Microsoft announced it’s completely new Operating System once again and people jumped on a wagon wheel to upgrade to it at a cheap discounted price. That’s not bad. Easier and cheaper upgrade is always one of the most cutting-edge strategy for marketing. But don’t make a fool of yourself by doing that in a hurry. Windows 8 is made for tablets, not for your PC.
Microsoft has made a complete generation of PC users to be grown up with the habits of doing things the easier way. I completely understand the argument that it may as well be a User Experience habit. But Come’ on which pattern would you chose to interact with a computer to accomplish a job ? Option 1 – Double click or left click->click->click->click. That would work in most of the cases. If not, the worst thing you would have to do is to right-click –> select some option in the pop-up and anything would work eventually. Option 2 – Move your mouse pointer all around the desktop, hoping you would find the mysterious [G-spot] spot somewhere and even after that you have to wait there for a second for something to pop-up, and if you’re lucky enough that would be the option you were looking for. That’s Windows 8 for you in a nutshell. It is like a bad blind date, you do not want to live with her.
I , like most of you, am an average PC user. I like to do many things on my computer, visit lots of websites in my favorite web browser, play music in my favorite music player, watch HD movies in my favorite video player and also check my E-mail using my own favorite desktop E-mail client. And the only reason I have for making all these applications my favorite is that they, for most of the part, just work for me. I don’t have to fiddle like the first-time user to learn how to use them. I expect most of them to have the usual settings/tools/preferences/options menu to give me all the options to get started. I would never use any UI that makes me click on a pre-defined and mysterious corners of desktop and wait to get some secret options for some of the most trivial functions. For God’s sake ! This is not a mobile OS and the screen space is not limited so that you put every menu in a secret place for the best guess of users. Windows 8 is doing it completely wrong for a PC Operation System. Windows 8 is better-off as Windows 8 Mobile Operating System.
Windows 8, precisely Metro UI or whatever else it is called, is a complete design disaster for a PC. Not to mention, Windows 8 is even bad for Video game makers. It maybe a completely new revolution for tablets. The UI feels beautiful on a tablet and that’s what it is designed for. Screen space is crunch there also. But marketing that Operating System to be revolutionary for PCs as well is an utter lie. Windows 8 is an Operating System with split personality, trying to do two things and doing neither well. Metro UI looks good and then you start discovering how to use it. That pretty much sums it up. Why should someone learn how to shut down his computer? Why should someone learn how to add his Email account in an a desktop Email application? It should be pretty straightforward or atleast made to look easy. Metro UI is exhaustive and requires too much scrolling and discovery. Windows 8 has a steep learning curve.
Aero Flip in Windows 7 was a useful productivity feature. Even that is gone with Windows 8. Oh were you used to viewing multiple applications on your screen? Then Windows 8 is a nightmare for you. You cannot do that in Metro interface. You can split the screen between two, and only two screens. The feature is called SNAP. You can only split the screen in a pre-defined ratio between two applications and you cannot change that ratio. This split is vertical-only, there is no way by which you can put one application on top of the other. Any special productivity here?
The apps that run under Metro often seem like heavily stripped down versions of the classic desktop programs. This becomes more obvious with Metro version of Internet explorer. Metro Internet Explorer doesn’t support tabbed browsing. You can have multiple web pages open at once, but to switch between them you have to swipe from the top of the screen to get a thumbnail of your opened pages. NO ! You cannot justify this approach to be superior than tabbed browsing, never.
So much is being talked and written about new Windows app Marketplace. But most of the popular applications are still not there for Metro. There’s no Photoshop, there’s no iTunes and there is no Firefox browser. The Marketplace is still limited to 5000 apps that are specially made for new Metro UI. Why would I use Metro then anyhow?
Microsoft should have learnt from its mistakes with Vista. Developers should want users to feel good about their applications. But Metro is bad enough for PCs. Microsoft is no longer listening to its customers. They have taken off the most obvious start menu from Metro. They don’t want you to use Metro, they are forcing you to use it. One of the better things to speak about Metro UI is that the tiles display useful information without even opening an application. But I personally would go with a bunch of desktop gadgets for that, rather than filling my entire desktop with lots of different sized tiles . It is not Tetris, it’s my desktop for Christ’s sake !
I would have liked to be given an option to boot right into my classic desktop with start menu, rather than being forced to see Metro tiles and then search for desktop icon. The only way to switch to your classic desktop now is to either press Windows Key + D or Windows Key + M. Again involves extra fiddling.
Do not misunderstand me. I want to like Windows 8. I would be happy to see Microsoft give some serious competition to Apple in the tablets segment. I appreciate the Metro UI on Windows Phone. It is revolutionary and interesting to use on mobile and does not feel boring like Android or iOS. But that’s pretty much all to talk about it.