Editorial

Has Microsoft forgotten what Metro's all about?

When Microsoft announced Windows Phone 7, it made a bold proclamation: current smartphone operating systems are doing it wrong. They’re trying to be too much like computer operating systems when they should be something else entirely.

“Phones kind of look like PCs, and the phone is not a PC,” Joe Belfiore, Windows Phone program director at Microsoft, said when the smartphone platform was announced at Mobile World Congress 2010. “We wanted to revisit how we thought about [smartphone interfaces in terms of] design.”

It's somewhat ironic, then, that Microsoft is trying to force a tablet interface – the same style of interface the company designed for phones, only enlarged – on PCs, while also shoehorning a traditional PC interface on tablets.

The interface of Windows 8 and Windows RT – the x86 and ARM versions, respectively, of Microsoft’s next operating system – is a bit of an odd beast. Microsoft’s championed its Metro design language with the operating system’s new Start screen, other interface elements and Metro apps, but at the same time the company isn’t abandoning the Aero interface it created for Windows Vista and continued using in Windows 7. It’s an odd choice, since the two designs seem to have competing ideas.

Metro is a design language focused on simplicity. It provides users with quick glances of information through the use of live tiles; the design language also emphasizes typography, solid shapes and vector icons.

Aero, on the other hand, is being updated in Microsoft’s new operating system to incorporate a ribbon interface, which has primarily been featured in the company’s Office suite, although it has also been featured in a few other applications. The ribbon is the antithesis of Metro’s simplistic appearance: it provides users with a plethora of icons and options, as well as tabs that provide even more features.

* * *

Microsoft’s made it clear it wants Metro to be the defining Windows experience across all platforms, including e-readers, phones, tablets, computers and televisions. The Xbox 360 is the most recent Microsoft platform to be updated with the Metro interface.

The Xbox 360’s Metro dashboard was launched in December to mixed reactions from both gamers and developers. Gamers complained about the amount of advertisements and poor navigation schemes; developers cited the interface’s clutter as a roadblock to customers looking for new games, causing decreased sales on Xbox Live.

In a recent article, Lee Bradley of Xbox360Achievements took Microsoft to task for the Metro dashboard’s “poor functionality.”

“The original Xbox 360 dashboard may not have been the most attractive, but you could get everything you wanted from it quickly and easily,” Bradley wrote. “[While the new Metro dashboard is] undoubtedly attractive, the tile-based redesign has been an absolute nightmare for users.”

According to Bradley, the Metro dashboard has covered the interface with advertisements and made it nearly impossible to easily navigate to game-related content.

Developers have made similar complaints. One independent developer, Nathan Fotus of Mommy’s Best Games, went so far as to call the new dashboard “an advertiser’s dream” in an interview with Eurogamer and said “it’s easy to get lost” in the Metro interface. According to Fotus, the new interface has buried games behind an excessive amount of tiles and button clicks.

It’s not just gamers and independent developers upset with the new interface – developers at larger studios are issuing similar opinions.

In the current issue of Game Informer, Robot Entertainment CEO Patrick Hudson complained about the new dashboard’s “sense of discovery.”

“If you power up your Xbox 360, games aren’t going to be the thing you see there,” Hudson said. “If you want to discover a new XBLA game, you’d have to be pretty committed to that as a process because you’re going to have to dig and find it.”

Hudson’s comments are noteworthy as he was once a Microsoft employee. Robot Entertainment was founded by former Ensemble Studios employees; Ensemble Studios was a Microsoft subsidiary, best known for the “Age of Empires” franchise and “Halo Wars.” Robot Entertainment has also worked with Microsoft on “Halo Wars” updates and “Age of Empires Online.”

Robot Entertainment’s next game, “Orcs Must Die! 2,” won’t be released on XBLA. The original “Orcs Must Die!”was an Xbox 360 console exclusive, releasing on Windows (via Steam) and XBLA. It was even published by Microsoft on the Xbox 360.

Microsoft’s attempted to address developer complaints by redesigning the Game Marketplace on the Xbox 360. So far, however, no developers have indicated the update has alleviated the navigation problems or provided an increase in XBLA sales.

The Windows Store in Windows 8 and Windows RT may find itself facing similar problems.

The store features a design reminiscent of the Xbox’s 360’s Game Marketplace: only a few notable apps are located on the main page; users can then view a list of recently released apps in each category, as well as the top paid and free apps. Currently, more in-depth navigation features are lacking – to find other apps, users will have to open the charms bar, select search, and type in what it is they’re looking for. Sorting options only exist when searching apps, but not in the default store view, similar to the app store on the iPad. While this interface may be adequate for tablets, it’s not as useful on computers.

There are two important differences between Metro on the Xbox 360 and Metro on Windows 8.

First, the Xbox 360’s controller and Kinect are nowhere near as precise as a mouse and keyboard, making the interface change not as important of an issue on the Microsoft console in terms of ease of navigation. Secondly, Xbox 360 users have no choice in what interface they use – at least if they plan on playing their games online or using any other online services, such as Netflix or Hulu, as the Xbox 360 forces users to have the latest version of the dashboard to connect to the Internet.

Computer users aren’t faced with that issue – if they want, they can stick with a previous version of Windows, much like many users downgraded from Windows Vista to Windows XP.

* * *

While the final versions of Windows 8 and Windows RT obviously aren’t available yet, the current Windows 8 Consumer Preview feels like a Frankenstein-esque mash-up of Metro and Aero. When a user boots up his or her computer, he or she is immediately confronted with the new Metro interface on the Start screen. It’s certainly gorgeous, but most computer users of Windows 8 won’t be spending much time here beyond clicking the Desktop tile to launch into the traditional Windows experience.

Once in the desktop, however, one significant change is apparent: gone are the Start button and Start menu, mainstays of Windows. Instead, users are faced with a clunky interface that forces them to mouse over certain indistinguishable areas of the desktop in order to get to the new charms bar and back to the Start screen. There are no buttons indicating these features exist; instead, users will be given a tutorial showing the new features.

Since you’re reading Neowin, chances are none of this is news to you. Either you have the Windows 8 Consumer Preview installed, or you’ve at least read about how the new operating system works and seen screenshots or videos illustrating the interface. But for the average computer user, using Windows 8 is going to be more a chore than learning experience. Transitioning from a previous Windows operating system to OS X would probably prove to be an easier task for most.

In comparison to the desktop, the Start screen and Metro apps on a computer are, at best, unintuitive. At worst, they’re frustrating and unnecessary.

Certain aspects of the desktop are strangely Metro. The task switcher, boot screen and security screen now all have a Metro design. Leaked screenshots of a recent version of Windows 8 have shown that Microsoft is attempting to create a more Metro look in its ribbon interface as well. But Windows 8 isn’t alone in having strange interface choices – Windows RT has one of its own.

The inclusion of the desktop makes little sense for Windows RT. No applications will work on the ARM-based operating system beyond the file explorer and Microsoft Office, which will come bundled with all copies of Windows RT. Beyond these applications, it seems unlikely that Windows RT users would ever need to enter the desktop. But the desktop isn’t a necessity for Windows RT users. They can simply unpin the tile from the Start screen and go on their merry way. The same can’t be said of the Start screen on Windows 8 – it’s integrated in the operating system, and users have to interact with it.

Windows RT may be largely the same as Windows 8 (with the exception of x86 applications not working on the ARM-based operating system), but there’s a reason it may succeed if Windows 8 fails: the touch input method.

Yes, Windows 8 can also be used on tablets, but there’s little incentive to go the x86-powered route on tablets. Traditional desktop applications will be available, but these applications lack a touch-friendly interface. And as far as gaming goes, most developers won’t spend resources attempting to implement a touch-friendly interface for what will likely be a small audience.

The difference between Windows on a tablet and Windows on a computer is clear: the Start screen and Metro apps were designed with a touch interface in mind. They feature large tiles that aren’t as necessary on a computer, and only the important features are incorporated in applications. In the current Music app preview, for instance, users can’t rip a CD or change the metadata of an MP3 file – it essentially only provides playback and music purchasing capabilities.

Much like the Metro dashboard on the Xbox 360, not all developers are convinced the current Metro interface on the computer is a good thing.

Gabe Newell, co-founder and CEO of Valve, is a former Microsoft employee. But even Newell isn’t sold on Windows 8, if a recent story on Linux gaming site Phoronix is to be believed. According to the story, Newell’s “negativity for Windows 8 and the future of Microsoft was stunning.” Since the majority of Windows 8’s desktop features remain unchanged, it’s reasonable to assume Newell’s negativity is in regards to the Metro interface.

* * *

The problem with Windows 8's Metro interface on computers is that it abandons the core reason Metro exists: to make navigation easier. Metro works on Windows Phone and Windows RT because it gives the exact design needed – a large, touchable interface that provides information that can’t otherwise be displayed with ease. On computers, however, this information isn’t as vital; more information can be displayed in the traditional desktop, and more features are available.

Microsoft needs to be willing to adapt Metro to the platforms it’s used on; right now, it’s not adapting to the Xbox 360 or computer’s navigation style. That doesn’t mean Metro has to be abandoned. As one of our forum members has proven with his Metro skin for Steam, the design language can be incorporated in the standard desktop experience. Microsoft’s also made fantastic Metro desktop applications of its own, including the Zune client software and its upcoming Office release.

The response on our forums indicates a divisive split between whether users adapt to the new Metro interface in Windows 8 or skip this iteration of Microsoft’s popular operating system. While some feel Metro provides an easier experience, others immediately reverted to Windows 7, similar to how Windows Vista users reverted to Windows XP.

It remains to be seen how the general public will react to Windows 8 on the desktop. Microsoft appears to be betting the farm on Windows 8, with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer calling it the company’s “riskiest bet” ever at the Gartner Symposium in 2010.

Whether or not this bet pays off could determine the future of Microsoft’s Windows line and how Metro is adapted to Microsoft-powered platforms.

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I say that the implementation of metro on microsofts platforms is a desperate attempt to promote its newest offerings and showcase whatever is selling, while making our already existing content less important and secondary. Such move imo is pure hypocrisy and falls far from what WP and metro was all about when it was intended for mobile devices only. Forcing this UI and methology on smart users i find is quite patronizing and unnesecary, it should be kept apart from the windows brand and offered ad a different product, no good can come from mutilating a maturing OS experience and reverting to a less capable one. I wish MS good luck and hope it gets back on track soon.

I'm happy with Seven. Tried 8, the chance of me switching to Eight unless MS throws Metro in 8 to bin is slightly less than 0%.

Metro is OK, it just needs some tweaks. Like why the hell are legacy app icons big as a pinky nail? Why is there no volume control in the Music App and why does the music app screw up my Album Art? Just to name a few. We can all agree on these imo.

butilikethecookie said,
Metro is OK, it just needs some tweaks. Like why the hell are legacy app icons big as a pinky nail? Why is there no volume control in the Music App and why does the music app screw up my Album Art? Just to name a few. We can all agree on these imo.

Because .ico standard is fixed.
Because hardware buttons control volume unless you are using classic desktop
can't comment.

No we can't.

butilikethecookie said,
Metro is OK, it just needs some tweaks. Like why the hell are legacy app icons big as a pinky nail? Why is there no volume control in the Music App and why does the music app screw up my Album Art? Just to name a few. We can all agree on these imo.

Because ms is trying to force this whole metro ui on devs and users; because windows 8 favors ipad like hardware instead of mice and keyboard; because they like to **** up with people like you who only care about their album art instead of... Real work? I can only agree with you that windows 8 needs some rweaks and by some i mean like the whole thing must be fixed.

There is another huge problem with Metro on Windows 8 (btw huge metro fan on windows phone).

Now there are 2 internet explorers. The one you love and use in the desktop.
And the one that doesn't have/give access to favorites, doesn't play flash (goodbye youtube).

This will confuse and irritate users aplenty.

What makes me laugh is how Microsoft think we need an "up arrow" in Explorer when the navigation bar already clearly allows you to navigate one or more steps back (or up) as well. Mad!

Neobond said,
What makes me laugh is how Microsoft think we need an "up arrow" in Explorer when the navigation bar already clearly allows you to navigate one or more steps back (or up) as well. Mad!

Yeah, talk about redundant functionality.

Neobond said,
...

It was removed for a time until the userbase revolted.
They tried, and got **** on.
They try again and get **** on.

MS is the company people like to **** on.

deadonthefloor said,

It was removed for a time until the userbase revolted.
They tried, and got **** on.
They try again and get **** on.

MS is the company people like to **** on.

It wasn't removed. The exact same functionality exists in the breadcrumb bar, and the kb shortcut is still the same.

Neobond said,
What makes me laugh is how Microsoft think we need an "up arrow" in Explorer when the navigation bar already clearly allows you to navigate one or more steps back (or up) as well. Mad!

Did you forget how many here complained about its removal?

The OS X environment is aesthetically closer to the traditional Windows desktop environment than Metro is and Metro isn't even directly compatible with legacy Windows apps. However considering that Windows 8 includes a traditional desktop environment as well as Metro that isn't a huge issue. Windows 8 still marks enough of a change compared to the usual Windows increments however, that a Mac is a lot closer to Windows 7 than say 7 was to Vista and superficially more similar in some respects (legacy apps will render OS X a no go without virtualisation in many enterprises any way).

I don't get it. The Xbox works perfectly fine for me. I use my Xbox mostly for movies and music and have no problem with it. The system isn't just about gaming anymore.

AWilliams87 said,
I don't get it. The Xbox works perfectly fine for me. I use my Xbox mostly for movies and music and have no problem with it. The system isn't just about gaming anymore.

The difference is that Xbox is does a few things which the Metro UI works great on but when it comes to a desktop that you need to do many and many things then the Metro UI is a really bad design for that.

I guess at the end of the day we have to live with Metro.... in Win 8 and Windows editions after that.
Same as the Office-ribbon. Everyone complained about and the same people are now loving it.

kiddingguy said,
I guess at the end of the day we have to live with Metro.... in Win 8 and Windows editions after that.
Same as the Office-ribbon. Everyone complained about and the same people are now loving it.

One does not have to put up with Metro. Stay with Windows-7 (or XP for those older machines), or switch to Apple (who will be glad to get the additional business). Maybe, just maybe, Microsoft will realize their big mistake and release Windows-9 for us laptop/desktop users who need a keyboard and mouse.

How can they forget what metro is? When was metro something other than some guidelines?

And microsoft were blaming OTHERS for making phone OSs look like their PC counterparts, really? have they forgotten about every other version of windows phone prior to wp7?

and IMO, it's not about metro at all. those little changes that apple introduced in OSX lion to make it more "ipad like"? including the ones coming in mountain lion... microsoft knows where the market is going, and this time they just dont wanna joke around and they're going all in.

IMO the shortcomings of windows 8 metro is not that it is butt ugly, but the fact that it is NOT an interface meant to be used with a regular mouse. if they used trackpad gestures, I would be all over it.

The Metro OS was design for a phone and not for a big screen desktop computer. That's the mistake that Microsoft face with Windows 8. If the UI is not broken then don't fix it. They should have done, Apple does with the OS. Improve it and enhance it and not change the OS all together.

ACTIONpack said,
The Metro OS was design for a phone and not for a big screen desktop computer. That's the mistake that Microsoft face with Windows 8. If the UI is not broken then don't fix it. They should have done, Apple does with the OS. Improve it and enhance it and not change the OS all together.

Very perceptive. Pity that Microsoft will have relearn some basic business lessons.

It's a simple fix for MS really: Designate Metro OS as "Windows Tablet Edition" & add the best updates within Win 8 to a service pack for Win 7 - Minus the contentious Metro Interface. That way Microsoft future proofs itself by providing for those who wish to use Touchscreen computing a la Metro; & provides value to existing desktop users who wish to remain Power-users both at home & at work.
Unfortunately, Microsoft's future road-map insists they retain the ability to push adverts at you via the tiles on Metro - too valuable a revenue stream for them to ignore. So prepare for a debacle of Windows ME proportions once the full version of Win 8 goes on sale.
The change in UI was never about making Windows more user friendly. Just more money-junkie thinking about how to maximize profit on something we used to pay for just once in the past.

Honestly, I kind of disagree with the whole sentiment here but it was an interesting read and really like thought provoking posts here on Neowin.

Ultimately, my thoughts are:

1. Don't get carried away with what some executive says at Microsoft or Apple or any tech company. Despite their title, when they speak publicly about their product they have their marketing hats on and are going to say whatever at that time to help push their product. It seems like a fav amongst tech news junkies to drag statements from the past and smear the present with it. Steve Jobs was notorious for eating his own words by releasing products that had features that he downplayed in previous press conferences. Nothing new here.

2. Microsoft is actually close to reunifying all their products into something that is consistently themed. The past decade we saw a Microsoft going in every which direction, and the overall marketing was focused. When you see something XBox related you think XBox, not Microsoft. When you see an iPhone or an iPad there is this strong association with Apple. Microsoft needs people to think of the company as a whole more often and not their individual products so much.

Edit: Disclaimer: I haven't used Windows 8 at all but I've liked all the screenshots of it.

Metro as a design philosophy is fine. Unfortunately the current implementation leaves a lot to be desired. The Windows Store is the most obvious such example. It lacks a responsive design layout, which means that it is completely unsuited to high resolution displays - the vast majority of the screen is unused. This is in stark contrast to websites like http://www.pinterest.com which take full advantage of the horizontal and vertical space by using dynamic table layouts.

Even the Metro start screen doesn't make full use of the screen by default. Instead the option to 'Show more tiles' is hidden away under settings. And the current Metro apps are simply terrible when it comes to make uses of the display area - the majority take up less that a third of my display (which is 2560x1600). Even apps like SkyDrive fail to make use of the display area, even when showing previews of images that would great benefit from it. Even where apps do use the entire display area - like Calendar - they do so by greatly padding all the objects/tables. Playing Solitaire on a 30" display is simply horrific.

I expect Metro to mature over time and I envisage some incredibly innovative and compelling apps appearing over the next few years but as it stands - as much as I really like Windows 8 and will be pre-ordering it - I have to say that the current implementation is verging on terrible in a desktop environment. Side-snapped apps are the real exception, as apps like News Republic and XE.com are genuinely compelling and useful.

The main issue with the Xbox 360 Metro Dashboard is navigation, not the ads. Previously, it was easy to grasp how to navigate, you moved up/down to a new category, then left/right to look for what you wanted within that category. I get lost sometimes in the Metro Dashbord and sometimes don't know what item is currently highlighted.

I have no problem with ads as long as they promote the content offered on Xbox Live, and don't get in the way of the content.

The other problem with the Metro Dashboard is that it fails miserably to do what it was supposed to do: display content that matters to me, the user. It wouldn't be so bad if the user could customize what they see first.

There's many more fundamental problems that I'd like to go into, but won't since they have nothing to do with Metro.

I'm sorry I didn't make it too far through this post or any of the comments but we are bashing MS for what everyone has wanted them to do for years. Which is change up the UI? They want to try to tie everything together and that us bad?

Apple is basically doing the same thing, but that is fine?

For the biggest part of the OS level, which is enterprise Metro sucks ass!! So does any part of anything Apple has to offer. IMO Windows 8 is MS's part of trying to get back in the "in crowd"

I'm not bashing them for changing the UI. I'm disagreeing with the implementation they chose to use for Metro on the desktop. What Apple's doing is extremely different, in terms of user interface.

Microsoft's problem is that Windows 7 is a friggin' great operating system. It's design is perfect (for me and many others).

Windows 8 will - at least from my perspective - become the next Windows Vista. People will hate it simply because it is so different, not necessarilby because it is so technically bad (Vista wasn't technically bad, the drivers mostly caused all the problems).

So bring on Windows 9!

You've pretty much covered all my thoughts on it. Metro is a good idea in of itself but has been implemented wrong. The problem is Microsoft have implemented it all in a way that it ends up a mish-mash of largely incompatible and competing interfaces.

Given how Metro was supposedly inspired by web design, it is strange how they've missed one of the recent key trends on the web - responsive design. That is, the UI shifts and moves to accommodate the user's device - NOT force the user to use an interface that is useless for their form factor. It would be more difficult on an operating system, but far from impossible.

Fourjays said,
You've pretty much covered all my thoughts on it. Metro is a good idea in of itself but has been implemented wrong. The problem is Microsoft have implemented it all in a way that it ends up a mish-mash of largely incompatible and competing interfaces.


Given how Metro was supposedly inspired by web design, it is strange how they've missed one of the recent key trends on the web - responsive design. That is, the UI shifts and moves to accommodate the user's device - NOT force the user to use an interface that is useless for their form factor. It would be more difficult on an operating system, but far from impossible.

Well said sire

Fourjays said,
You've pretty much covered all my thoughts on it. Metro is a good idea in of itself but has been implemented wrong. The problem is Microsoft have implemented it all in a way that it ends up a mish-mash of largely incompatible and competing interfaces.

Given how Metro was supposedly inspired by web design, it is strange how they've missed one of the recent key trends on the web - responsive design. That is, the UI shifts and moves to accommodate the user's device - NOT force the user to use an interface that is useless for their form factor. It would be more difficult on an operating system, but far from impossible.

Inspired by Web Design? Really? The flow and information aspect maybe, but the base elements of Metro go back to work when the Internet didn't even allow custom fonts on page.

I agree Win8 is likely to be a mixed beast, those who embrace the tablet and windows phone experiences will probably love metro on the desktop and the metro ui as a whole.

The important point to note is that Win8 and this iteration of metro is not microsoft's end game, the overall objective is to redesign the OS to be compatible with technology which they see playing a big part in how we interact with our computers going forward, that being; Kinect, speech recognition and touch as well as providing a unified Windows experience across all their platforms.

Now, no one is saying the KB or mouse is going anywhere, but other technologies are on the rise and to accommodate this and change the consumer perception of the desktop/the operating system takes years and MS is aware of that, this version of metro is just a stepping stone.

The end goals I imagine are:
- Unified design across desktop, tablet, phone, xbox
- Unified user experience (different from design, eg one example your windows id carries all your data across all the different platforms)
- An operating system and design language flexible enough to accommodate new technologies going forward

A UI expert talking about usability and citing credible usability studies and other UI experts...

Oh wait, a gamer, with no facts, referencing an article by another gamer.

The fun part is the other 'gamer' that is trashing the XBox Metro UI is a phone 'gamer' and an avid Apple Fan. If you chronicle his writing (attempts), it ranges from how the iPhone is awesome to how XBox sucks to XBox is ok but Microsoft sucks articles now that he is working for an XBox gaming site.

Weird that this other 'expert' would have a negative perception of XBox's UI changes and Metro.

If you are going to rip Metro apart, you might want to at least start with your own work, and reference UI experts or credible studies of how Metro is flawed.

You might also NOT want to focus on a preview release with supposition of the final product with negative guided open ended questions. Anyone that has any writing credibility does not use these tactics. For example, I would never write, "I don't know if the author of this article is a serial killer, so we will have to wait and see what the future reveals."

I would call this article purposely ablative, but that would be too generous, as it is rather reductive overall.

I agree with you..

I find myself a bit lost now with windows 7 because I try to use the "hotcorners" to get to the home screen then I realize that I need to click the X to close what Im doing to open the next thing.. I have a pretty huge productivity boost from using windows 8 on my 11.6 inch laptop..

thenetavenger said,
reference UI experts or credible studies of how Metro is flawed.

Citations from Jeff Johnson's GUI Bloopers 2.0 (ISBN:9780123706430).

(START SCREEN)
"it is usually a bad idea for software to move controls and data around on the screen. Such attempts to be helpful and efficient DISORIENT AND FRUSTRATE USERS more than they help. They interfere with users' perception of the screen as being under their own control" (p. 44)

"When software changes a display to show the effect of a user's actions, it should try to minimize what it changes." (p.44)

"How to annoy users: rearrange their data. Users are disoriented more when a display rearranges itself very quickly." (p. 278)

(Metro vs Classic desktop),
"If a new implementation of a function is introduced, but the OLD implementation is still present, users are faced with two competing implementations of the same function" (p. 247)

Why I quoted this guy:

Jeff Johnson is President and Principal Consultant at UI Wizards, Inc., a product usability consulting firm that offers UI design, usability reviews, usability testing, and training. He has worked in the field of Human-Computer Interaction since 1978.

After earning B.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Yale and Stanford Universities, he worked as a user-interface designer and implementer, engineer manager, usability tester, and researcher at Cromemco, Xerox, US West, Hewlett-Packard Labs, and Sun Microsystems. He has published numerous articles and book chapters on a variety of topics in Human-Computer Interaction and the impact of technology on society. He frequently gives talks and tutorials at conferences and companies on usability and user-interface design.

I would like to think that this man has a few more years worth of experience in HCI (1978) than Sinofsky (1989)

Edited by letmesee, May 6 2012, 12:08pm :

For the record, I would like to point out that this is ONE man's views and experience on HCI. You can probably find a dozen other books on user interaction designs, and all of them with dissenting and opposing views.

The reason I'm more inclined to accept Jeff's views is simply because he predicted user frustration and disorientation, and that's exactly what's happening with many (not all) users and Win8CP.

Many Metro/Start screen proponents can't understand why some people "hate" Metro/Start screen, or complain about having to use both Metro and Classic desktop at the same time.

Well, Jeff's book provides an answer/explanation. It may not be the answer that some of you are looking for, but it's still an answer/explanation by someone with more authority on the subject than you and I.

Many books on interaction design simply read, "You should do THIS". Jeff's book, on the other hand, reads "Someone did THIS before. THIS was how users reacted. THIS was how they remedied the problem".

I believe studying past failures is every bit as important as studying past successes.

My 2c.

letmesee said,

Citations from Jeff Johnson's GUI Bloopers 2.0 (ISBN:9780123706430).

(START SCREEN)
"it is usually a bad idea for software to move controls and data around on the screen. Such attempts to be helpful and efficient DISORIENT AND FRUSTRATE USERS more than they help. They interfere with users' perception of the screen as being under their own control" (p. 44)

"When software changes a display to show the effect of a user's actions, it should try to minimize what it changes." (p.44)

"How to annoy users: rearrange their data. Users are disoriented more when a display rearranges itself very quickly." (p. 278)

(Metro vs Classic desktop),
"If a new implementation of a function is introduced, but the OLD implementation is still present, users are faced with two competing implementations of the same function" (p. 247)

Why I quoted this guy:

Jeff Johnson is President and Principal Consultant at UI Wizards, Inc., a product usability consulting firm that offers UI design, usability reviews, usability testing, and training. He has worked in the field of Human-Computer Interaction since 1978.

After earning B.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Yale and Stanford Universities, he worked as a user-interface designer and implementer, engineer manager, usability tester, and researcher at Cromemco, Xerox, US West, Hewlett-Packard Labs, and Sun Microsystems. He has published numerous articles and book chapters on a variety of topics in Human-Computer Interaction and the impact of technology on society. He frequently gives talks and tutorials at conferences and companies on usability and user-interface design.

I would like to think that this man has a few more years worth of experience in HCI (1978) than Sinofsky (1989)

At least this has a bit of credibility, although my resume would trump the source you provide.

You keep getting 'caught' on a comparison to Sinofsky. This is strange, as he is not a UI expert, he is a software engineer.

The other problem with this argument, is Sinofsky is just the current lead for Windows since 2009, and Metro has been a part of Microsoft literally going back to the early 1980s, with its main research done in the 1990s.

If you want to define Metro to Sinofsky, you are losing your argument before you start. As there are MANY people at Microsoft that have worked on UI design and the concepts of Metro, including the WPF concepts that introduced intelligent flow and other Metro essential binding concepts.

-------------------------------

Or we can just play your game, and let's put up your cited reference expert against Bill Buxton of Microsoft Research.

He was doing UI concepts a LONG time ago, and is attributed as the creator of mutlitouch computer interfaces based on his work with musical instruments that often are by nature polyphonic, like a piano.

He is behind Microsoft research and where Metro concepts originated and were studied, and was the 'lead' of the research team at the TIME they were being studied and expanded.

If you want to look for a UI expert, Bill Buxton is the biggest name in the world based on his past work and his current work as well.

This is why trying to find an expert alone to 'trump' the creators of Metro will always lose, as you really can't beat Bill Buxton - especially when you combine him and others that have worked on the concept of Metro over the years.


You also are citing an 'expert' that is not saying that Metro is 'bad', but is just recanting basic Usability and UI concepts that are even in a 1980s draft of the CUI for Windows and OS/2.

Metro is in fact the opposite of your argument in that instead of obscuring or moving items and data it is one of the best flowing and live aggregators of data and services for interaction.


Metro is just combining a lot of concepst from over the years into a 'definable' UI set and introductory set of APIs that will continue to grow. Getting the baseline is place is the most important step and why Windows 8 is rather 'timid' as usability shift could change more advanced features in the future.

If one were to look back at the history of 'released' Metro based UI projects going back to the mid 90s and the Streets and Encarta software for an example, or the more recent Windows Media Center, ZuneHD, Surface, WP7, XBox Dashboard; the evolution and the 'structuring' of the concepts have become definable and very solid in Windows 8 Metro.

This 'definitions' created by Metro has become more robust and 'clear' in each iteration, and has been molded into a definable set of APIs as a baseline that create well built standard.

Even looking back to XBox Dashboard that was referenced in this article and in Bradley's article it is obvious thatt he XBox 'Metro' definition is not complete, as it was being designed for Kinect based off of Metro concepts at a time when Windows 8 Metro wasn't even publicly presentable and was far from the standards of Windows 8 and WinRT that evolved in just the past few months, let alone a year ago.

So talking about how Metro sucks and referencing a product that is NOT Windows 8 Metro is a failure of the author.

Even looking at what is considered a good earlier Metro implementation on WP7's, it itself is not as complete or as well defined as Windows 8's Metro standards. Notice as Apollo looks more like Windows 8 Metro and has a more comprehensive set of UI concepts and a better baseline standard to work from for developers.


Remember that 'you' are just one voice and not the public or an expert, and neither are most of the people taking time to write about Metro or even taking the time to try to understand it.

(I normally wouldn't even call myself an expert, and have won awards in accessibility and usability software UI design over the past 20 years. With one project that is a part of the operations of the ISS. -Which is why I said my resume would trump the person you referenced.)

As for hit articles about Windows 8 and Metro, this isn't new, and it has been done time and time again on good projects, going back to when people started writing about computers and software.

Microsoft also tends to get more of negative reaction to upcoming products that are later loved by the same people for many of the same reasons they didn't understand or complained about. (In contrast Apple announces something and the world cheers for the new product. Good market and PR are different from good software design and usability.)

Also remember that WP7's version of Metro was hated and 'beaten' by tech site authors and tech magazines and bloggers and forum comment sections like this one and by people like yourself.

Yet WP7, when given to actual 'regular' users, it is popular and has something the world never thought could happen by having a higher customer satisfaction rating than the iPhone.

WP7 and its 'earlier' Metro also have won numerous UI and Design awards for usability in the past couple year.


If you look back through even the Neowin Archive, you will find that just one year ago or before it was released, WP7 was demonized and most people commenting thought it sucked.

Yet in the past couple of months the same people along with the majority of responses about WP7 are the opposite, especially from people that have had the chance to use it daily outside the 'tech bubble'. (Windows 8 Consumer Preview is a 'Preview, so no it has not been used outside the tech bubble.)

Look for Windows 8 to follow the same track pattern, as WP7 was hated as much or more than Win8 Metro, and now it is the new UI 'darling' of the world.

Great rebuttal and great points. However, I'm surprised by how much you've read into my comment.

Bringing in Sinofsky's name was a mistake on my part. However, that shouldn't be the basis to invalidate everything that I've said.

Jeff Johnson is ONE author on HCI. So is Bill Buxton. I've not read any of his works, but I would be interested in reading about his research into user adoption, so I can compare his findings with Jeff's.

Thanks for bringing his name to my attention.

For everyone else who are interested:
http://billbuxton.com/papers.html

letmesee said,
....

Bill Buxton feels the wait cursor in windows is bad interaction design and gleefully refers to it as the spinning toilet bowl of death (in vista onward).

Metro is too bloated and needs to be minimal. They need to remove the ability to have anything more than one tile on the screen at any one time.

And that tile should only ever load up Facebook.

The only point to ever buy a computer is to to view Facebook. If you disagree you're wrong. Accept Sinofsky's true vision.

You are so correct. Microsoft, with its Metro UI for Windows-8 has totally abandoned the laptop/desktop marketplace in an attempt to pander to the smartphone/tablet marketplace. Windows-7 will have a very long live, and will further encourage XP users to stick with what they are using. Enterprise and serious users with laptops/desktops have better things to do than have to "wrestle" with a cutesy and unsuitable UI.

How have they abandoned the laptop/desktop marketplace? You can still run the exact software on Windows 7 as it's on Windows 8. In fact, they have made the Windows 8 desktop to be better than 7. I can finally span my taskbar across two screens WITHOUT third-party software. And I can also choose to make each taskbar to act independently from each other. I mean, if MS was actually abandoning it, then why add these features? Why add SkyDrive integration into Windows Explorer? Why add any of the desktop enhancements? And at worst, you can install ViStart.

Enterprises don't generally upgrade to the latest OS regardless if it's a hit or a miss. It's the same thing when Vista came out, when 7 came out, and now 8. Many, many companies are still using XP. The *smart* thing for them to do is to upgrade to Windows 7 and not Windows 8.

For the desktop Metro is going to suck. I can't stand it. Maybe if over let's say 60% of the market for PCs were the all in ones with "touch then maybe it would make more sense but currently it just doesnt. They really need to add the option of using the start bar again which according to them they will not do no matter what.

This is sadly too true. I want Windows 8 to succeed so badly, but i'm not a blind fanboy. While there are tons of great ideas in it (from a developer's perspective, we're finally getting consistency in apps -Metro- and also the Windows Store, which is going to bring some order to the insanely huge world of Windows software), the execution seems to be actually killing it. When I think about how Windows 8 will be received by the common user, I see a very dark future in the Windows world, pretty much like 2007. People is everywhere complaining about the touch-like interface, and you can't stop that word-of-mouth bad publicity. And they are also right. I try so hard to believe what we've seen already was just beta software, but you can clearly see (particularly in the B8 blog) that all the big decisions are done and there's no coming back.
While I love the new features of Windows 8 and is amazing to see all their products getting connected in a single place finally, that's far not enough to make me want to install it on my classic desktop and laptops, because it is practically unusable on the traditional mouse/keyboard setup (which is not necessarily getting replaced by touch input, particularly in my field/job).
While Windows 8 is the definitely the best OS for tablets in particular (there's some stuff that doesn't make any sense for me at all, like the inclusion of the classic desktop to access advanced settings, Office, and the Windows Explorer, which is quite unacceptable), it is not for desktops. There's really no way a single OS paradigm can be used on multiple devices, which have different uses too.
There's a simple way of solving this I guess, make a simple, incremental Lion-like update for Windows 7 to get the Windows Store and be able to run windowed or fullscreen Metro apps on our classic desktops. And market Windows RT for touch based pcs and tablets only.

Just make the desktop the default view again and allow us to run applications from it via the good old start menu. Then everybody will be happy. It's not rocket science Microsoft!

simplezz said,
Just make the desktop the default view again and allow us to run applications from it via the good old start menu. Then everybody will be happy. It's not rocket science Microsoft!


You already have that option, it's called Windows 7. Get used to the fact that Windows 8 is not just an evolution of Windows 7, it's an entirely new platform... just as the iPhone was when it came out.


“Phones kind of look like PCs, and the phone is not a PC,” Joe Belfiore, Windows Phone program director at Microsoft, said when Windows Phone was announced at Mobile World Congress 2010

That explains why I can't do real multitasking with Windows Phone then...

simplezz said,

That explains why I can't do real multitasking with Windows Phone then...

Why, it has real multi-tasking...

Even the original pre-Mango had real multi-tasking but it was limited to OS features and Microsoft Apps.

Seriously, the point Joe made then is just as true today. A PC interface on a Phone SUCKS. It doesn't mean an interface cannot be created to serve both though. This type of exclusionary thinking is where people fall into false logical conclusions.

All applications in win8 load faster than in win7, I really don't see this being a failure at all, it might not be all that you want it to be right now but it will improve over time. I remember everyone hating vista but remember win7 came from vista and I see how much everyone loves 7. Win8 might get the same treatment as vista by some but even if it does from a sales point of view vista was not a fail and a much better os came from the time and effort that was put into vista.

Sometimes I don't get the point of these articles because trying to evaluate Windows 8 without the apps you want to use is kind of pointless to me. It's like using an iPad with only the apps it launched with back in 2008. You'd get a bit bored after a while.

dagamer34 said,
Sometimes I don't get the point of these articles because trying to evaluate Windows 8 without the apps you want to use is kind of pointless to me. It's like using an iPad with only the apps it launched with back in 2008. You'd get a bit bored after a while.

Sadly the people writing these articles, specifically, thought the original iPhone before 3rd party Apps was just AWESOME, even though it lacked a lot of features found on free phones, let alone smartphones.

No matter HOW much people complain or try to rip apart Metro, the only 'comparison' they can make is with Windows 7. As they know the Metro VERSUS arguments when used with OS X, iOS, Android tend to fall flat, as Windows 8 and Metro will win every time.

The other thing, if people hate Metro, don't freaking use it. The desktop is there, and you can get to everything just like you can today, without flipping back to Metro. It is not rocket science, and if people are 'so brilliant' that they 'know Metro sucks' they should be able to figure out how to avoid Metro in Windows 8.

If they can't figure out how to use Windows 8 and avoid Metro, they probably shouldn't complain about it, as they don't know enough to make a credible argument.

One thing i just cant get my grip around is why it has to take so long for apps to load. I mean, opening IE and going to a weather website is a matter of seconds to load. Loading up a app (on anything, \windows or not) takes wayyyy too long and needs to be improved... drastically.

auziez said,
One thing i just cant get my grip around is why it has to take so long for apps to load. I mean, opening IE and going to a weather website is a matter of seconds to load. Loading up a app (on anything, \windows or not) takes wayyyy too long and needs to be improved... drastically.

Erm, because the build of Windows 8 your using only just came out of alpha? The apps in question are still in alpha? Microsoft haven't done the majority of their code optimisation yet? The app developer hasn't paid much attention to performance yet?

Take your pick.

I see a lot of discussion in this article about how unfinished applications don't have things they need in them yet, or the assumption that Windows 8's interface was only designed for tablets. It wasn't, it was designed with tablets and desktop in mind - feature usage patterns that are comfortable to both.

I also don't think Metro's simplification and Aero's more indepth features competing is bad. There's room in everyone's life for simple things, and there are times in everyone's lives when they need to get their hands dirty too.

Anyway, what's this now, the fourth metro doom & gloom article here? (Lord knows if it is, but it certainly feels like). I need to make my own video sometime showing how it works in my setup at least... see if that can't change a few people's minds on what it could be. I'm also pretty adamant that the applications make the Metro experience (always have), and they're still not here yet. The start screen was designed to be advantageous with a bunch of detailed, connected Metro applications tailored to the user, and such things aren't going to appear until the store is open for general submission :3.

~Johnny said,
I see a lot of discussion in this article about how unfinished applications don't have things they need in them yet, or the assumption that Windows 8's interface was only designed for tablets. It wasn't, it was designed with tablets and desktop in mind - feature usage patterns that are comfortable to both.

I also don't think Metro's simplification and Aero's more indepth features competing is bad. There's room in everyone's life for simple things, and there are times in everyone's lives when they need to get their hands dirty too.

Anyway, what's this now, the fourth metro doom & gloom article here? (Lord knows if it is, but it certainly feels like). I need to make my own video sometime showing how it works in my setup at least... see if that can't change a few people's minds on what it could be. I'm also pretty adamant that the applications make the Metro experience (always have), and they're still not here yet. The start screen was designed to be advantageous with a bunch of detailed, connected Metro applications tailored to the user, and such things aren't going to appear until the store is open for general submission :3.


The only app I discussed was the music app preview.

It's not really a doom and gloom article, it's just me saying I don't think Metro works on Windows in the current format. You can't make the same operating system for a tablet and a desktop -- it just doesn't work well. Personally, I tried using the Start screen and Metro apps for the first week when the preview came out, and it was almost impossible to do what I wanted with any semblance of ease.

Like I said, I think Metro has a place in Windows for desktops. But I don't think this is it. And I think the consumer reaction to Windows 8 will determine how Microsoft goes about Metro -- if it decides to change appearances to fit the platforms its on better, I mean.

Anthony Tosie said,
Personally, I tried using the Start screen and Metro apps for the first week when the preview came out, and it was almost impossible to do what I wanted with any semblance of ease.

Like I said, I think Metro has a place in Windows for desktops. But I don't think this is it

Fair enough, but I think this is the reason people can't judge it yet. What we see in the preview doesn't properly represent the vision and experience Microsoft is trying to bring us. Their vision isn't them trying to bring us a Metro start screen with a handful of bare-bones, partly broken, mouse-phobic applications with no more choice out there.

It's unfortunate that that's what the Consumer preview looks like on the surface, but it should be easy to see that isn't what they're aiming for on a general release. (And I do infact,use none of the included Metro apps on the count of them being useless - the only ones I use are the ones I've created)

The only thing that won't change too much (baring visual flourishes most likely) is the start screen, and realistically that's easy enough to get in and out of when you need - there's not much complexity too it, given it's just a structured grid. And even then for a desktop, if you really want that's the only thing you have too touch if you want too- and it does have it's own advantages (and disadvantages in others books).

Though I think when the marketplace opens for general submission, you'll actually start seeing some worthwhile desktop suitable Metro apps. I have a couple lined up myself (and they're not built with HTML & JS like Microsoft's insane suggestions are trying to brainwash developers into doing ) - and most Windows developers are desktop users. A lot of them will come over cautiously to look over at Metro (and already have), and they already know how to create great desktop experiences, and they can bring that with them into Metro.


As an aside - I don't think Metro was made to make navigation easier - there's certainly plenty of other ways Microsoft have done that. I think Metro was made more in mind to surface content better - or to place more emphasis on the actual content. And if you look the direction of the 360, it's certainly surfacing more content at the forefront... though just not the content we want it too, but the content that makes Microsoft more money (Though frankly the rest of the Xbox's navigation is butchered by the fact they had to bake in full Kinect support, meaning a gracious waste of screen space and plenty of diving through levels)

Edited by ~Johnny, May 6 2012, 12:04am :

Anthony Tosie said,
Personally, I tried using the Start screen and Metro apps for the first week when the preview came out, and it was almost impossible to do what I wanted with any semblance of ease.

That's just the point, and forgive me for sounding like a broken record here.... you say couldn't do anything you wanted in metro? Well, I'm sorry... but no **** There are no useful apps to do anything that most people want to do yet. Saying you couldn't do what you wanted to do in metro is just a disingenuous statement at this point in time.

Nobody knows (despite some claiming otherwise) how good or bad metro on a Windows 8 desktop PC will be until they've actually used it in a real setting, with useful and quality apps.

IMO, after a certain number of good apps get put in the Store, there will really not be much need to experience the 'jarring' flip between Metro & Desktop on Windows 8 - most consumers will have all the apps they need in Metro, and so they'll stay in Metro. Now, for powerusers/gamers/developers/etc. of course there is a bit of a problem

But the thing is: Microsoft don't see it that way. They don't see it as adapting Metro to different inputs. They see as adapting it to the "three screens", as Ballmer put it in a partner conference, last year. They have one operating system (Windows Phone, Windows and Xbox) for each screen (small screens, medium screens and TV screens). Like it or not, that's the direction they're going in, and that's why it's such a big risk.

It's exciting, though, to see whether or not it's going to take off.

I've been a Windows beta tester for years, always anxious and thrilled about the current development. I've always even had to have the latest leaked copies also. Now comes Windows 8, I have had zero interest in it, I think this is a move for wrong direction and I just don't get it.

It would be brilliant if my TV and monitors would be touchscreen.

I wan't something professional for my PC's, not this.

"It's certainly gorgeous, but most computer users of Windows 8 won't be spending much time here beyond clicking the Desktop tile to launch into the traditional Windows experience."
This is my biggest problem with this article. The author is confusing how they use a computer with how the majority use a computer.
People on Neowin may spend most of their time on the desktop, but for the average consumer they will log on, check their emails, browse the web, maybe see the weather, play a quick game, message some friends. They will do this without ever leaving the "metro interface", and thats why Windows 8 will be perfect for them.

the better twin said,
"It's certainly gorgeous, but most computer users of Windows 8 won't be spending much time here beyond clicking the Desktop tile to launch into the traditional Windows experience."
This is my biggest problem with this article. The author is confusing how they use a computer with how the majority use a computer.


People on Neowin may spend most of their time on the desktop, but for the average consumer they will log on, check their emails, browse the web, maybe see the weather, play a quick game, message some friends. They will do this without ever leaving the "metro interface", and thats why Windows 8 will be perfect for them.

I agree, but they shouldn't force this metro stuff on everyone... I think you should choose what's on your metro screen/ and without ads if you choose ( so far haven't been able to find a way ) I believe they are trying to be more like apple , I've heard apples are easier to use, and navigate Like for instance , the dock you can put your most used programs there, you can find them easily. I'm not trying to start a apple vs pc war btw , I like both equally I don't think there's one that's superior.

SirNicholasIV said,

I agree, but they shouldn't force this metro stuff on everyone... I think you should choose what's on your metro screen/ and without ads if you choose ( so far haven't been able to find a way ) I believe they are trying to be more like apple , I've heard apples are easier to use, and navigate Like for instance , the dock you can put your most used programs there, you can find them easily. I'm not trying to start a apple vs pc war btw , I like both equally I don't think there's one that's superior.


Nobody is forced into anything. Windows 8 is primarily a metro applications platform. Nobody is forcing you to buy it. But that said, even if you do get it with a new computer, nobody is forcing you to remain in metro. The desktop is a click away.

TCLN Ryster said,

Nobody is forced into anything. Windows 8 is primarily a metro applications platform. Nobody is forcing you to buy it. But that said, even if you do get it with a new computer, nobody is forcing you to remain in metro. The desktop is a click away.

They force that screen to come up before the desktop ... and force you to go into it to use certain things.

SirNicholasIV said,
They force that screen to come up before the desktop ...

There are tweaks to go straight to desktop, don't you know that?

SirNicholasIV said,
and force you to go into it to use certain things.

Where it makes sense based on hardware being coordinated through the windows runtime, and often with fewer steps, don't you know that?

deadonthefloor said,

There are tweaks to go straight to desktop, don't you know that?

Where it makes sense based on hardware being coordinated through the windows runtime, and often with fewer steps, don't you know that?

don't you know that's stupid? Not everyone is computer illiterate

BumbleBritches57 said,
This is Microsoft, you're surprised by the hypocrisy and lack of vision?

I think noone that followed them long enough is surprised…

BumbleBritches57 said,
This is Microsoft, you're surprised by the hypocrisy and lack of vision?
I don't know about you, but I can certainly see their vision. Their vision has always been "windows everywhere" and "3 screens and a cloud" (phone, computer, television = 3 screens) sharing a similar (but not exact) interface. I would say they do have a vision. Whether you agree with it is a different question.

People forget that this will drive touch screen monitor prices down. also kenict for windows will be a big part of this. 22" touch screen monitors are about $270.

ShiZZa said,
People forget that this will drive touch screen monitor prices down. also kenict for windows will be a big part of this. 22" touch screen monitors are about $270.

I think the fail of metro goes far beyond the price of touchscreen monitors though it would be nice to see the price come down.

ShiZZa said,
People forget that this will drive touch screen monitor prices down. also kenict for windows will be a big part of this. 22" touch screen monitors are about $270.

Well it's not just about prices, it's about availability of suitable products too. Try and find a 24" monitor from a known brand that has multi-touch as well as 3D capability (120 hZ) for example... they just don't exist, certainly not at a price point that I wouldn't need a mortgage for.

I am confused and the funny thing is that I don't get confused that easily!

You made some good points in the article but the noisy ones just proved too much for the good ones. and the noisy ones mostly came from the impressions of a Windows 8 "beta".....so yeah as I said, it's confusing!

Mohitster said,
I am confused and the funny thing is that I don't get confused that easily!

You made some good points in the article but the noisy ones just proved too much for the good ones. and the noisy ones mostly came from the impressions of a Windows 8 "beta".....so yeah as I said, it's confusing!


Can you clarify? If I'm phrasing something poorly, I'll edit it.

Anthony Tosie said,

Can you clarify? If I'm phrasing something poorly, I'll edit it.

1) You fail to realize Xbox is about ENTERTAINMENT, not just games anymore.

2) "users are faced with a clunky interface that forces them to mouse over certain indistinguishable areas of the desktop..."

How is that clunky, when you do the EXACT SAME THING in Windows right now to go to the Start Menu? Bottom left corner. Clunky is an absolute lie. Once the user sees the tutorial for the first time, they'll know forever.


3) "more information can be displayed in the traditional desktop, and more features are available."

FLAT OUT LIE. You seriously need to educate yourself. My desktop is a big field of shortcuts and files, that show me ZERO information. In Windows 8, I see my newest emails, my next calendar appointment, how many stars I got in Cut The Rope, etc.

Overall, this was a terrible article written by someone who knows very little about the topic at hand.

andrewbares said,

FLAT OUT LIE. You seriously need to educate yourself. My desktop is a big field of shortcuts and files, that show me ZERO information. In Windows 8, I see my newest emails, my next calendar appointment, how many stars I got in Cut The Rope, etc.

Overall, this was a terrible article written by someone who knows very little about the topic at hand.

^ This + 1

andrewbares said,

FLAT OUT LIE. You seriously need to educate yourself. My desktop is a big field of shortcuts and files, that show me ZERO information. In Windows 8, I see my newest emails, my next calendar appointment, how many stars I got in Cut The Rope, etc.

Overall, this was a terrible article written by someone who knows very little about the topic at hand.

Check WM 6.XXX: with that OS you could check not one but multiple appointments even on the lockscreen.

andrewbares said,

1) You fail to realize Xbox is about ENTERTAINMENT, not just games anymore.

2) "users are faced with a clunky interface that forces them to mouse over certain indistinguishable areas of the desktop..."

How is that clunky, when you do the EXACT SAME THING in Windows right now to go to the Start Menu? Bottom left corner. Clunky is an absolute lie. Once the user sees the tutorial for the first time, they'll know forever.


3) "more information can be displayed in the traditional desktop, and more features are available."

FLAT OUT LIE. You seriously need to educate yourself. My desktop is a big field of shortcuts and files, that show me ZERO information. In Windows 8, I see my newest emails, my next calendar appointment, how many stars I got in Cut The Rope, etc.

Overall, this was a terrible article written by someone who knows very little about the topic at hand.

lol , dude I see my newest emails in 2 seconds when I load my desktop.... And calendar appointments , who's online in any IM service I choose.... Don't you know how to automatically open with msconfig? It's the same thing.... lol why not just do that?

andrewbares said,

1) You fail to realize Xbox is about ENTERTAINMENT, not just games anymore.

2) "users are faced with a clunky interface that forces them to mouse over certain indistinguishable areas of the desktop..."

How is that clunky, when you do the EXACT SAME THING in Windows right now to go to the Start Menu? Bottom left corner. Clunky is an absolute lie. Once the user sees the tutorial for the first time, they'll know forever.


3) "more information can be displayed in the traditional desktop, and more features are available."

FLAT OUT LIE. You seriously need to educate yourself. My desktop is a big field of shortcuts and files, that show me ZERO information. In Windows 8, I see my newest emails, my next calendar appointment, how many stars I got in Cut The Rope, etc.

Overall, this was a terrible article written by someone who knows very little about the topic at hand.

lol , dude I see my newest emails in 2 seconds when I load my desktop.... And calendar appointments , who's online in any IM service I choose.... Don't you know how to automatically open with msconfig? It's the same thing.... lol why not just do that?

SirNicholasIV said,

lol , dude I see my newest emails in 2 seconds when I load my desktop.... And calendar appointments , who's online in any IM service I choose.... Don't you know how to automatically open with msconfig? It's the same thing.... lol why not just do that?

The average consumer certainly knows how to use msconfig…. Lol not.

Anyways, we were talking about the stock desktop vs stock Win8 main screen.

[quote=andrewbares said,]

The average consumer certainly knows how to use msconfig…. Lol not.

Anyways, we were talking about the stock desktop vs stock Win8 main screen.[/quote]

I didn't say the average consumer did ? You said: [quote FLAT OUT LIE. You seriously need to educate yourself. My desktop is a big field of shortcuts and files, that show me ZERO information. In Windows 8, I see my newest emails, my next calendar appointment, how many stars I got in Cut The Rope, etc.[/quote]

So I responded by saying YOU can use msconfig. You said I use not the average user. Therefore average user wasn't mentioned.

SirNicholasIV said,
.... Don't you know how to automatically open with msconfig? It's the same thing.... lol why not just do that?

^^ THIS attitude is the impetus for Metro. Does your grandma know how to just do that?
NO
Will you teach her
NO
Why?

I'd rather use a system where I don't HAVE to learn how it was built from the ground up.

If I wanted that, Linux would be my daily driver, not Win8 CP.
PS MSCONFIG isn't meant for that.
You should really have a shortcut in your startup folder, don't you know that?

deadonthefloor said,

^^ THIS attitude is the impetus for Metro. Does your grandma know how to just do that?
NO
Will you teach her
NO
Why?

I'd rather use a system where I don't HAVE to learn how it was built from the ground up.

If I wanted that, Linux would be my daily driver, not Win8 CP.
PS MSCONFIG isn't meant for that.
You should really have a shortcut in your startup folder, don't you know that?

Actually the answer is YES , and YES And learning from the ground up is now learning a simple word to put in? lol Why use a shorcut in start up folder msconfig does the same thing. Don't you know that? Just my preference .... If your going to whine how hard windows is because you have to "learn" to type in a word like msconfig go buy a mac , windows isn't for you

Ummmm not sure what to think here.....
On a personal level I love metro on both WP and my laptop, yes it was/is a different beast but I feel its a far simpler interface, let me finish.

I'm a sys admin, I run my own company supporting small businesses and I love gaming, both on my PC and xBox, I have a Nokia Lumia 800, I am ginger, I'm a little chubby, I consider myself a geek and am blessed with what I see as a good sense of humour. None of that is meant to mean anything, nothing at all - I just put it here, because I could.

*******************************************************

Anyway, back to the plot..........

xBox dashboard - MS are obviously trying to push the box to be more of a 360 (all round) entertainment device, the integration fo TV services, music, movies, 3rd party products (twitter, facebook, lovefilm, Netflix etc). The game devs are OBVIOUSLY going to be putting ****y comments out there as the best selling game console is doing other things now.

I personally (Anytime I have a preference I'll try to make sure I say 'personally') think the dash is miles better, you get to access everything on the same level, it makes it very easy to navigate to all sections (hell we have games, movies, tv, music, apps etc.) so I don't understand the points being made regarding it being more complicated, its just not. but that's my opinion.

The PC side of things......Well then

Right so I see the point of view of some folks that the tablet UX is taking over on windows, more to the point that its a negative. And sorry, but I seriously don't agree.
I see this as a needed evolution, absolutely needed for the simple reason that computing devices are becoming more and more becoming 'appliances' and the age old PC mentality simply will not do going forward.

Now don't get me wrong, or MS wrong, the desktop is still there for current apps - they can still be run and will still be run and can do so simply, the start screen 'live tiles' are there for alls apps, its the start menu after all.

I find most of the time I spend in W8 is on the desktop, and in this 'mode' I simply find no difference 99% of the time when working - I have all my tools pinned to the task bar and most have jump lists, easy. Now you may ask as a lover of W8 start screen why do I spend so much time on the desktop - SIMPLE - I DIDNT SPEND TOO MUCH TIME ON W7 WITH THE START MENU OPEN! (sorry for shouting, but its a point I feel many don't seem to grasp).

The other reason for using the desktop is most of my apps are desktop apps, so once launched (from taskbar or start screen) I'm using that app.
In terms of the metro usage front, its lacking app wise - but this is obviously expected in a best of not just an OS but of a marketplace / app store. Agreed the Windows metro apps need a lot more polish as they are crap right now, but this are the 'fingers and thumbs' of this new OS, not the core and certainly wont be 'shining' until final release in my mind.

I feel the simplicity of metro apps will appeal to a lot of people, and eventually when this makes it through after a few iterations, will get the support of in house IT departments simply due to the sandboxing of apps - this will have massive security implications (a simple scenario is a company of 100 people, all running windows 8, all running the needed apps of today fine on desktop via start screen (with a bit of standard 'facebook changed its layout' moaning) - now from a sys admin point of view all users are standard users, they cant install or update none managed apps (without systems center this includes flash, reader, java etc) so its an issue, not to mention if someone wants a simple image editor, or html editor, or what ever the f**k you can think of. Now imagine being able, on a group policy level, to restrict or more to the point 'control' metro apps deployment. Since metro apps can only be installed via the store, and control of the store will possibly be extended into systems center / and group policy (I think the GP option will be yes - access or no - no access though) and you have a new option for users to add features to their PCs without decreasing security.

Anyway I'm waffling now, Ive had a few Vodkas and its late, just saying my piece and I may well be wrong, I just like the direction, not simply because of the visuals but because of the knowledge that its needed and for MS to stay relevant they need this massive shift - or else apple will swallow up the world (this isn't anti apple, its anti 'one system or company in control' - as MS showed in the 90's this is a bad thing, they have become an entirely different and nicer beast since the competition upped its game.


duddit2 said,
Ummmm not sure what to think here.....
On a personal level I love metro on both WP and my laptop, yes it was/is a different beast but I feel its a far simpler interface, let me finish.

I'm a sys admin, I run my own company supporting small businesses and I love gaming, both on my PC and xBox, I have a Nokia Lumia 800, I am ginger, I'm a little chubby, I consider myself a geek and am blessed with what I see as a good sense of humour. None of that is meant to mean anything, nothing at all - I just put it here, because I could.

*******************************************************

Anyway, back to the plot..........

xBox dashboard - MS are obviously trying to push the box to be more of a 360 (all round) entertainment device, the integration fo TV services, music, movies, 3rd party products (twitter, facebook, lovefilm, Netflix etc). The game devs are OBVIOUSLY going to be putting ****y comments out there as the best selling game console is doing other things now.

I personally (Anytime I have a preference I'll try to make sure I say 'personally') think the dash is miles better, you get to access everything on the same level, it makes it very easy to navigate to all sections (hell we have games, movies, tv, music, apps etc.) so I don't understand the points being made regarding it being more complicated, its just not. but that's my opinion.

The PC side of things......Well then

Right so I see the point of view of some folks that the tablet UX is taking over on windows, more to the point that its a negative. And sorry, but I seriously don't agree.
I see this as a needed evolution, absolutely needed for the simple reason that computing devices are becoming more and more becoming 'appliances' and the age old PC mentality simply will not do going forward.

Now don't get me wrong, or MS wrong, the desktop is still there for current apps - they can still be run and will still be run and can do so simply, the start screen 'live tiles' are there for alls apps, its the start menu after all.

I find most of the time I spend in W8 is on the desktop, and in this 'mode' I simply find no difference 99% of the time when working - I have all my tools pinned to the task bar and most have jump lists, easy. Now you may ask as a lover of W8 start screen why do I spend so much time on the desktop - SIMPLE - I DIDNT SPEND TOO MUCH TIME ON W7 WITH THE START MENU OPEN! (sorry for shouting, but its a point I feel many don't seem to grasp).

The other reason for using the desktop is most of my apps are desktop apps, so once launched (from taskbar or start screen) I'm using that app.
In terms of the metro usage front, its lacking app wise - but this is obviously expected in a best of not just an OS but of a marketplace / app store. Agreed the Windows metro apps need a lot more polish as they are crap right now, but this are the 'fingers and thumbs' of this new OS, not the core and certainly wont be 'shining' until final release in my mind.

I feel the simplicity of metro apps will appeal to a lot of people, and eventually when this makes it through after a few iterations, will get the support of in house IT departments simply due to the sandboxing of apps - this will have massive security implications (a simple scenario is a company of 100 people, all running windows 8, all running the needed apps of today fine on desktop via start screen (with a bit of standard 'facebook changed its layout' moaning) - now from a sys admin point of view all users are standard users, they cant install or update none managed apps (without systems center this includes flash, reader, java etc) so its an issue, not to mention if someone wants a simple image editor, or html editor, or what ever the f**k you can think of. Now imagine being able, on a group policy level, to restrict or more to the point 'control' metro apps deployment. Since metro apps can only be installed via the store, and control of the store will possibly be extended into systems center / and group policy (I think the GP option will be yes - access or no - no access though) and you have a new option for users to add features to their PCs without decreasing security.

Anyway I'm waffling now, Ive had a few Vodkas and its late, just saying my piece and I may well be wrong, I just like the direction, not simply because of the visuals but because of the knowledge that its needed and for MS to stay relevant they need this massive shift - or else apple will swallow up the world (this isn't anti apple, its anti 'one system or company in control' - as MS showed in the 90's this is a bad thing, they have become an entirely different and nicer beast since the competition upped its game.


HERE HERE!
(i also wanted people to scan this twice, even if written by a ginger )

I personally don't think Metro, at least on the 360 is that bad. I'm not sure if MS needs to refocus its efforts to make sure the user experience is smoother but sensationalist articles like this aren't really going to contribute one way or another.

Metro is not a tablet interface, nor was it designed as a tablet interface. (Sorry, I'm just tired of hearing that)

They started moving towards the Metro paradigm on PCs first, with Activity Centers in Neptune (Windows XP prototype) and Media Center in XP. What you see on WP7 is just an evolution of that. Even on the first Zune models, *there were no touch screens*. So how could Metro be a tablet interface?

It *is* geared towards using your PC in situations other than as a workstation. But Microsoft isn't taking the Desktop out of Windows are they? They've repeatedly said that the Desktop will be the mouse-and-keyboard interface and they have no plans to drop it. However, there are other ways people can use their PC. As a Media Center device, for example, the way Metro was originally developed. And launching programs is not exactly an intensive activity that you need windows for. However, the Start Screen is a good replacement for Desktop Gadgets, and is really not much different than Dashboard on OSX, is it?

So again, Metro is not inherently for tablets.

brianshapiro said,
Metro is not a tablet interface, nor was it designed as a tablet interface. (Sorry, I'm just tired of hearing that)

I'd like to have some of what you're smoking.

brianshapiro said,
Metro is not a tablet interface, nor was it designed as a tablet interface. (Sorry, I'm just tired of hearing that)

I'm sorry to tell you that every Windows video that MS has shown is with a Tablet...

I'm not sure if I misspoke somewhere, but I don't think I wrote that Metro is a tablet interface. I believe I wrote that Microsoft is trying to put a tablet interface in Windows 8, which is what the Metro interface that's in Windows 8 is.

You may be confusing the Metro design language with the Windows 8 Metro interface.

brianshapiro said,
However, there are other ways people can use their PC. As a Media Center device, for example, the way Metro was originally developed.

Oh, I see now why they had to remove MC from Win8 than… Makes perfect sense… /s Next time you come up with a ridiculous example, make sure it's one that actually works…

They are not removing MC from Windows 8. What they did was offer it as add-on for more money. The MC add-on also enables DVD playback. Essentially, they are removing licensing fees from having MC on every single computer when only a very, very small percentage use it.

KevinN206 said,
The MC add-on also enables DVD playback.

Only in Media Center, which makes the inclusion of the codec in the pack pretty useless…

MFH said,

Oh, I see now why they had to remove MC from Win8 than… Makes perfect sense… /s Next time you come up with a ridiculous example, make sure it's one that actually works…

Uhm, yeah the example works fine. WMC and the 10' Experience was the precursor to what eventually became the Metro Design Language which is the foundation for the Windows 8 Metro UI that sits atop the Windows Runtime.

And, being that the concepts were for a remote control and not touch OR keyboard and mouse, it makes you look the fool.

The reason mediacenter is removed is due to motorola mobility lawsuits.

I dont know what the fuzz is all about. After using DP and CP since release... i will never be able to use 7 again. And i hated metro too. But it is more than fine now.
U will get used. If not. keep supporting old tech! or go the linux way

iguanas said,
I dont know what the fuzz is all about. After using DP and CP since release... i will never be able to use 7 again.

Same,

The Powershell V3 that comes installed in Windows 8 has taught me more faster than V1 or V2.
As a result I'm growing comfortable with the technologies to use it in my corporate environments for automation where building applications doesn't make sense.

I agree , its like combining nuclear electric and mechanical forces following the symmetry , but even Einstein couldn't do that Phone != Tablet != PC , PC has mouse and keyboard for you to make navigation easy , Tablet has larger screen , but still not inputs other than touch , hence they can take benefit from a touch friendly UI.

They can fix it easily , just allow Desktop users to disable star screen , the other affects of Metro on Desktop Mode , are quite subtle and less annoying. Further Win8 is snappier and loads quickly , and is even more secure and looks cuter IMO (RC screenies) , disabling Start Screen or opening Desktop Mode first (right after bootup) would bring a lot of difference to Desktop users

bogas04 said,

They can fix it easily , just allow Desktop users to disable star screen , the other affects of Metro on Desktop Mode , are quite subtle and less annoying. Further Win8 is snappier and loads quickly , and is even more secure and looks cuter IMO (RC screenies) , disabling Start Screen or opening Desktop Mode first (right after bootup) would bring a lot of difference to Desktop users

Why disable the Start Screen? That would be the dumbest idea ever. It displays MORE content than your precious Start Menu, plus displays information at the same time!

Clicking an item from the Start Screen is also far faster, since the hit range is a lot larger. Plus, the ancient folders inside the Start Menu are awful and need to die out. Start Screen is simply better, even if you simply use it to launch normal desktop apps.

andrewbares said,

Why disable the Start Screen? That would be the dumbest idea ever. It displays MORE content than your precious Start Menu, plus displays information at the same time!

Clicking an item from the Start Screen is also far faster, since the hit range is a lot larger. Plus, the ancient folders inside the Start Menu are awful and need to die out. Start Screen is simply better, even if you simply use it to launch normal desktop apps.

Its just that i dont like leaving all my apps on Desktop mode and see something different to open new apps. Though it doesn't bother me much coz i always used start just for searching , but umm still i don't think we need any more ease to navigate on Desktops. For Tablets? Yes.
That's why iDevices have this home button coz that's where u would land after you are done with an app , but on Windows 8 , you can land to your Desktop , or you can land to Metro Start Screen , which confuses the user and its like running 2 parallel OSs.

andrewbares said,

Why disable the Start Screen? That would be the dumbest idea ever. It displays MORE content than your precious Start Menu, plus displays information at the same time!

Clicking an item from the Start Screen is also far faster, since the hit range is a lot larger. Plus, the ancient folders inside the Start Menu are awful and need to die out. Start Screen is simply better, even if you simply use it to launch normal desktop apps.

Yeah, because I love to see the transition between the two . . .

As for speed, they both have Search. I can see the weather outside my Window. I get popup notifications for email in my tray, or on my phone, or in my IM program. I don't need an app pulling all that in. That's what I have my phone for. I use my computer to play games and do work. The kind of work I do is definitely hindered by Metro because I have multiple apps open at the same time on multiple monitors. It's doable in Metro, but not nearly as fluid.

I don't think they're forgotten what it's all about, I just think they'll need the traditional two releases to get it right on any given platform. On the desktop, that means Windows 9 will have it quite nicely worked out, and with the Xbox, this fall's release will likely fix a few things

The problem, I guess, is how they promoted Metro internally. It was the baby of the Zune and WP teams and then it was disseminated to the rest of the company, and it will take a little bit for the rest to figure out what Metro means exactly

Sraf said,
....

Yes.
People call Windows 8 a failure and all metro things today; only to praise MS for the fast followups that will be windows 9, etc. even though all they will do is work out the kinks.

Good article, well thought out. I hope MS reads this stuff. The dashboard is really only steps away from being amazing, but yes the ads and stuff get in the way. I would love to see the focus groups, if there are any.

jimmyfal said,
Good article, well thought out. I hope MS reads this stuff. The dashboard is really only steps away from being amazing, but yes the ads and stuff get in the way. I would love to see the focus groups, if there are any.

I don't think most people are bothered by ads on the 360 dashboard to the extent some people here make it seem. I don't really, and often the ads are for more content that I'd be interested in getting, like new arcade titles.

jimmyfal said,
Good article, well thought out. I hope MS reads this stuff. The dashboard is really only steps away from being amazing, but yes the ads and stuff get in the way. I would love to see the focus groups, if there are any.

Ads??? ads don't bother me on my Xbox. Enjoying the device with my daughter....and we haven't got kinect yet!! hehe

jimmyfal said,
Good article, well thought out. I hope MS reads this stuff. The dashboard is really only steps away from being amazing, but yes the ads and stuff get in the way. I would love to see the focus groups, if there are any.

I love how the 'ads' as you call them are actually DEEP links to content consumption.
When I see dynamic content changing, it tells me there is more out there than what I have installed.

I bet a large number of gamers will watch the upcoming E3 presentation simply because it will appear in the main dynamic content tile when it can be streamed without the unnecessary navigation that was required before.

Phones kind of look like PCs, and the phone is not a PC.

And then they made PC looking like phone. Indeed, ironic.

Phouchg said,

And then they made PC looking like phone. Indeed, ironic.

Therein is the fundamental problem that Microsoft has failed to recognize with its Windows-8 Metro interface. Phones are NOT computers! After all Windows-8 looks like Phone-8 on steroids.

Phouchg said,

And then they made PC looking like phone. Indeed, ironic.

Sinofsky got it wrong, needs to be replaced by Belfiore… At least Belfiore seems to know that one UI doesn't fit all kinds of devices…

TsarNikky said,

Therein is the fundamental problem that Microsoft has failed to recognize with its Windows-8 Metro interface. Phones are NOT computers! After all Windows-8 looks like Phone-8 on steroids.

I think YOU have it wrong. PC sales are stagnating in the consumer electronics market because they've always been seen as "Too Hard".

Windows 8 removes the visual complexity unless you actually NEED your old desktop, then it's there for you.

So you have it backward.
You're hanging on to constructs that only make PCs fun to use for techies, and a P.I.T.A. for joe public.

This is the first step toward a world where devices exist, and people just intuitively use them.

Consumers do not have to know the inner workings of their electronics products, until the PC.
There is an inherent amount knowledge to required to be proficient and extend the use beyond browsing the youtubes and checking the email. This is why many users of PCs today do not do more, because they lack the very foundation of knowledge required to extend.

Metro fixes that. Windows 8 Fixes that.
It's the best of both worlds, old and new.

Also PHones are not computers is just lame. The reason Android is so popular is because it IS a computer and it's treated like a computer.
The ONLY way to get maximum use of Android is to know how a computer works.
Anyone else out there lacking this basic fundamental knowledge will only see a fraction of the platform's capabilities.

deadonthefloor said,

...

So you'd have technology further dumbed down (complexity removed) rather than educating people about the basics of its operation. That's not fully agreeable but it is understandable.

Though I will state firmly that complexity is NOT removed. It is hidden, and not enough thoroughly, either. This complexity will resurface as soon as problems occur (and they will always occur, increasingly more, too - as more layers of abstraction are added, there's more room for errors).
And then users, previously sometimes able to repair things themselves or ask a person they know to do it for them, perhaps show them how to avoid/remedy in future, will have to look for qualified assistance at service centers having put big holes in their wallet and always taking much of valuable time.

Microsoft needs to reform Metro to make it more desktop friendly. It's usable, but I find myself on the desktop a vast majority of the time.

XX55XX said,
It's usable, but I find myself on the desktop a vast majority of the time.

That's obviously by design.

XX55XX said,
Microsoft needs to reform Metro to make it more desktop friendly. It's usable, but I find myself on the desktop a vast majority of the time.

It'd change once you get more powerful metro apps, which right now we don't have yet.

XX55XX said,
Microsoft needs to reform Metro to make it more desktop friendly. It's usable, but I find myself on the desktop a vast majority of the time.

I wonder why that is. Oh, wait, it's cause you're on a tech blog and aren't the average consumer.

Your mom and pop will spend most of their time, if not all, in Metro. Us Neowin users will spend lots of time in the desktop since we do real things like Photoshop, Visual Studio, etc...

GP007 said,

It'd change once you get more powerful metro apps, which right now we don't have yet.

I am still doubtful, although with an open mind, about Metro "Full screen windows" paradigm applied to the desktop; granted at least there is the possibility to close apps still W8 gives me the feeling of an unfinished product.
Yes I do know that is in Beta and things will change but I believe that we will see, and be able to judge, a "complete" product with W9 at the earliest.

XX55XX said,
Microsoft needs to reform Metro to make it more desktop friendly. It's usable, but I find myself on the desktop a vast majority of the time.

No ****. why wouldn't you be spending the majority of your time at the desktop right now? That's because there are no useful and quality apps to give you a reason to stay in the metro interface. The success or failure of the metro environment will 100% depend on the number and variety of quality apps written for it.

Oh, and Andrewbares above hit the nail on the head about there being multiple audiences for Windows 8. Once there are Metro apps out that can do everything your average home user needs to do, they won't be spending much time at all on the desktop.

Fritzly said,
... a "complete" product with W9 at the earliest.

Yes, and that's because Consumers spending <or not> will dictate the future direction for Windows 9.
Metro is here, and if it gains traction with the average consumer as Microsoft predict, then further refinements will be made.

The Desktop hasn't been a 'complete product' until Windows 7.
There were lots of experiments that didn't work.
Some came bundled with the OS, some were Add-ons.

Someone must need some money from the 5 million views this is going to get

No but seriously, there are already like 5 huge topics in the forums with pretty much the same info. The vast majority of replies in here won't be from people who actually read what you said but just people going:

"LOL METRO SUCKS" "WINDOWS 8 WILL FAIL" "MICROSOFT IS DUMB" and then on the opposite side would be "METRO IS THE BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD"

And then of course you'll have a certain person who will go on about how the "removed features" in Win8 is affecting is life and how we should all go back to XP.

[quote=-Razorfold said,And then of course you'll have a certain person who will go on about how the "removed features" in Win8 is affecting is life and how we should all go back to XP.[/quote]
I completely agree. Those on Windows 8/Windows 7/Windows Vista saying we should go back to XP should be banned.

hes right about the xbox dashboard, it's horrible how they sort everything with it, way too many squares are dedicated to ads.

jeffT said,
hes right about the xbox dashboard, it's horrible how they sort everything with it, way too many squares are dedicated to ads.

True, advertisements are annoying.

HOWEVER, this author failed to realize something huge... Xbox isn't only about games, it's about ENTERTAINMENT.

Microsoft knowingly has shifted the focus away from games. The interface reflects that.

jeffT said,
hes right about the xbox dashboard, it's horrible how they sort everything with it, way too many squares are dedicated to ads.

Ads are fine with me....I'm enjoying my Xbox 360..... with my daughter.

Order_66 said,
Windows 8 will certainly be a monumental failure unless they make some deep and drastic changes.

"will", or "I think will".. Don't be so arrogant.

Xerax said,

"will", or "I think will".. Don't be so arrogant.

"will certainly be", the writing is on the wall regardless if you choose to read it or not.

Order_66 said,

"will certainly be", the writing is on the wall regardless if you choose to read it or not.

on the future wall that never lies? i always enjoy reading that too

mulligan2k said,

on the future wall that never lies? i always enjoy reading that too

neowin is full of prophets when it comes to tech.

Xerax said,

"will", or "I think will".. Don't be so arrogant.

You can assume that most things people write on the internet are opinions.

Order_66 said,
Windows 8 will certainly be a monumental failure unless they make some deep and drastic changes.

True Story. Windows 8 is indeed an abomination..

Order_66 said,
Windows 8 will certainly be a monumental failure unless they make some deep and drastic changes.

Especially since Windows-8 has, apparently, abandoned the laptop/desktop users needing keyboards and a mouse. (Consider a tablet with an external keyboard to be a two-piece laptop.)

andrewbares said,

You can assume that most things people write on the internet are opinions.

Opinions are like buttholes, everyone has one and uses it everyday.

It goes beyond the internet I'm afraid.

Xerax said,

"will", or "I think will".. Don't be so arrogant.

Don't be so arrogant -> I think you're so arrogant.

It's simple really. The Windows Phone team said to the Windows team: "Give our product some love, popularity and promotion because it isn't doing well commercially". The Windows team kindly obliged.

xpclient said,
It's simple really. The Windows Phone team said to the Windows team: "Give our product some love, popularity and promotion because it isn't doing well commercially". The Windows team kindly obliged.

Blame AT&T.

funkydude said,

Care to elaborate for non-US readers?

They only showcase apple's offerings and gave WP very little attention... specially in my area.

remixedcat said,

Blame AT&T.

if I do that , a friend of mine who works support at AT&T won't be happy. yeah she didn't like it when my brother went to Verizon and I went to Straight Talk Better coverage.

SoyoS said,
You're sadly forgetting one thing that makes this article almost mute. Windows 8 isn't finished.

I'm not forgetting that. I even said as much in the first sentence of the third section.

We're probably not going to see any massive changes in the Release Preview or final versions in terms of how Metro is used on the Start screen and along those lines. Most of what's getting updated (based on leaked screens) seems to be refining Aero and the ribbon to fit in a little better.

Anthony Tosie said,

I'm not forgetting that. I even said as much in the first sentence of the third section.

We're probably not going to see any massive changes in the Release Preview or final versions in terms of how Metro is used on the Start screen and along those lines. Most of what's getting updated (based on leaked screens) seems to be refining Aero and the ribbon to fit in a little better.


Yeah but it will have changes, it's not finished.

SoyoS said,

Yeah but it will have changes, it's not finished.

Not enough to to contradict this article so stop trolling. :-)

SoyoS said,
You're sadly forgetting one thing that makes this article almost mute. Windows 8 isn't finished.

So, in the around 6 months to RTM Microsoft will fix every single short coming? Doubtful... Metro on Windows is at LEAST a two release (4+ year) effort that isn't going to be complete when Windows 8 ships.

We might not see much change in the metro start screen [it's already nicely polished, but many of the nice mouse/keyboard features are non-obvious, but awesome once you find/learn of them], but we will see huge changes in the metro apps. I'd expect change in the Windows Store too - it seems like a placeholder. All the metro apps are, in fact, placeholders.

Neobond said,
Did you even read it?

Yeah, and the article was terribly wrong in a lot of points.

One huge omission is the fact that there are MORE links in the Start Screen than your precious Start Menu can hold, even though everything is bigger. Thus, Start Screen makes things FASTER than before. And that's a fact.

SoyoS said,
You're sadly forgetting one thing that makes this article almost mute. Windows 8 isn't finished.

it's a bit late now to be using that excuse. i was hopeful too at one point that this is the case, but when they're almost done there's not THAT much they can change anymore.

Frazell Thomas said,

So, in the around 6 months to RTM Microsoft will fix every single short coming? Doubtful... Metro on Windows is at LEAST a two release (4+ year) effort that isn't going to be complete when Windows 8 ships.

No, it's just that to create an article talking about MS's failures off a product not even released yet is kind of like "Hey that drawing sucks", "but its not even finished yet wtf bro".

andrewbares said,

Thus, Start Screen makes things FASTER than before. And that's a fact.

It might be your opinion but there are lots of people who would disagree so no, it is not a fact, it is an opinion.

andrewbares said,

Yeah, and the article was terribly wrong in a lot of points.

One huge omission is the fact that there are MORE links in the Start Screen than your precious Start Menu can hold, even though everything is bigger. Thus, Start Screen makes things FASTER than before. And that's a fact.

I don't want "more links". I can use the start menu and click search. If I want my email, I'll open it. I know what the weather is because I have windows and can look outside. It's not any faster then Win7. If I want something, I click Start and search. Same for the Metro desktop. Some things it's actually harder to get to. Device Manager, for instance.

andrewbares said,

Yeah, and the article was terribly wrong in a lot of points.

One huge omission is the fact that there are MORE links in the Start Screen than your precious Start Menu can hold, even though everything is bigger. Thus, Start Screen makes things FASTER than before. And that's a fact.

Well, I'm sorry the article was not terribly wrong about anything as I could see. That stupid Start screen doesn't make anything faster on a desktop PC. You're confusing facts with your experience and opinion.

andrewbares said,

Yeah, and the article was terribly wrong in a lot of points.

One huge omission is the fact that there are MORE links in the Start Screen than your precious Start Menu can hold, even though everything is bigger. Thus, Start Screen makes things FASTER than before. And that's a fact.

No it does not make things faster and better for mouse users like me. So it is not a fact and a very subjective issue...

SoyoS said,
You're sadly forgetting one thing that makes this article almost mute. Windows 8 isn't finished.

As I have reminded everyone for the past few months, Windows 8 was all but finished last summer.

What you are using now are just previews to get people ready for it.

You will see NO changes between now and this summer's RTM other than bug fixes and minor cosmetic tweaks...period.

SoyoS said,
You're sadly forgetting one thing that makes this article almost mute. Windows 8 isn't finished.
Not like Microsoft will be making big changes at this time already... I expect it to be pretty much the same already.

psreloaded said,

No it does not make things faster and better for mouse users like me. So it is not a fact and a very subjective issue...

If you knew anything about research on how easy it is to click a button onscreen, you would know that the Start Screen is in fact faster, since there are larger click hit areas.

The time it takes for you to click a button depend on the distance the button is away from your mouse, and the size of the button. Since everything is oversized in the Start Screen, it's easier to get to them, even though the distances are slightly larger.

andrewbares said,

One huge omission is the fact that there are MORE links in the Start Screen than your precious Start Menu can hold, even though everything is bigger.

You just don't get it. This is about task dedicated UIs! Microsoft themselves "invented" Metro because Smartphones looked to much like PCs. So what are they doing now? They a putting a UI that was developed for a smartphone on PCs and a gaming console!
This ridiculous idea of one size fits it all was proven wrong ages ago, yet Microsoft is trying to do exactly that with Windows 8!

Neobond said,
Did you even read it?

I don't think he did zzzzz Only thing this will be okay for is other geeks. but normal people are going to dump it in horror. everyone will end up on apple and I'd hate that. ubuntu used to be a force till they too went a bit on the metro side of things and I haven't touched that in ages...

SoyoS said,
You're sadly forgetting one thing that makes this article almost mute. Windows 8 isn't finished.

Noticeable changes to the UI guidelines in a Release Preview (RC equivalent)? You must be kidding. It would be the first in Microsoft's history. Even Windows XP with the Watercolor theme had it replaced with Luna before that.

andrewbares said,

Yeah, and the article was terribly wrong in a lot of points.

One huge omission is the fact that there are MORE links in the Start Screen than your precious Start Menu can hold, even though everything is bigger. Thus, Start Screen makes things FASTER than before. And that's a fact.

What about the use case where the user is referring to an open app whilst remembering what they intend to type (then forgetting due to the context switch - it's a well-recognised phenomenon that people will often forget what they are doing when they leave a room - this seems a similar situation)? That's one case where it would be slower - if the user is then forced to switch back in order to remember.

It probably is faster on average in the point and click case - not so sure about the Windows key search method. It also makes getting to immediately useful information like unread mail or current RSS updates dramatically faster and more logical than the status quo of opening a browser or app.

Factor in the re-learning of automatic behaviours and I suspect you will see it being slower for a lot of experienced users to begin with. I've always vastly preferred the ribbon interface in Office to the older menu style, but I'm also probably the first generation to only seriously use Office in ribbon style professionally and have never really encountered the menus. My suspicion is that the ribbon is good for novice users and superior to its predecessors - but that is often outweighed if you have a lot invested in your existing skill set. My suspicion is that Metro will prove similar in this regard.

andrewbares said,

If you knew anything about research on how easy it is to click a button onscreen, you would know that the Start Screen is in fact faster, since there are larger click hit areas.

The time it takes for you to click a button depend on the distance the button is away from your mouse, and the size of the button. Since everything is oversized in the Start Screen, it's easier to get to them, even though the distances are slightly larger.

You are using your preference and opinion and trying to pass it off as fact.
which is quicker, pressing the Win key, typing email and then enter
or
moving mouse to start button, clicking, moving mouse to email and clicking...

it's all about user preference. If you prefer clicking you might think it's faster but it is NOT fact.