logitech Price: $99.99 Hardware/iOS Integration Rating: 3 out of 5 stars Usability Rating: 0.5 out of 5 stars Reuse Value Rating: 0.75 out of 5 stars Build Quality Rating: 0.75 out of 5 stars Overall Rating: 1.25 out of 5 stars | Read more »
This Is Not a Test Goes Free, Permanentl...
This Is Not a Test Goes Free, Permanently Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 31st, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Swap Heroes Review
Swap Heroes Review By Campbell Bird on October 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: STRATEGIC SWAPPINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Rotate a cast of heroes to fend of waves of monsters in this difficult, puzzle rpg.   | Read more »
Night Sky Pro™ (Reference)
Night Sky Pro™ 3.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Reference Price: $2.99, Version: 3.0.1 (iTunes) Description: Night Sky Pro™Wonder No More™Night Sky Pro™ is the ultimate stargazing experience. From the creators of the original Night Sky™ app comes an all-new powerful and immersive encounter with the sky above! | Read more »
Audio Defence : Zombie Arena (Games)
Audio Defence : Zombie Arena 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: A zombie shooter audio game. Made from gut-wrenching 3D binaural sound, for a new kind of weird immersion. You are the blind warrior, fighting off wave after wave of Dr Bastard’s Zombies. With 3D binaural sound... | Read more »
RPG Asdivine Hearts (Games)
RPG Asdivine Hearts 1.1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.1.0 (iTunes) Description: SPECIAL PRICE50% OFF (USD 7.99 -> USD 3.99)!!!Travel alongside four companions and a cat in the adventure of a lifetime and one that transcends even the world in this latest fantasy RPG!◆◇Story◇◆ | Read more »
All contents are Copyright 1984-2010 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.