Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Nielsen on Windows 8

Jakob Nielsen:

One of the worst aspects of Windows 8 for power users is that the product’s very name has become a misnomer. “Windows” no longer supports multiple windows on the screen. Win8 does have an option to temporarily show a second area in a small part of the screen, but none of our test users were able to make this work. Also, the main UI restricts users to a single window, so the product ought to be renamed “Microsoft Window.”

Update (2012-12-02): Donald Norman:

Here is my prediction. The requirements of small screen, mobile devices are incompatible with those of large screen, fixed devices. All the computer companies are learning how to deal with this. It is not unusual for first attempts to have flaws. Microsoft, however, is famous for building flawed systems, but focusing upon them and improving them. By version 3, they get it right.

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It's a shame that Windows 8's "No Compromises" really seems to mean "No Compromises Except For 'Pro' Users".

I've been looking forward to having the fallback option of switching to Windows if OS X continues degenerating along the lines we've seen the past few years, but everything I've been hearing about Windows 8 makes that seem an unappealing prospect.

(I guess the fact that Microsoft has guaranteed support for Windows 7 until 2022, or some similar far-off date gives me some small amount of comfort. In a worst case scenario, I could switch to Windows 7 for a goodly number of years.)

I find this hard to believe. In desktop mode in Windows 8, you cannot have a Word window open alongside a OneNote window or a browser Window?

Martin Marconcini

That's not entirely true. I have a Windows 8 Pro PC and have been playing with a Surface RT and you can have two apps in a split screen. It's not intuitive, but it's doable. Metro apps, of course you can do that with traditional desktop apps.

I agree that W8 for powerusers is not the best approach (probably not for regular users either), but you can (albeit with limitations) have two apps at the same time.

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