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 2)
on Mar 02, 2012

It doesn't even feel like an Operating System. It feels like some interactive corporate powerpoint presentation.

on Mar 02, 2012

Frogboy
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.

I missed that. I clicked my user logo, chose sign out, gives the lock screen, on which I hit the shutdown button bottom right.  Took a few minutes to find that.  Charms bar is a bit better, I must say...hehe.

 

 

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

LINK
Last night I spent a good 4 minutes trying to figure out how to turn my laptop off.    

on Mar 02, 2012

It doesn't even feel like an Operating System. It feels like some interactive corporate powerpoint presentation.
Voo!!!

on Mar 02, 2012

Voo!!!

 

Ditto!!

on Mar 02, 2012

I have a question about Fences. From explorer point of view "vanilla" Windows desktop looks like this: folders on desktop are folders in C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Desktop folder (at least in XP) and shortcuts (or other files) on desktop are shortcuts (or other files) in the same folder. How does a fence, from explorer point of view, look like? Is it simply a folder with special name that tells Fences program to interpret it as a fence, not as a folder?

on Mar 02, 2012

I really don't get how it's so hard to use.  Hover here, right click there, some excellent options I didn't have before (like power tools when you right click at the bottom left...all the ones I ever need.)  I'm sure MS will include some sort of Tour app just like they did with XP to deal with casual users.

 

The Metro apps are things that should be full screen IMO.  When I look at pics/PDFs they should be full screen by default.  Otherwise it's just an alt tab (or hover/click) away, and it takes milliseconds to switch.  Harsh.

 

My only complaint is the metro apps are very obviously not finished, and of course there hardly are any at this point.  Otherwise the OS has a few remaining glitches but I'd imagine it's pretty close to done.

on Mar 02, 2012

Gandhialf
I have a question about Fences. From explorer point of view "vanilla" Windows desktop looks like this: folders on desktop are folders in C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Desktop folder (at least in XP) and shortcuts (or other files) on desktop are shortcuts (or other files) in the same folder. How does a fence, from explorer point of view, look like? Is it simply a folder with special name that tells Fences program to interpret it as a fence, not as a folder?
Fences does not interact with the directory structure in any way.  It is a desktop layer app.  no more, no less.

on Mar 02, 2012

Fences does not interact with the directory structure in any way.  It is a desktop layer app.  no more, no less.

I see. Thanks for reply.

on Mar 02, 2012

VOO!!!!

on Mar 02, 2012

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:

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?
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.
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.

 

in one of the MS podcast I seen, the speaker said that Touch screens are going to flood the market soon (something like 2 to 4 years) well that's not soon. but anyway. and that in turn you will not need the Keyboard and mouse. ...  in the VERY near future.. and that they think this is a good move.

It's not I am using a Computer not an Smart phone.  Hell even the icons slash tile-like ones on my non-smart phone looks 1,000x better then Metro Tiles...

to me it is not.  I would not want to have to hold my are up the hole time I am on the PC to use a Touch screen or have to cut my desk up to fit a Touch screen flat on my desk..

MS I am NOT sorry I will not buy Win 8. as long as Metro is the default interface. for a Desktop user. not to mention those but ugly tiles..

 

on Mar 03, 2012

Crazy 8sI'm almost never actually IN Metro, I just use it mostly as a start menu.  It's been changed since then (I had double pinned some stuff and hadn't added my other apps and so on.)  The general usability is lacking in the app department so far, so I mostly ignore all that.  Removed Solitaire for obvious reasons and the Xbox stuff since there just isn't enough usefulness there yet.  And Finance, since, gasp, I don't own stocks.

Really my only complaint as I probably mentioned is the Metro apps are just not very good.  I don't even know how the Pictures app sorts but I can't seem to change it back to by file name.  Mail won't get any mail older than a week ago, perhaps because I'm almost always downloading and don't spend long in the app.  The rest is pretty meh too.  I like Pictures and Reader most, whether P* could be improved or not.  I don't even use a calendar at the moment so I could see that being useful since I'm stepping up my volunteer efforts.

The messaging app is easy on the eyes but the layout just isn't very good.

Anyway I think I'm done beating dead horses when it comes to 8.  Obviously a lot of you guys hate it and that doesn't really concern me.  I just think once you get used to how it operates it's pretty damn nice, and yes I use a mouse and keyboard...come to think of it I should see how Kinect works with win8 too.

So anyway, I'm off to do more important things.  Just finished Assassin's Creed: Revelations...onward!

on Mar 03, 2012

brad... dosent one of those tiles or something have an option so you can use the normal startmenu like we do now?

i forget who posted it, but someone here posted a link to a long video about windows 8, and one of the presenters on the video pressed something on the screen and the normal startmenu appeared.....

and if so.... can we still be able to skin that and just skip the metro if need be ?

 

on Mar 03, 2012

Frogboy
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.

Ok, i have never use any menu option for shutdown my computer... i find strange to click "start" on win xp for being able to shutdown...

I am from the prehistoric generation who use the power on/off button on the computer itself... a short push for a shutdown, a push of 3 second for a power-off... is it win8 disabling these hardware button ???

on Mar 03, 2012

Obviously a lot of you guys hate it and that doesn't really concern me.

Savyg .... Stardock [and Wincustomize] is peopled by people [how odd] that are pre-occupied with the Windows GUI.  It's their/our bread and butter. [Most] all else is secondary.

WHEN a new OS is shown to be clunky and disfunctional it flies in the face of 'what we do'.

You are literally GUARANTEED to find a groundswell of dissatisfied people here.... probably more-so than any other site on the net...

on Mar 03, 2012

WHEN a new OS is shown to be clunky and disfunctional it flies in the face of 'what we do'.

Is it though?

Old start menu takes what one, two, three, possibly four clicks to get to a program that isn't in the top six.

New start menu takes two once you've pinned your fav apps to it.  And of course you can pin to the taskbar just like with 7.

It's just different, it's hardly dysfunctional.  And the admin tools being quick to get to will save me a crapload of time when I need that stuff, which isn't that uncommon since I change my disk layouts every so often, set up symbolic links and stuff like that!  (I used to disable my NIC a lot when I plugged the modem in directly, but I don't think I need to bother plugging the new modem in directly.)

At any rate, I don't feel like talking about this all week I just love it.  So hopefully my last post on the subject.

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