Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.

Got to play around with the February beta of Windows 8. It is terrible. It is beyond terrible. It is so bad that I’m a little panicked about the future of Windows. People won’t use this.

I could have teams of people working full time to develop products to fix it but we’re not in the business of making a terrible experience good. We’re in the business of making a good experience better.

No sane person, will consider the user experience of this beta acceptable. Even a die hard Windows advocate cannot be pleased. It’s that bad.

I’m all over adapting to new UI conventions if they’re as good or better. But that’s not the case here. This is just terrible.

I have confidence in Microsoft in delivering innovative technology (Windows Phone is excellent). But something went terribly wrong here.

image

Start button: Gone.

image

Everything is in a corner. Type in top right, move to far left.

image

This is the new “Start” menu.  Note: Fresh install. Luckily, no one installs anything right?

Click…
image

and…be taken here:
image

 

But someday, everything will be metro right?

That’ll be the world of:

image

The 2560x1440 weather widget. Microsoft Window 9 (we can dispense with “Windows”).

 

Everything requires lots of clickity click click and lots of mouse drag. Less of an issue on a mobile device but on a desktop? If they didn’t force you to live in-between worlds (you’re not allowed to live in just the desktop remember, you have to come back to the Metro-tablet like experience).

image

What’s really a bummer is that Windows 8’s desktop is really good. Better than Windows 7. But you’re not allowed to live here. They treat the desktop as a kind of DOS box equivalent even though, for desktop users, it’s a vastly more productive experience.

Update 1:

It's not just that they got rid of the Start button -- on the classic desktop. Navigating around is just a pain. Getting to your stuff is a pain. It's lots of clicks and drags to do anything, even basic stuff. 

Remember how annoying the UAC prompt can be when it darkens the screen interrupting your flow? Well going back and forth between Metro and classic is far worse and far more frequent.

Let me put it this way, this is bad enough that there will almost certainly be YouTube videos demonstrating some of the absurdities of use. We're not talking nit-picking type issues here, we're talking fundamental, baffling user experience choices. And that's without touching on performance (10 seconds to load up the mail program?).

Update 2:


You be the judge:

Bear in mind, this is on a clean system. Imagine how this system falls apart when you have dozens of programs installed -- some metro and some Win32.  I can't even imagine trying to explain how this works to a typical enterprise customer or worse..my mom.

Update 3:

Here’s a quick stop gap solution for the Start menu issue:

http://www.stardock.com/products/start8


Comments (Page 6)
on Mar 02, 2012

Excalpius... we don't differ in opinions. I agree with you, I just bring resources to help like this one:

http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/251083/a_guide_to_getting_around_the_windows_8_beta_with_a_mouse.html

Remember, Stardock has this little gem of a program called "Keyboard Launcher" which greatly enhances productivity.

I personally feel that W8 is a failure due to the fact that it's main competitor (Apple) makes things so easy. W8 is NOT intuitive at all. Big mistake. Along with making it fugly.

on Mar 02, 2012

It's pre-mature to call it a failure when it hasn't even been released yet.  There's lot of time to make changes and address some issues people bring up.  

Remember Vista, the failure?

http://www.edbott.com/weblog/2012/03/in-the-valley-anything-less-than-92-share-makes-you-irrelevant/

 

on Mar 02, 2012

DrJBHL
Remember, Stardock has this little gem of a program called "Keyboard Launcher" which greatly enhances productivity.

Keyboard Launchpad, actually:

http://www.stardock.com/products/klp/

Stardock Support would be lost without it.

on Mar 02, 2012

Island Dog
It's pre-mature to call it a failure when it hasn't even been released yet.  There's lot of time to make changes and address some issues people bring up.  

Remember Vista, the failure?

http://www.edbott.com/weblog/2012/03/in-the-valley-anything-less-than-92-share-makes-you-irrelevant/

 

You raise a good point. I imagine most of the forumites here are relatively sophisticated when it comes to technology. It will be interesting to see how the average user likes the UI changes. 8 can definitely succeed even if the power users are less than thrilled with it if everyone else loves it.

on Mar 02, 2012

Island Dog
It's pre-mature to call it a failure when it hasn't even been released yet.  There's lot of time to make changes and address some issues people bring up.  

 

I agree with you 100% that new shortcuts and minor tweaks can certainly be introduced now. Even the start button could be added back in on the taskbar, etc.

But I think that period has passed, design-wise. 

Without breaking my NDA, I can now safely say that each and every one of these issues has been raised privately for almost two years now (from drawing table to alphas) and the major paradigm problems inherent in this approach have not changed...at all.

This OS is being designed for touch tablets and phones, first and foremost.

As with some of Apple's worst moves recently (Final Cut Bleh, etc.), desktop/professional considerations have all been rendered subservient to that agenda.

I am hopeful that there will be enough professional outcry that what changes are made over the next 3-6 months do focus primarily on the legacy desktop issues we'll all running into.

But given the current decision-making hierarchy at MS these days regarding Windows 8, I have to be honest and realistic here.  Short of a few accommodations for multi-monitor configurations, etc. I'm not sure any major changes to the Metro UI are going to happen.

Think of it this way.  They could have added the "up" button back to Windows 7 any time in the past 4 years (including beta testing), but we won't actually see it back officially until the release of Windows 8 later this year.  And that was a beginner's 101 coding issue which INFURIATED tens millions of professional Windows users around the world when it happened.  

And that "change" was inexplicable, indefensible, and wholly unnecessary.  Yet we've been stuck with it for four years now.

 

on Mar 02, 2012

Island Dog
It's pre-mature to call it a failure when it hasn't even been released yet.

Perhaps. To me, MS went in the wrong direction. One OS for pads and PCs. Pads are inherently different from PCs.

Also, it is non-intuitive and it is anything but easy.

MS has a rather poor record for listening. When they do they call it another OS. I don't think they'll be changing it much at all, and that's a pity.

Rosco_P
Quoting DrJBHL, reply 76Remember, Stardock has this little gem of a program called "Keyboard Launcherpad" which greatly enhances productivity.

Keyboard Launchpad, actually:

http://www.stardock.com/products/klp/

Stardock Support would be lost without it.

Yes, mea maxima culpa. That made all the difference. You are on the List.

I hate you. Forever.

 

on Mar 02, 2012

DrJBHL

I personally feel that W8 is a failure due to the fact that it's main competitor (Apple) makes things so easy. W8 is NOT intuitive at all. Big mistake. Along with making it fugly.

Agreed 100%.  That link only backs up with everyone is saying.  

And while fugly can can modified, updated, and customized quite easily (witness Apple's always terrible blue jelly sliders debacle), the fact that this OS has no obvious visual clues to the new user about how to do any of the things that article talks about (touch OR mouse) is one of the biggest mistakes in modern UI history.

Brad's video makes this crystal clear.  Treating it as any layman would, he sees the applications on the metro start bar.  Easy and intuitive enough since I can clearly touch/click on an application to run it.

But then what?

No taskbar to see what's running.

No visible widgets of any kind for close, switch, etc.

In a modern GUI, the keyboard should be an OPTION not a requirement.

The bottom line is that even on touch devices, new users (ESPECIALLY the ever-growing elderly population) are going to be having strokes over these bewildering intuitiveness issues.

And the solution to this obvious problem is NOT "just don't upgrade".  That's against the whole "upgrade to the newest thing" consumerism credo.  8)

Ironically, the BEST way to interact with this UI isn't even being discussed.

Voice.

Clearly, that would bypass almost all of this as far as core UI navigation issues.

But let's look at Kinect a moment.  Waving and gestures are fine, but that device is NOT precise enough to have us point to just that wee corner of the screen, hold and then scroll down, etc.

And are we supposed to learn some crazy macro gesture for Alt-Tab?  8P

PS  Apple is remarkably silent here.  They, under no circumstances, want MS to fix any of this.  In 3-6 months, when these issues are beyond modification, you'll know what Apple truly thinks of Windows 8 when you see their inventory/manufacturing orders doubling or tripling.  They'll smell the blood in the water if MS doesn't do a major rethink and fast.  8P

on Mar 02, 2012

I do agree with much of the hate flowing through this thread, I can also see why Microsoft is causing it.

The desktop computer as we know it is going away. At least that's the impression I get from Microsoft's aggressive actions in how it's changing Windows. You can blame the tablet and smart phone and everything that lies between as the real reason Windows has to change. It seems there is simply no place for something like Windows 7 in this future where everyone is interacting with computers through touch based small form factor devices. The world of users that are growing up with that don't expect the ability to run many apps at once and be able to resize different windows into one desktop space. They do one thing in one app and then leave that and do another thing in another app. They are happy to go through the most mind numbingly backward steps in UI design to do the most simple things. Even the hardcore users put up with it because they are doing this on their phone while riding a bike. They don't expect anything more and that's the problem. There's a zombie apocalypse of IOS/Android users that just march on, infecting other users showing off with their cool "APPS" and on they go, mindlessly consuming this stuff and know no better.

Fast forward to Windows 9 and I'll wager that there will be no desktop at all. Just a home screen, metroUI, whatever you want to call it, that will launch single apps that you'll have to deal with, just as you deal with an iphone or android phone today. If you think it's bad now having to live in two worlds, wait until they take the one you really wanted to play in, away.

Still, for old farts like me, this isn't essentially anything new. As someone already mentioned the Amiga. The Workbench environment was in its day, a fully multitasking windows system that had plug and play for devices before the term had even been coined. It was a wonderful OS and even today, I still hate the idea that when you hover over an icon, or click it, it does nothing but be highlighted. Anyone not familiar with it can just think of the web and the rollover image links that were popular for a while. At least Directory Opus still carries that multiple image states for icons torch, but I digress. Then Windows came along and replaced all that graphical loveliness. We all moved from the Amiga to the PC and learned to forget how great things used to be and just enjoyed the fact that these PC's could play Doom. A fair enough trade back then. Today all we're getting as a consolation prize for giving up our flexible OS freedom are METRO APPS!

Having said all that, I'm still genuinely baffled where this leaves the professional and why there isn't room for two OS's. A tablet one and the decent one we use now. Clearly Microsoft sees one single future converging around touch.

on Mar 02, 2012

Rosco_P
Quoting DrJBHL, reply 76Remember, Stardock has this little gem of a program called "Keyboard Launcher" which greatly enhances productivity.

Keyboard Launchpad, actually:

http://www.stardock.com/products/klp/

Stardock Support would be lost without it.

Does that still work?

Fix Enhanced File Dialog, I miss it!

on Mar 02, 2012

RedneckDude
Does that still work?

Every day, all day long.

on Mar 02, 2012

Excalpius
PS Apple is remarkably silent here. They, under no circumstances, want MS to fix any of this. In 3-6 months, when these issues are beyond modification, you'll know what Apple truly thinks of Windows 8 when you see their inventory/manufacturing orders doubling or tripling. They'll smell the blood in the water if MS doesn't do a major rethink and fast.

Hit the nail squarely on the head here.  Apple is licking its lips with glee over the Win 8 GUI... and the silence from that quarter is deafening.  Of course Apple does not want Win 8 fixed, that's why there's little or no criticism or comments from them, not that MS can do much about it now.  Sadly. MS has come too far with this monstrosity to turn back or implement any significant changes that could rectify the huge mistake that is Metro by default.

on Mar 02, 2012

Island Dog
http://www.edbott.com/weblog/2012/03/in-the-valley-anything-less-than-92-share-makes-you-irrelevant/

Do you really believe what is wrote in these article, like this :

...And, of course, if you add up the number of Windows XP users (dominated by enterprises) and Windows 7 (mostly consumers and small businesses)...

Real number for the enterprises world :

- server : Unix like is 63.90% , Windows is 36.10% ( mainly server, enterprise, datacenter edition )

- Main frame : 95% of hardware are IBM system Z... with only 28% of Linux on system, rest being mainly Z/os

- Super computer : 91.4% linux, 5.6% IBM AIX, 0.2% Microsoft HPC server 2008

Sure that on usual desktop, Microsoft have the biggest share... 

 

Excalpius
Ironically, the BEST way to interact with this UI isn't even being discussed.

Voice.

Clearly, that would bypass almost all of this as far as core UI navigation issues.

It is not discussed because it already exist...

The next video is about a implementation of it in 120 apartment from Sao Polo... Yeah, she can make your café too... almost like a real woman... only difference is that real woman have not a "mute" button for when you wish watch sport

Can see some of the feature at http://guile3d.com/en/products/ ... know about it because i have setup a computer using it for a blind woman... for info, next version who will be released next Monday ( 5 March ) will be compatible Win8... Second layer AI is planned for April ( used for discussion context analysis )...

 

on Mar 02, 2012

Well..... Win 2000...ME...Vista........8.....10........12........13 I won't even go there!

 

on Mar 02, 2012

I just read this over at Majorgeeks.  Microsoft is boasting over a million downloads of Win 8 in the first 24 hours..... so what!

Majorgeeks is saying the rating of Win 8 is low among the downloaders who got it from their site... which is to be expected, I suppose.

http://majorgeeks.com/story.php?id=33595

on Mar 02, 2012

Looks like Microsoft will releasing 9 versions of Win8 -  http://windows8beta.com/2012/03/exclusive-windows-8-sku-revealed-in-consumer-preview

I hope one will allow you to 'turn off' the Metro UI ... but I doubt it