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

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So here’s my Metro desktop.  Now, I’ve only been using Windows since v2.1 so maybe I’m missing a few things like…

1) How do I sort the tiles?

2) How do I organize them into groups?

3) How do I change the size of tiles?

4) How do I change the color?

These aren’t customization requests, these are basic organizational features people expect.

I like the Metro style. So I’d love to be able to color code tiles based on how I might use them.  Intuitively, I’d expect to be able to drag select (or shift select or ctrl select) a bunch of tiles, right click and choose various options. Except, there are no context menus. Instead, you get an option to unpin or uninstall at the bottom of the screen – great for tablet use but not real useful here.

Android and iPhone users are used to being able to put their stuff in folders/groups/whatever.  What about here?  This seems pretty basic stuff.

The tech is good

Here’s the maddening part, Windows 8 is the best version of Windows yet – technologically. WinRT is great. The memory optimization they’ve done is fantastic. It’s faster. It’s smoother. But it’s also unusable for trying to get a lot of work done. 

This isn’t a case of “just get used to it”. There’s not a lot to get used to. This would be akin to taking away the keyboard on a tablet/smart phone and telling people to just use a stylus to draw what they want and accuse them of not “giving it a chance” when they complain.

What’s the usage case?

In Product design, we typically create use cases. How we expect people to use what we’re making.  I honestly can’t see what their use cases for this is.  How is a user seriously supposed to do serious production work if all the “new” apps are full screen with no quick way to switch between them? 

And I’m not talking about power user stuff here, I’m talking what is the use case of someone who is trying to use Power Point, Word, and Excel together in a Metro environment?

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That is an example of an app (the reader app).  The back button does not take you out of the app. It’s disabled. To get out of the app, you move your mouse to the top left or bottom left of the screen.

To switch between your running apps you move your mouse to the top left and then to the side:

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And you get a list of tiles.

Now, again, I am not trying to beat up on Windows 8 here. I would like one of the Windows 8 fans to make the case on how that metaphor is faster or better or more intuitive than the case where I could have all 3 apps up on the screen at once.  Note that I used the word OR.  You don’t even have to make the case for all 3.  Just one of them would be fine.

Heck, even my Iphone is easier to switch apps than this (double tap and pick the app).

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And the PC is not designed to run everything full screen. How many people choose to run everything full screen?

It’s not all doom

The problem with Windows 8 isn’t technical. It’s political. Someone, way at the top, almost certainly over the cries of developers and designers, is insisting on this.  Here’s why I say this:

  1. They could easily let the Windows desktop load Metro apps in a window, on the Windows desktop. How do I know that? Because we’ve already done it internally here. So it’s definitely doable. So why not? Why force desktop users into Metro when the current Metro experience is a big step back for 90%+ of PC desktop users?
  2. A lot of the problems with the Metro experience boil down to trying to treat the mouse as surrogate for a giant pointer finger. Hence, no context menus – no menus whatsoever. These could be overcome by treating the mouse as a different class of input device.
  3. There is technically no reason to force users into Metro to launch apps or to interact with Metro apps. Under the covers, they’re just full screen windows.

A warning to the fan community

You’re not doing Microsoft any favors by shouting down people’s complaints with Windows 8’s consumer preview. I have a vested interest in the success of Windows 8.  Professionally, I need Windows 8 to be a huge hit.   I can tell you straight out, unless these things are addressed, few enterprises will move to this and few consumers will voluntarily move to it.  And in an age where “Getting a new Dell” is no longer automatic, those Mac Airbooks start to look compelling to a lot of consumers – and it will be a lot more familiar to use than the current Windows 8 experience.


Comments (Page 1)
on Mar 02, 2012

Windows 8 is so intuitive, How-To-Geek did an article to tell people how to shut down & reboot their computer

LINK

on Mar 02, 2012

You know what's really driving me nuts about the "previews" I see of Windows 8? The cropping of the screenshots.

When you edit the screenshots enough, it doesn't look nearly as bad.  That link you gave is a prime example.

Look how big and friendly everything looks in those screenshots.  

But yea, it's quite a few steps. You have to move your mouse to the bottom right, which pops up the charms bar, then pick settings and then shut down.

on Mar 02, 2012

3) How do I change the size of tiles?

Sounds like a Windows 8 app in the making

on Mar 02, 2012

I still can't figure out how to delete something in mail.  

on Mar 02, 2012

That's already pretty hard for a guy like me.  I will admit to not being very tech smart.  I'm sure the vast majority of the people who use these forums are much more educated and comfortable with technology than I, and I know for a fact that I would not have easily figured out how to turn off my computer if I had Windows 8.  Seems strange to hide a function like turning off the computer.  I already have a hard time enough getting mods and things to work in Vista...I'm going to become a frustrated old man before my time...

on Mar 02, 2012

Honestly?

I want an OS to be intuitive, easy and look good.

I need to spend money to have a fight on my hands with something that looks like that?

I don't think so.

on Mar 02, 2012

2) How do I organize them into groups

Right click on tile then drag

 

To switch between your running apps you move your mouse to the top left and then to the side:

or ALT + Tab, WIN + Tab

on Mar 02, 2012

MikusR
2) How do I organize them into groups

Right click on tile then drag

 

To switch between your running apps you move your mouse to the top left and then to the side:

or ALT + Tab, WIN + Tab

That doesn't organize them, that just moves them. I mean the equivalent of folders.

And alt-tabbing versus just moving your mouse between windows on the screen would be a massive step backwards.

As I've written, I know HOW to switch between apps. I said quickly switch between apps.

on Mar 02, 2012

on Mar 02, 2012

Fences has sorting too.  By date or alphabetically or by my favorite way: by how often you use the shortcut.

on Mar 02, 2012

Holy shit, metro sounds absolutely dog shit for a pc user.

on Mar 02, 2012

I agree with most of what your saying having had it in my hands for awhile (developer preview and now the consumer).  However, switching to a Mac Air is not something that would happen for a long time.  They are nice to surf the web with but otherwise lack the software, development tools and games (Gal Civ 2!) that exist on PC.  And the price premium for lesser functionality just does not make sense.

I wonder if this will be another BOB thing....

on Mar 02, 2012

from what I have seen, I beginning to think that windows 8 will make  the MS bob look like a success.

harpo

 

on Mar 02, 2012

Island Dog
I still can't figure out how to delete something in mail.  

OK you people have me already dead set on forgetting windows8. As far as the mail does this OS come with a maikl program? Has anyone tried Microsoft Office 2010. If so I hope the "can't figure out how to delete mail" Has nothing to do with using Outlook 2010, providing it even works.

Sounds like I will be using Stardock products on my computer for a long time yet as win7 works just great for me.

on Mar 02, 2012

"I’m not trying to dog-pile Windows 8 here…"

I wouldn't worry about that very much. Every forum and tech site I visit is. They can't really find much good with it. I will say this that before I retired and if the company I worked for had win8, production would be down to almost nothing.

I don't think microsoft know how many millions of people out there that have to be trained just to start and shut down a computer and that's when the buttons are visable.

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