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

Update: We've made a Start button for Windows 8 that brings up a Start menu. Click here to sign up.

 

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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 3)
on Mar 03, 2012

Thoumsin
Quoting Frogboy, reply 2But 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 ???

 

HAHA read page 1 and this is the funniest comment so far    Lula´s wearing that gun pretty deep down isnt she lol
would also like to add : "CP Beta" it is made for a purpose

on Mar 03, 2012

 

Next big thing : Metro Explorer. Ooops, they left some artifacts in.

on Mar 03, 2012


Windows 8 is Microsoft's giant overreaction to mobile computing (iOS, Android, tablets, smartphones, etc). They are paranoid about becoming irrelevant and so they are doing what they always do, try to shoehorn an everything-fits-all solution into Windows. They want Windows to be the one-stop solution for everything. Unfortunately, it's not a very good fit. They have made this mistake over and over in the past. You'd think they'd learn by now. They make good products but that company badly needs new top management.

on Mar 03, 2012

What he said.

on Mar 03, 2012


Quoting voo, reply 16It doesn't even feel like an Operating System. It feels like some interactive corporate powerpoint presentation.

 

Voo!!!

 

 

MadDeez
VOO!!!!

 

I don't know him.  *looks at Pasley* 

 

 

C0LDsteel

Windows 8 is Microsoft's giant overreaction to mobile computing (iOS, Android, tablets, smartphones, etc). They are paranoid about becoming irrelevant and so they are doing what they always do, try to shoehorn an everything-fits-all solution into Windows. They want Windows to be the one-stop solution for everything. Unfortunately, it's not a very good fit. They have made this mistake over and over in the past. You'd think they'd learn by now. They make good products but that company badly needs new top management.

 

Smartphones are a lot more elegant than this though. Saying that, elegance has never been on Microsoft's side.

on Mar 03, 2012

Off topic: Voo - irc.stardock.com still works old friend.  use it!

on Mar 03, 2012

I miss Ian (Voo)

on Mar 03, 2012

I miss Pas.  

on Mar 03, 2012

I’m not trying to dog-pile Windows 8 here…[/quote]

Microsoft needs no help in doing this... it has done more than an adequate job itself.

[quote who="C0LDsteel" reply="33" id="3098230"]Windows 8 is Microsoft's giant overreaction to mobile computing (iOS, Android, tablets, smartphones, etc). They are paranoid about becoming irrelevant and so they are doing what they always do, try to shoehorn an everything-fits-all solution into Windows. They want Windows to be the one-stop solution for everything. Unfortunately, it's not a very good fit. They have made this mistake over and over in the past. You'd think they'd learn by now. They make good products but that company badly needs new top management

It missed the boat with smart phones and tablets, so Microsoft thinks it is making up ground by making Win 8, as you say, a one-stop solution to everything, but it is the biggest mistake MS has ever made, IMHO.  It is the mistake that will make MS become irrelevant. With Win 8 multi-tasking has become a thing of the past [what with the one app open at a time kind of thinking in Metro], so the majority of desktop users will reject it outright, and not just the power users.  Even ma and pa users will want to be able to surf the net, chat in Messenger and compose a letter while listening to music, etc, so it's pretty much dead in the water as far as regular users go. 

It may suit a person who spends 24/7 on Facebook, or somebody who hasn't mastered anything above a smartphone, but it certainly will not measure up for me.

on Mar 04, 2012

I am a little behind the times when it comes to computers, though I will probably migrate from XP to Windows 7, even though it annoys me a lot, when I build a proper computer of my own. This is my parent's computer that is nearly ten years old. And I won't even bother with Windows 8 unless it gets a redesign, because it clearly doesn't work very well for traditional PC use in its present state from what I am seeing. Microsoft definitely needs to get their act together asap, unless they want to shoot themselves in the foot, which will happen if Windows 8 doesn't get a redesign.

on Mar 04, 2012

Lets take all of our opinions and plaster them all over MS website. Not that it will matter but its worth a shot, a very long shot considering Microstuff's track record to date.

on Mar 04, 2012

Lets take all of our opinions and plaster them all over MS website. Not that it will matter but its worth a shot, a very long shot considering Microstuff's track record to date.

Or...

We can leave them be....merrily getting it wrong....and wait for Stardock perhaps to provide the SANE GUI ....and save the world...

on Mar 04, 2012

Or...

We can leave them be....merrily getting it wrong....and wait for Stardock perhaps to provide the SANE GUI ....and save the world..

The thing is, we'd also need for SD to make the regular [sane] desktop the default... otherwise we're going to be switched from the SANE GUI to Metro each time an app is exited.

However, and more importantly, is is worth developing SD apps for WIN 8 when uptake on the OS is likely to be minimal to non-existent?

on Mar 04, 2012

starkers
However, and more importantly, is is worth developing SD apps for WIN 8 when uptake on the OS is likely to be minimal to non-existent?

Dunno.....history is 'full' of crappy MS OS's being foisted on the unsuspecting public.... ME .... Vista ..... 8 ...

on Mar 04, 2012

Yup and watch how many will jump on the new OS. All those not paying attention to the articles and comments etc. etc.