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Windows 8: The Boldest, Biggest Redesign in MS's History

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#1 Denis W.

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 04:33

Was looking at a handout for one of my courses, and there was a link to a webpage. On the same webpage was this link to an article about Windows 8. If you look past the oft-repeated generalizations at the top and read the entire article, there are some interesting tidbits inside about how Windows 8 came to be.

For instance, a nickname for an early mockup of Windows 8 was "Pocahontas."

Read here: http://www.fastcodes...design-strategy

edit: whoops, didn't see this on the FP: http://www.neowin.ne...lled-pocahontas


#2 Descartes

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 04:47

This is a pretty insightful read. And I couldn't agree more about the iCal part :p

#3 jakem1

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 07:31

Very interesting. Thanks.

#4 BajiRav

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 07:42

http://www.neowin.ne...lled-pocahontas :p

#5 PGHammer

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 07:55

Very interesting. Thanks.


And the point of the post is, in fact, dead-on - Windows 8 is, quite literally, a step in quite a different direction for Microsoft.

And while a lot of the detractors - albeit grudgingly - admit that such a step HAD to be taken, they would still have preferred that Microsoft in general, and Windows in particular, NOT take it.

After going through three Previews (Developer, Consumer, and Release) and then having thrashed the RTM bits since almost a month ago, here's my takeaway on Windows 8.

1. As different as the UI is from the direction set by the past decade-plus of Windows, you wouldn't know it from how solid the application, game and hardware compatibility is. (That, in and of itself, is remarkably different from previous versions - one of THE biggest issues with upgrading Windows - software backward compatibility - is a non-issue.)
2. As opposed to Windows 7, which tended to hide the keyboard under the mouse-biased Start menu that Windows has had since 9x/NT4, the Start menu's excision meant an improved focus on two areas that even Windows 7 was lacking in - keyboard-friendliness and touch-friendliness. (The lack of keyboard-friendliness of Windows XP/Vista/7 frankly bugged me - especially since it was by design.)
3. It's a shame that it's not as easy to get users more open-minded about what you can do with the admittedly-wildly-different UI - without changing applications. (Practically *all* the angst and criticism is about the UI being so different. I've seen more FUD about Windows 8 than I have about Vista - which had far greater issues with backward compatibility - especially in terms of applications.)

#6 UXGaurav

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 08:03

It says Ballmer provided the team no guidance or direction on the UI and met the UX people just once or twice! :s No wonder.

#7 +MikeChipshop

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 08:40

Good little read that, cheers.

#8 Mohitster

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 09:05

It says Ballmer provided the team no guidance or direction on the UI and met the UX people just once or twice! :s No wonder.


No wonder indeed. Because he is simply not expected to provide any insights or inputs on UX front.

#9 vetCalum

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 09:25

It says Ballmer provided the team no guidance or direction on the UI and met the UX people just once or twice! :s No wonder.

Ballmer isn't a design guru, nor is he a design professional; his job is to run the company and make decisions about what happens in the company. He obviously had faith in the professionals he hired to design a brilliant product, and he probably would have checked out the design throughout the development process and been happy with it. The article says he provided the team with no guidance or direction; it doesn't say he wasn't in on deciding "yes" or "no" to proposals from his team. The former is not his job; however, making decisions for the company is his job.

This is probably how many software companies work. The professionals in the field of design propose the direction and the CEO (or the person running the company) decides whether he or she believes that's a good direction or not.

#10 StandingInAlley

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 09:28

Thank You for posting. It was fun reading the article.

#11 The King of GnG

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 10:23

Windows 8 is utterly crap. I want an OS I can use, not a damn design showcase!

#12 vetCalum

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 10:29

Windows 8 is utterly crap. I want an OS I can use, not a damn design showcase!

So you can't use something that is usable and designed well; does it have to be poorly designed in order for you to feel you can use it?

#13 Dot Matrix

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 10:30

Windows 8 is utterly crap. I want an OS I can use, not a damn design showcase!


Huh? I've been using it for almost a year and a half. How is it unusable?

#14 ahhell

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 10:36

I have to disagree with the title.

Windows 95 was the boldest/biggest redesign in Microsoft's history.

#15 .Neo

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 10:48

So you can't use something that is usable and designed well; does it have to be poorly designed in order for you to feel you can use it?

Clever reply.

Does Metro in Windows 8 RTM allow me to split screens 50-50 so I can see two apps at the same time?