back to article Design guru: Windows 8 is 'a monster' and 'a tortured soul'

US usability guru Jakob Nielsen has rubbished "disappointing" Windows 8, savaging the Microsoft OS's signature Live Tiles and its complicated gestures. "Windows 8 encompasses two UI styles within one product," he said in a post on his useit website. "Windows 8 on mobile devices and tablets is akin to Dr Jekyll: a tortured soul …

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  1. Select * From Handle
    Trollface

    .....

    "Microsoft's Live Tiles have "backfired" with "hyper-energised" tiles that have far too much going on, according to Nielsen."

    Fanboi alert.

    1. fishman
      Joke

      Re: .....

      Everyone is missing the important point. The live tiles use more CPU power. Mor CPU power means more electricity consumed. More electricity consumed means more carbon emissions. More carbon emissions means higher temperatures. That means:

      Windows 8 will turn the earth into a burning cinder.

      1. dipique

        Re: .....

        I hope you're being sarcastic. On the off-chance that you're not, allow me to educate you a little about how CPUs work.

        A CPU clocked at 2 Ghz (or any speed) will always use the same amount of power. Unused processing cycles go into something called the "Idle" process. A CPU can save power in one of two ways: shut off different components (like an integrated video component) or change the clock speed to reduce the voltage requirements.

        Modern CPUs can change the clock speed (and hence the required voltage) on the fly--this is particularly important on laptops, where minimum CPU speeds might be 1GHz or less, and might go up to around 3Ghz.

        So for live tiles, since disabling components is off the table (tiles don't require any secondary components to help), the question is: can the laptop manage updating tiles at the minimum clock speed/voltage requirement? The answer is yes, and easily. A computer will never (or at least rarely) increase its clock speed just to handle live tile updating.

        The upshot is... the earth may be burned to a cinder, but Windows 8 won't have anything to do with it. In fact, given how much it shortens the extremely power-intensive boot and shut-down processes, it might put off that day a little.

        Dan

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @dipique

          A CPU clocked at 2 Ghz (or any speed) will always use the same amount of power. Unused processing cycles go into something called the "Idle" process.

          And what this "Idle process" does is issue a halt/sleep instruction (HLT on x86) which basically shuts the CPU down until it receives an interrupt, thus reducing drastically its power consumption (and heat production too). Contrary to what you claim, even a CPU with a fixed clock speed will have its power consumption that varies wildly depending on its actual load.

          Please get your facts straight before "educating" people with inaccurate information.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @dipique

            Thank you AC @ 21:23, a big +1 from me.

            I presume that dipique had not considered why it is that CPU's loaded with work get hotter, or why the power rails sag a little when the processor is busy, or how SPA or DPA can be used to mount attacks, or why the lights dim when the kettle is switched on....or perhaps more eloquently, that he had not engaged his brain before opening his mouth.

            Oh well: Watts will be, will be...

          2. The Alpha Klutz
            Thumb Up

            Re: cpu power consumption

            even a Z80 system will stop the CPU clock when its not needed...

        2. Patrick R
          FAIL

          Re: ....."allow me to educate you"

          about what the "Joke Alert" icon means ?

        3. IrkedOne
          Facepalm

          Re: .....

          Actually, when the OS is idle, it puts the CPU into a wait state so effectively the CPU is in a deep C state and not actually doing anything. So if you have lots of busy tiles being animated, the CPU has to wake up from a deep C state (activated by a timer interrupt), do some work, and then drop back to a deep C state again. So if you consider all the context switches and GPU activity (wake up, render, go to sleep) required to antimate tiles you do get reduction in battery life compared to a purely idle state with no animation.

        4. stanimir

          Re: Dan/dipique

          1st) A CPU has millions of transistor that do not "work" (no electrons at their gates) all at the same time and all with the same instruction(s).

          2nd) While the CPU idle it goes in some sleep states (C-States). Usually a few different ones exist and in those states the CPU consumes different amount of power however also it takes more time to wake up. For instance having 2 threads 'communicate' within the same process with sleep (say 50ms) in between the messages would result in significantly higher latency compared to no sleep. C states can be disabled and that's usually done for low-latency application, plus the obligatory busy wait.

        5. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

          Re: .....

          "A CPU clocked at 2 Ghz (or any speed) will always use the same amount of power"

          No. Just no. Others have already said this, but I have a practical counter-example.

          Back in the day, I had a Win9x machine running the pre-BOINC SETI client. The machine, for complicated reasons mostly linked to dirty electricity supplies, was on a UPS. The difference between "SETI is computing" and "SETI is not computing because it is waiting for a dial-up connection to get more work" was, according to the UPS monitoring software, equal to about 16 watts on a 950MHz AMD Duron.

          1. AndrueC Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: .....

            > No. Just no. Others have already said this, but I have a practical counter-example.

            Damn, you beat me to it by an hour. In my case I was just being anal about power consumption but yeah - we found the same thing. I confess at the time to being a bit surprised actually. It was a bit of a revelation to realise that computing consumed power.

        6. AndrueC Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          Re: .....

          > On the off-chance that you're not, allow me to educate you a little about how CPUs work

          No, let me. Measure the power consumption of a CPU that's doing work and one that isn't. Ten years ago I did exactly that and found that running BOINC on my server was costing me 20p a day in electricity because the box consumed 100w more every hour.

          But you can also fire up a laptop. Leave it sat at the desktop - it'll be silent and fairly cool. Now kick off an HD video. Or a game. Mostly likely after half a minute the fan will come on. Then it'll start to get hot.

          > Unused processing cycles go into something called the "Idle" process

          The idle 'process' is just a HALT instruction. It's questionable if you can even call it a 'process'. It would be more accurate to call it a label that a task manager can use for when the CPU is doing nothing. I'm not sure in this day and age how much CPU updating a 'tile' takes but I suppose it depends on the tile. For sure the machine would use less power if it didn't do it.

          Now whether the difference would be enough to cause or offset global warming (assuming we believe in GW to start with) is another matter. But what I can say with certainty that disabling tile updates would extend your battery life.

        7. Charles Manning

          We're looking to hire a new EE

          dipique, please don't bother applying.

        8. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

          Re: dipique

          You remind me of those people who freak out the first time they use a task manager when they notice "idle process" is "using up" all their CPU time.

          1. Goat Jam
            WTF?

            Idle Process is stealing my cycles

            "You remind me of those people who freak out the first time they use a task manager when they notice "idle process" is "using up" all their CPU time."

            Had a colleague come in one monday morning in an exasperated state complaining that he'd spent a sizeable part of the weekend trying to fix his computer for just that problem.

            1. Nigel 11
              Coat

              Re: Idle Process is stealing my cycles

              Let me guess, he went out and bought a much faster system, and discovered that the idle process was stealing even more of his time?

        9. Ian Johnston Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          Re: .....

          Great. Now explain why the CPU temperature rises on the PC I am using when I give it a job to do. Fixed clock speed, by the way.

      2. yossarianuk

        Re: .....

        > Windows 8 will turn the earth into a burning cinder.

        Only if idiots are stupid enough to feed the Redmond patent troll.

        I wouldn't bother we're already *forced* to give them money as tax payers.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: .....

      It's a pile of crap, but very innovative crap -- crap in new and unexpected ways and dimensions.

      And that's good if you've read the Woz article on ElReg.

    3. Bob Vistakin
      Linux

      Re: .....

      Fanboi alert?

      The sales figures are starting to arrive, perhaps that will cheer them up: http://techland.time.com/2012/11/19/windows-8-the-seven-roads-not-taken/

      1. zen1

        @ Bob Vistakin

        OK being forced at gunpoint to buy this crap, doesn't constitute legitimate sales. When people are leaping over sale clerks and service desks and companies are poising their IT departments to deploy, then I'll believe their sales forecasts.

        Until otherwise, it's just another pile of steaming crap like Windows CE,ME,NT, & Vista.

    4. LDS Silver badge

      I guess it took it right

      As a long time Windows user who never used a Mac or iOS device, I guess it took it right. Tile could be a good thing if they don't start to look like ads on a web page - flashing useless informations continuosly.

      Moreover images too often convey an ambiguos message compared to text. A newspaper tiles should have headlines, not photos or videos. A mail tile should tell you how many unread messages *for each* configured account. Actual MS interfaces (and the new website) looks like a childrens' book - large images, little text. Did the MS Teletubbies group designed Windows 8?

    5. Jean-Luc Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      @select * from Clue

      http://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Windows-8-Pro-Upgrade/product-reviews/B008H3SW4I/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

      3/5 star avg on amazon does not a good reception make. Interesting that many seem to object specifically to Metro.

      Perhaps all fanbois, eh?

      Personally I rather like Nielsen's views. Advocates stuff too dour & simple sometimes, but many websites have way too many things going on. Seeing that translated to a desktop is sad.

      Hope ms gets a clue because I'll be on Win8 one o these days, unwillingly so.

    6. Select * From Handle
      Devil

      Re: .....

      45 down votes, Troll complete! :D

      1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: Troll complete

        Getting lots of upvote is pleasing. But really pissing people off is an art form to be savoured. I salute you, sir.

  2. Jim Willsher
    Holmes

    What's new?

    So a design guru has come forward and stated what we already knew; when Windows 8 was designed Microsoft forgot all about the desktop/laptop users. I'm sure Wndows 8 will be great one day, when "Windows 8 Desktop Edition" is released. :dreams:

    1. AJ MacLeod

      Re: What's new?

      I think he's also saying that they even botched it for tablet users too... Frankly I don't care enough about tablets to have bothered trying a "Surface" device (just who is coming up with these stupid product names at MS anyway?) so I only know for sure that he's right about the desktop disaster.

      1. Jim Willsher

        Re: What's new?

        I'm just glad Dell are still offering Win7, as we manage small companies who are too small to benefit from VL software; everything is OEM-based. I dread the day when the first Win8 machine gets installed, hopefully we can live on Win 8, stall, then go Win 9.

        Win 8 is the new Vista. No wait, it's worse.

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What's new?

            "It is easier to transition to Linux Mint"

            Nah. The non-techies can transition to PC-BSD easier I reckon. PC-BSD. The better kind of free :)

            1. Criminny Rickets
              Thumb Down

              Re: What's new?

              Sorry, but no. Linux Mint installed quite easily for me (installed it as a dual boot with Windows 7, rarely boot in Windows 7 anymore), I tried checking out BSD, and couldn't figure out how to get the darn thing installed. While I admit I am not an IT guru, I do know my way around computers. If I couldn't do it, then I doubt the non-techies would be able to.

              (Note - I am only responding as I do not see a Joke Alert icon on your post)

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: What's new?

                "(Note - I am only responding as I do not see a Joke Alert icon on your post)"

                PC-BSD as opposed to other flavours is a doddle for anyone to install. It has a graphical installer with a complete installation walkthrough. (Maybe you tried a different more 'tecchie' flavor?) Can't get much easier than this:

                http://wiki.pcbsd.org/index.php/Installing_PC-BSD

            2. yossarianuk

              Re: What's new?

              > PC-BSD. The better kind of free

              i.e under performing in most benchmarks (compared to Linux) , lack of drivers, lack of software - has a license where anyone can skank someones work without giving back - no thanks.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: What's new?

                "i.e under performing in most benchmarks (compared to Linux) , lack of drivers, lack of software - has a license where anyone can skank someones work without giving back - no thanks."

                "under performing in most benchmarks"

                Not an issue for the average home user.

                "lack of drivers"

                PITA sometimes, yes. But I have only had issues with Intel WiFi on an old Toshiba. Otherwise plain sailing on the dt and lappie I tried it on.

                "lack of software"

                Enough. And growing. Anyway, didn't Linux once have a small user base and a lack of software. It didn't all appear mysteriously overnight!

                "has a license where anyone can skank someones work without giving back"

                Irrelevant to the average home user.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: What's new?

                  The best, easiest to install and use at home predominantly to surf the net, OS I'd used was DesktopBSD. Sadly, it had a very small set of people, person often, keeping the project together and was basically discontinued several years ago. I tried several Linuxs' before and after it, as well as PC-BSD which I liked but always found a bit sluggish. Linux Mint sure works well for me and is what I've been using since Ubuntu lost its GUI way.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: What's new?

                    @AC 22:31

                    I am the AC who mentioned PC-BSD above. Have to say, I really dislike Ubuntu and have for some considerable time. As far 'mainstream' Linux goes, Mint is my preferred option. But when it comes down to serious work my end it's usually Open/Free/DragonFly BSD that I find myself working with.

                    I put the kids on Isotope (PC-BSD 9). They use KDE4. Don't ask me why - too heavy imo. I can't explain that one! Except for games and school work (which they can do on their school laptops) they don't miss Windows now they have got used to the difference and they prefer BSD to Ubuntu and Mint.

          2. Agarax
            Stop

            Re: What's new?

            @Eadon So the solution to having a horrible OS is to install Linux and run your productivity applications inside of a VM that runs the horrible OS? Don't you end back up at square one?

            While I love Linux too (Xubuntu to be exact), what people need to realize is that most companies don't run Windows because they like Windows. They run Windows because Microsoft Office and the last 20+ years of industry standard productivity applications are written for it.

            It's easier to deal with the issues surrounding Windows than it is to rewrite all of the productivity programs and retrain the staff.

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        2. JeffyPooh Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: What's new?

          Why is anyone surprised that Windows 8 sucks? Microsoft has always released OS in a 'Bad, Bad, Good; Bad, Bad, Good, ...' pattern. After Windows 7, "It Simply Had To Be Bad" ™.

          The next one will also be Bad, but the one after that will be fantastic.

        3. AZComicGeek
          Joke

          Re: What's new?

          Vista without the charm and usability.

    2. N2 Silver badge

      Re: What's new?

      Win 8 desktop edition, complete with:

      Familiar ways to do new tasks

      Start menu of your choice: Classic 2000, Fisher price, oops wheres the start menu, etc

      Toggle the ribbon for proper menus

      Puerile adjustment - thought ballons & annoyances etc turned to minimum

      And not have to buy a new suite of software!

      For starters

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What's new?

      Mr Nielsen is loved as much as he is reviled.

      If his guidelines were followed the WWW would look like it did in 1995.

      I wouldn't listen to his opinion much, there is almost nothing he ever likes.

      1. Not That Andrew

        Re: What's new?

        If his guidelines were followed the WWW would look like it did in 1995.

        You say that as if that would be a bad thing.

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: What's new?

          > the WWW would look like it did in 1995.

          Interesting that you bring up 1995. That was the year when Microsoft tried to change the WWW into being the original MSN, or actually to avoid the WWW and replace it with MSN for Windows 95 users only, which MS expected to be 98% of computer users. (The later use of 'MSN' was for something else entirely).

          Then in 1998 MS tried to bring in 'Active Desktop' and 'Channels' but they made the mistake of allowing it to be turned off.

          They have not made that mistake with Windows 8. Tiles are the new 'Active Desktop'. Services will be able to be locked to MS (with advertising).

        2. VaalDonkie

          Re: What's new?

          Hamster dance

  3. dogged
    WTF?

    wat

    "The worst gesture might be the one to reveal the list of currently running applications: you need to first swipe from the screen's left edge, and then immediately reverse direction and do a small swipe the other way, and finally make a 90-degree turn to move your finger to a thumbnail of the desired application. The slightest mistake in any of these steps gives you a different result," Nielsen said.

    Or swipe in from the left and then select any of the list of applications shown. Which brand of crack does this guy prefer?

    1. AJ MacLeod

      Re: wat

      Quite possibly he's not on any drugs... which is presumably not the case with whoever thought that Windows 8 was in a fit state for release, UI-wise. Otherwise, I'd like to hear their excuse!

      1. dogged
        Meh

        Re: wat

        Hard to find any other reason why he'd be quite so catastrophically wrong.

        Unless he got his operating instructions from Cupertino, I suppose.

    2. Brian
      FAIL

      Re: wat

      Anyone that calls the gestures complicated is over complicating them. Swipe in from the left switches apps. Swipe in from the left and back out and it brings up the list of running apps. This 'finally make a 90-degree turn' is him making crap up. You would think 'in and out' would be an easy gesture for a guy to make.

      1. MIc

        Re: wat

        Good point. My thumb is pretty good at reversing direction. Not really that hard.

        1. andy 45

          Re: wat

          What about your nan?

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: wat

        Yes, a self important guy who is critical of anything slick and modern. He wants things to be very simple, very dull so it is familiar.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jakob_Nielsen_%28usability_consultant%29#Criticism

        "Nielsen has been criticized by some graphic designers[4][5] for failing to balance the importance of other user experience considerations such as typography, readability, visual cues for hierarchy and importance, and eye appeal."

        Yay, lets all create web sites with grey backgrounds, blue hyperlinks and party like its 1999.

        1. MissingSecurity

          Re: wat

          I favor functionality over fashion. Most graphic designers have not concept of design as a whole. If color and typography is all you focus on, you fail hard.

      2. Chet Mannly

        Re: wat

        "Do you have even the faintest idea who Jakob Nielsen is?"

        Someone who obviously didn't RTFM and is wrongly (and publicly) criticising an interface based on his own misunderstanding.

        Don't care what his reputation is if he can't move his finger in 2 directions without getting confused.

        PS - No I'm no windows fanboi, just as I'm not a fan of people who stuff up the operation of a product and then publicly blame the manufacturer for their own ignorance.

        Besides, this is MS - there's a wide range of legitimate things to criticise windows 8 over, no need to make sh!t up like this...

        1. dajames Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: wat

          Someone who obviously didn't RTFM and is wrongly (and publicly) criticising an interface based on his own misunderstanding.

          Most software these days doesn't even have a FM ... the excuse is that it's supposed to be so easy to understand and to use that one isn't needed.

          This being the case, I'd say that is someone criticizes the UI having failed to understand it then that UI has failed -- failed in being understandable, if not in being usable.

          It's not acceptable to criticize someone for not RTFM when no M is provided.

        2. fajensen Silver badge

          Re: wat

          .... requiring users to be highly accurate and learn a bunch of new sequences off by heart.

          Yep, like "f.ck, f.cking c.nt, b.st.rd", not good for the heart at all, that!

          Someone who obviously didn't RTFM and is wrongly (and publicly) criticising an interface based on his own misunderstanding.

          Which Effiing Manual? The Windows 8 computer that I returned to the shop for a Windows 7 version this very weekend did not come with any manual or even enough of a visual clue for my teenage son to find it!

          However, I think the teenagers will like Metro for being pure "bling", people who have to work on their computer will hate it - and they will hate more that they cannot switch it off!

      3. Spoddyhalfwit

        Re: wat

        "Do you have even the faintest idea who Jakob Nielsen is?"

        Shirley he's that dude from the naked gun?

  4. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Joke

    So it's a swipe from the left, and then a move to the right...

    Has someone in Microsoft been overdosing on Rocky Horror? Or perhaps Gangnam Style?

    1. Steve Evans

      Re: So it's a swipe from the left, and then a move to the right...

      I'm not hanging about to see if Ballmer's coming onto the stage in fishnets!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So it's a swipe from the left, and then a move to the right...

        If? What do you mean if? You know for sure he is!

    2. JeffyPooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: So it's a swipe from the left, and then a move to the right...

      "Shift your arm, then you pull it back..." ?

      ♫ Slide your feet up the street Bend your back

      ♫ ♫ Shift your arm then you pull it back ♫ ♫

      Life is hard you know (oh whey oh)

      So strike a pose on a Cadillac... ♫

      ♫ ...Walk like an Egyptian...♫

      Ear worm launched. Sorry...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So it's a swipe from the left, and then a move to the right...

        The discovery of using musical note Unicode characters in a comment post warrants an instant upvote already.

        1. JeffyPooh Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: So it's a swipe from the left, and then a move to the right...

          ☺ ☂

          Fun stuff.

  5. Mage Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    He is right.

    Jakob Nielsen is very very good. This is really bad for MS.

    I have been reading his "common sense" approach for years. He tells it like it is. He has no axe to grind other than usability.

    Essentially the GUI formerly called Metro is derived from Zune. It's best for a phone, mediocre for a larger than 6" tablet and useless for a Keyboarded device at desk. They also appear to have over-complicated interaction and dumbed the visuals what was a quite good UI on Zune.

    This is exactly to opposite and equally bad as putting the win95 style desktop on a 3.5" phone or PDA. I don't agree with Nielsen though. Two interfaces isn't enough. You need four. One for smallest screens, one for medium tablets and one for mainly Keyboard + mouse desk machines (Notebooks, Ultrabook, laptop, Large tablet with keyboard and fixed Desktop machines).

    The Fourth?

    HDTVs without a keyboard but added "smart features" beyond TV, inc Internet. Try using a true "Media center" [sic] interface designed for Remote control on a Laptop or Desktop, or a regular "desktop" GUI on settee on a TV.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He is right.

      Seconded.

      Yes, Jakob Nielsen can be a little too academic at times, but in general UI/UX terms he usually hits the nail on the head.

      And with the summery I've read so far (going to have a peak into the full report) he has got it spot on. Windows 8 is two UI's thrown together and served up as one. I know, we've all said the same, but it's worth reading a review that articulates the issues better than the many "WINDOWS 8 IS DA SUX!1!!"

      I like Windows 8 for its 'Windows UX'. Smooth, fast, not too heavy on resources - like Windows 7 but more 'less is more'. Like Nielsen, I also like Ribbon. But I hate them literally wedging an entirely separate entity into Windows and saying "There we go, it's unified now".

      No, it's not. It's a Siamese twin.

      1. MIc
        Thumb Up

        Re: He is right.

        it is. But with such a legacy base I can't think of a way for that company to really do something different and also not ditch the massive ecosystem of normal windows products and code.

        This is called the innovators dilemma I believe. I will be an interesting Christmas season to watch the tech industry fight it out.

      2. Giles Jones Gold badge

        Re: He is right.

        See what he thinks of a popular Android tablet, is he still right? lol

        http://www.useit.com/alertbox/kindle-fire-usability.html

        Android usability is pretty dire.

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        2. Chet Mannly

          Re: He is right.

          "See what he thinks of a popular Android tablet, is he still right? lol...Android usability is pretty dire."

          The article is a discussion on web browsing using 7 inch tablets, not a review of Android!!

          Just to demonstrate his lack of credibility:

          "The Fire is a heavy object. It's unpleasant to hold for extended periods of time. Unless you have forearm muscles like Popeye, you can't comfortably sit and read an engaging novel all evening. "

          The Kindle weighs absolutely nothing FFS. He must get removalists or a forklift to move his laptop to another room.

          Sorry, I call Fanboi, don't care what his "reputation" is...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: He is right.

        Windows 8 doesn't come with a very good grammar check does it?

        Summery: something which is summer-like in nature.

        Peak: the top of a mountain (see "peek" for definition of looking at something with your eyes)

      4. Chet Mannly

        Re: He is right.

        "Jakob Nielsen can be a little too academic at times, but in general UI/UX terms he usually hits the nail on the head."

        Except for completely stuffing up the "show running applications list" gesture then ripping into MS based on his own ignorance.

        Its like him using a hammer with its head turned sideways then complain about how awkward it was to hit nails in...

        1. James Anderson

          Re: He is right.

          Well firstly it doesn't come with a manual and the gestures are supposed to be intuitive -- so fail 1 for MS.

          Secondly it wasn't him who had the problem -- but nearly all of his 20 guinea pigs (which included some very experienced techies) who had the problem -- he was merely observing their experience.

          I will avoid the UI formerly known as Metro for as long as I can, which shouldn't be too hard as the Firms PC is still running XP, and, I use UBUNTU for preference.

          Also for anyone put of by the UBUNTU UNITY interface, my advice is stick with it for a couple of weeks and you won't even miss gnome.

      5. Robert Ramsay
        Facepalm

        Re: He is right.

        The minute I used it for the first time I realised what they'd done.

        They took out the start menu code and replaced it with Metro. Metro *is* the Start Menu for Windows 8.

        I thought: What's the simplest way they could do this without having to rewrite all the code?

        And no, I don't think it was a good idea either.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He is right.

      Funny how if Apple produce a very simple GUI it gets shot down as being simple and for idiots.

      Yet if someone creates a more advanced UI that isn't simple and for idiots then it's also bad.

      Jakob is critical of Android:

      http://blog.utest.com/testing-the-limits-with-jakob-nielsen-part-i/2011/04/

      "In our current user testing, Android scores fairly well, but not as good as iPhone. "

      1. Paul Shirley

        Re: He is right about Android ICS

        "Jakob is critical of Android"

        ICS and Jellybean are both infected by the same thinking that created Metro's plain rectangles. The same lack of visual cues confusing the eye, the same oversimplification. Most of the world don't have ICS upgrades yet, probably why there's been no backlash - along with the substantial performance/feature improvements bundled with the new theme to soften the blow. Been using it for a few months now and it just isn't getting any better looking to me and I'm still poking the wrong hit zones far too often.

        Both seem to be copying Google's web theming with it's plain rectangles and cryptic icons (still grateful someone kindly reminded me there is a text option instead), which confuses the hell out of me. Simultaneously looking dumbed down but needing more mental effort learning and remembering your way round the UI. It's as if MS looked at Googles success and blindly copied, tweaked, renamed without stopping to check they'd copied the good bits.

    3. Steven Roper
      Thumb Up

      Re: He is right.

      Absolutely. There should be four versions of Windows for each of the kind of devices you describe. They could be called, respectively:

      Windows Phone 8

      Windows Surface 8

      Windows Desktop 8

      Windows Media Center 8

      And Microsoft could then do us the huge favour of making them interoperable as well. What a novel idea...!

  6. BelieverX
    Meh

    Mr Guru...

    Right click Live Tile, move mouse down to Turn Live Tile Off button and click. There...no more blinking tiles.

    1. supreme-overlord

      Re: Mr Guru...

      "Right click Live Tile, move mouse down to Turn Live Tile Off button and click. There...no more blinking tiles."

      Dead, static tile then? Right good job!

  7. MIc
    Alert

    Bought a surface...

    And I find that on a tablet win 8 is really good. The learning curve is significant. But the consistency that you get within all Win8 apps is awesome. The contract approach to search / settings / sharing is very fluid and very fast. There are features that you can't get on other OSes. But it took me a while to start to become familiar with these feature and to get to a point where Win8 was a net benefit.

    On my desktop with 4 monitors.... meh.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bought a surface...

      I would suggest you try a touch mouse, it makes Win8 far more useable. Amazon are currently selling the MS touch mouse (other touch mice are available) for about £20 - it's probably so cheap because of all that tax they're avoiding.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bought a surface...

        You can prise my works-on-glass mouse with free-scrolling wheel and lots of buttons out of my cold dead hands!

        I like my buttons to go 'click'.

  8. MIc
    Joke

    Metro version of visual studio anyone???

    Just though of having to use Visual Studio with a touch based Metro UI.... The though of it made me punch 3 kittens in the face.

    1. El Andy

      Re: Metro version of visual studio anyone???

      That's why the desktop still exists and why it will continue to, because some applications need much more complex UI, whilst the vast majority don't. That's kind of the whole theory behind Windows 8, not that many people seem to have grasped this. You'll never be able to write iPad apps on an actual iPad, but you can write Windows 8 apps on a Windows 8 tablet device today.

      1. Matthew 25

        Re: Metro version of visual studio anyone???

        Why vote him down for stating the truth?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Metro version of visual studio anyone???

          Matthew, Voting on here is often not about facts.

          You like something something someone else doesn't, you'll get downvoted. Criticise Linux. The penguins will downvote. Like Windows, Linux and Fanboys will downvote. Like Apple, the downvoters come out of the woodwork like woodworm at an orgy. If you don't like what 'they' like, you're doomed.

          Fickle lot.

  9. TonyHoyle

    "The worst gesture might be the one to reveal the list of currently running applications: you need to first swipe from the screen's left edge, and then immediately reverse direction and do a small swipe the other way, and finally make a 90-degree turn to move your finger to a thumbnail of the desired application. The slightest mistake in any of these steps gives you a different result,"

    Seriously?!!!

    How in hell did anyone even discover how to do that in the first place?

    1. MIc
      Facepalm

      OMG!!

      How did anyone discover Ctrl+V, Ctrl+C, Window+P, Alt+Tab?

      Relax everything will be ok.

      1. pixl97

        Re: OMG!!

        >How did anyone discover Ctrl+V, Ctrl+C, Window+P, Alt+Tab?

        I personally remember some kind of sticker or card mounted on the keyboard of the computer I was working at? But that was back in the day when computers and applications came with manuals.

        These days we just jab shit with our greasy fingers and hope that everything turns out ok.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: OMG!!

          Or, follow the interactive tutorial which appears the first time every new user logs on.

          A bit like a manual, but more in your face, so there's less excuse for not noticing it...

          1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: OMG!!

        > How did anyone discover Ctrl+V, Ctrl+C

        Because they are sitting there on the drop-down menus next to the words "Paste" and "Copy".

      3. Gian

        Re: OMG!!

        it's more interesting discovering (win-key) + x

        1. Flawless101
          Happy

          Re: OMG!!

          Holy shit, why am I just learning this now.

      4. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Re: OMG!!

        I'm not sure I even know what you are on about.

        Although I am sure I can find the relevant features by using the mouse to poke around whatever interface you happen to be talking about.

      5. Gamrith

        Re: OMG!!

        @Mlc: How did anyone discover Ctrl+V, Ctrl+C, Window+P, Alt+Tab?

        Welllll, Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V, like Ctrl-Q and Ctrl-S were around in VMS, Apollo Aegis, Ultrix, so I was happy that they were around in Windows/DOS, too.

        As to Window+P: Don't know, dont care.

        ...and Alt+Tab: Fluff

        There. All clear now?

        Georg

    2. AZComicGeek

      How in hell did anyone even discover how to do that in the first place? They were flailing wildly trying to get something done.

  10. The_Regulator
    Joke

    Just wondering if any of you have been to the homepage of this guys website, it might be the worst site I have seen on the net in 10 years. Looks like it was built using design from 1990 and an RM Nimbus.

    Obviously this guy is clueless and why anyone would actually listen to anything he has to say about modern technology is beyond me.

    http://www.useit.com/

    ^^ I LOL'd

    1. MissingSecurity

      Might not be pretty...

      But seems to be functional.

      1. Matt_payne666
        Happy

        Re: Might not be pretty...

        My girlfriend is a nice combination of functional and pretty...

        My car is more style over function, but with a lot of sensible features...

        my kettle is style over features...

        Other than my double glazing, or possibly the extractor fan in my bathroom, I find it hard to recommend pure function over form... there are happy mediums, Neilsons an function extremist, to the point that to me - living in a world of rich media I find his website quite difficult to use...

        We are not robots, we are able to see the shades of grey in the horrendously black and white wold of binary, celebrate this! enjoy some eye candy and cheer up you miserable sods!!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Might not be pretty...

          Pictures of girlfriend and evidence of functionality or it's just trolling.

          Seriously, pure function is always well designed. Modern cars increasingly look the same as functionality improves; once you take into account aerodynamics, roadholding, safety, longevity and economy, as time goes on there are fewer design choices.

          Computers and software just have further to go.

        2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

          Re: Matt_payne666

          That's all well and good.

          Except when "pretty" gets in the way of "functional".

        3. dajames Silver badge
          Angel

          Re: Might not be pretty...

          Other than my double glazing, or possibly the extractor fan in my bathroom, I find it hard to recommend pure function over form...

          Your double glazing -- you said it -- when it comes to windows you prefer function over form!

    2. Hooksie

      Holy crap balls

      Seriously?? This is the website of the guy slagging off Windows 8 and the guy who couldn't figure that bringing up the charms bar in ANY Metro app allows you to search? You would be as we'll listening to the Mary Whitehous review of Saw for fooks sake. Usability expert?? My hoop he is.

      1. Matthew 25
        Terminator

        Re: Holy crap balls

        I quite like it. Being dyslexic, I find it easier to read than most sites.

        Nielsen's point is that things should be usable by everyone. Not just those who can tell the difference between green and red or have full manual dexterity or don't get their wucking murds fuddled.

    3. Old Handle

      Joke or not, I'm inclined to agree.

      While it's clearly the diametric opposite of a blinking carnival, I'm not sure there's a good thing. I feel like it doesn't give anything for my eyes to "latch on to", like I have to read a good portion of it just to get an idea of what kinds of information it contains. Would it kill the guy to at least use headings larger than the body text?

      I was also negatively impressed that such an incredibly simple site would still partly depend on javascript (for the search).

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "http://www.useit.com/

      ^^ I LOL'd"

      I'm still laughing and it's now Wednesday.

      1. Trevor 3

        Actually I found his website rather good.

        It loaded in under 3 seconds, no flash, important stuff left hand side, interesting stuff right hand side, contact details at the bottom.

        Do you have pictures in your books at home, and feel a bit lost without them on the internet?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @The_Regulator

      Feast your eyes on this then - http://www.webkingusa.com/

      Now you can cry.

  11. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    The thing is, almost all the UIs I've seen are pretty dire... and they are getting worse, not better.

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Criminny Rickets
        Holmes

        Re: Linux Mint

        You are partially correct sir. Linix Mint Mate is a fork of Gnome 2. Linux Mint Cinnamon on the other hand, while it looks and feels like Gnome 2, is actually built on Gnome 3. The menuing system in Cinnamon and Windows 7 is quite similar, so made it very easy to switch for us Windows converts.

        I have tried out Window 8 a few time. Trying ti get that damn bar to come up when sweeping your finger in from the right hand side really ticked me off. I got it once in 5 tries. Your finger has to be in the exact right place or it will not worlk. Great for productivitity... NOT!!!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Android is making it worse since it is utter chaos.

      Even Jakob said the more controlled and closed systems have better usability since they are often consistently designed and enforce style guides.

  12. WylieCoyoteUK
    Coffee/keyboard

    He has made some good points.

    Let's face it, TIFKAM is a mess.

    Besides the lack of consistency and usability on a desktop, Live tiles just create a screen full of noise, and they are being sued by another company who couldn't sell them either.

    How many people actually used Active desktop? Desktop gadgets? Personalised menus? all basically "new ideas" that ended up as annoyances.

    The thing is, you could turn them off or choose not to use them. Not so TIFKAM or the Ribbon (yeuck).

    How much of the eye-candy survives, and how much is actually of any use?

    Sinofsky's gone, 8 is tanking, MS have gone very quiet while they try to recover something from the wreckage.

  13. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Whether you agree with him or not

    Nielsen is actually reporting research conducted with users. Whether you agree with his opinions he is highlighting issues with products that designers would be wise to consider.

    Personally I like not-Metro and haven't found it that difficult to get used to, but then I was one of the three people who bought a Windows Phone 7 handset.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Whether you agree with him or not

      I was one of the two people who bought an HP Pre 3. That is a well designed UI - which HP abandoned. Sadly, good design is no guarantee of market success.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Whether you agree with him or not

      These are users who are often inexperienced or people lacking confidence, the sort who put fluffy toys around their monitor (which a sign of them trying to make their computer more friendly due to their fear of it).

      There are more than one class of user, the "noob" type and the power user. The reason most OSes and applications have shortcut keys and macros is to appeal to the power user who doesn't want to wade through menus and wizards.

      What would Jakob say about the command line or the VI editor? probably that it is confusing as hell and completely counter intuitive. Yet an experienced Unix admin on the command line will beat any Windows admin using point and click.

  14. All names Taken

    Quote

    "I understand why Microsoft likes the marketing message of 'One Windows, Everywhere'. But this strategy is wrong for users."

    Unquote

    I sort off understand why doing things that way might appear interesting at planning stages but surely on kit experience says otherwise?

    BTW I agree with the quote

  15. banjomike
    Meh

    One Windows, Everywhere...maybe

    But NOT Windows 8, thank you very much! Using it with a mouse is hard work and hard on the eyes.

  16. mdc

    ...

    I can't understand why The Register keeps posting articles like this :-/

    I think a strongly worded e-mail to the editor is required.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "and they couldn't recognise which applications were represented by which tiles..."

    But I thought the idea behind live tiles wasn't that each tile had to represent an application - but instead was a discrete information source.

    I've often thought that the application-centric view (springboard on the iPhone and others) is quite limiting, not really oriented to how people do things, is old fashioned, and almost akin to poor object encapsulation: a word processor has tables and basic formula support, a spreadsheet has basic text editing; both have drawing tools. Both are different applications. Why?

    I've never managed to come up with anything brilliant in this space that'll let me retire, but someone will soon; maybe Microsoft is really on to something here - they just can't yet deliver on it.

  18. Hooksie

    Ok, here goes, one more time:

    For those who missed the bit at the start that tells you how to work the damn thing, which I'm guessing this tool didn't let the users see before unleashing them. (I mean, really, without instruction how many people would figure out that four finger swipes on the iPad will either bring up recent applications or scroll between open apps?)

    Swipe in from the right (or win+c) - brings up charms bar from which you can search any application, get to devices, context sensitive settings I.e. in app settings

    Swipe in from the left will scroll between open apps

    Swipe up will bring up an options menu (or right click) on Start a screen this takes you to all apps

    Windows key will swap between desktop and Start Screen

    Win+W - search settings

    Win+F - search files

    Win+D - takes you to desktop from anywhere

    Start Screen - type and search

    And most important for admin users Win+X or right click on the start button brings up the Admin menu where you can get to Control Panel, run,command window, admin command window, Event Viewer, Services etc - great menu for admins.

    Oh, and if you swipe from the top you can either throw away a TIFKAM app or use the really cool function of having 2 apps open side by side, eg Facebook chat in a small window while you work on your desktop or email

    1. AJ MacLeod

      Re: Ok, here goes, one more time:

      Phew, nifty feature - imagine having two windows open side by side! There really are no bounds to the excellence of Metro (sticking with that name as interestingly it's roughly equivalent to Windows 7 in the same way that the Austin Metro was to the Mini... though perhaps that's being a little harsh on BL)

      1. El Andy

        Re: Ok, here goes, one more time:

        It's a feature that neither the iPad nor Android tablets can manage, a fact people seem to keep forgetting.

        1. dajames Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Ok, here goes, one more time:

          It's a feature that neither the iPad nor Android tablets can manage, a fact people seem to keep forgetting.

          My Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 can display two windows side-by-side. That's one of the reasons I chose it.

          Only a selection of Samsung apps support it, and you can't have two instances of the same app (which I would like) but it's a start. I'd like to think that it'll become a standard feature of some future Android version (but I'm not holding my breath).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ok, here goes, one more time:

      "or use the really cool function of having 2 apps open side by side"

      I seem to remember something similar in Windows 1.0 -- it was cr*p then and it's the same now !

    3. increasingly_irrelevant
      Windows

      Re: Ok, here goes, one more time:

      Sorry, no - the correct getting started instruction set for a new "easy to use" interface reads "Turn power on using large obvious button, Use device".

      Apple touchscreens do this, Android devices mostly do this, Apple Macs don't really until you learn a little, Windows 95- 7 machines guide you through this, but you have to make reasonable guesses

  19. Andus McCoatover
    Windows

    Oh, God...this happened 25-30 years ago.

    My wise manager said to me something along the lines of...

    "This new product is how the designers show off how clever they are. It's not what the customer wants"

    £20 grand logic analyser. I sold one*. No-one else was impressed with it even though it had the latest, greatest operating system on just ONE 5.25" floppy! CP/M was just the dog's bollocks.

    Except, of course, it wasn't.

    * Nicolet Paratronics (California) only sold one, IIRC, which I sold to GCHQ. Paratronics went tits up in no time, as they couldn't provide the - already paid for - timing analyser. As you can imagine, I was as welcome at GCHQ (one of my major customers) as a fart in a spacesuit. I left as soon as practically possible.

  20. Gian

    it's an unbelievable immature release, and it's the first Windows without windows: am I wrong or all the metro (macro) apps grow to full screen ? It's pathetic to see Skype filling my 17" screen - and then crashing

  21. Jeff 11

    Windows 8 pretty much reiterates just how insane revolutions in interface design can be; compounding that by throwing out all the interface concepts of your previous work is going to terminally piss off a lot of people.

    Pretty much all the news about Windows 8 over the past few months has been disdain over Microsoft doing what it does best and shoehorning a system that works on two different classes of device (technically brilliant) but with a hopelessly flawed execution that will keep the vast majority of its customer base on Windows 7.

    I'm reluctant to give Apple credit for anything these days after they crippled Safari as a useful web browser and development platform, but they did grasp the fact that innovation in their core OS has to come in small bursts and new features need to be introduced gradually instead of all at once.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      new features need to be introduced gradually instead of all at once.

      Whats wrong with all at once?

      Try (most) everyone leaves Windows all at once on for size. (Most) everyone will find it looks good on them.

      1. Corinne

        Re: new features need to be introduced gradually instead of all at once.

        "Whats wrong with all at once?"

        There speaks someone who's got no experience of managing change. In general people are resistant to change, they like their core comfort zones and it can be quite an art to work out how much change to carry out at any one time - too much at one time and people panic, small changes made too frequently pisses people off.

        Remember that the majority, and I mean very significant majority, of Windows users aren't techies in any form, they are simple users interested in a tool they don't have to spend hours working out how to use. One of the strengths of Windows historically, and the main reason it became virtually the standard in most workplaces, is that in general all the applications had a similar look and feel so once you were used to one you could find your way around the others. This was strengthened by a slow rate of change from a user point of view - if there was an upgrade to a new version, there was no need for everyone to go through expensive & time consuming training again as there was sufficient similarity with the old version.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    MS turned things around...

    Instead of making their web applications look and feel more like their desktop applications (think Office 2010) Microsoft took, in my opinion, the cheap way out. Instead they turned the desktop applications into something one could easily associate with a web application.

    Apparently ignoring the fact that web applications, also because of their minimal interface, offer but a fraction of the functionality which the desktop apps provide. This functionality isn't merely something you can measure with what the software can or can't do; another very important aspect is the user interface.

    They had a relative mature interface, chose to cut it short instead of expanding on it and this is the result.

    I for one am hardly surprised.

  23. Antoinette Lacroix
    Devil

    Don't worry

    The Ratpoison window manager is currently being ported to Win 8.

    Everything will be just fine

  24. Deadlock Victim
    FAIL

    No, just no Mr. Nielsen. How are those micropayments working out for you?

  25. dssf
    Joke

    It's ALL in the...

    Wrists

    "The worst gesture might be the one to reveal the list of currently running applications: you need to first swipe from the screen's left edge, and then immediately reverse direction and do a small swipe the other way, and finally make a 90-degree turn to move your finger to a thumbnail of the desired application. The slightest mistake in any of these steps gives you a different result," Nielsen said."

    It's all in the wristststststs. Whether or not it's perverse development is an additional issue... In or on the vein...

    But, why not take it a step further and put Kinect in the Surface's camera? Swipe to the left with an "ugly face", you can unlock your naughty pics. Swipe to the left with smiles, you get Rated-G pics. Swipe while wagging the tongue or rolling eyes, you get the Internet, with all it's glories... More can be added...

  26. CaptSmegHead
    Unhappy

    profit

    Seems like a lot of IT training companies stand to make a fortune if extensive retraining is needed for corporate users.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: profit

      They are not IT training, they are just some greedy corporation insider scams for executive bonuses.

      They haven't solve any problem but creating ritual scams for crises with Jewish self serving languages and technology exploitation packaging tricks.

      They haven't teach real significant of humbly available technologies invented by users and development communities.

      They hijack our time, our lives, our productivity, and even our homes and families to serve their greed like those lazy Wall St investment banking tycoons.

      We can break the chains of those corporations' repeating each others' imposition by simply doing real thinking, real designs and real works that can help our community bypassing their traps.

      We can take back the industry for our communities. That's why we work in the high tech industry instead of investment hacking banks hijacking resources and capitals.

  27. Mikel
    Pint

    I love the new look

    I'm thrilled. I think it will do wonders for bringing the company's influence in the market more in line with what they deserve.

  28. chiller

    What does this guy know? What a jerk!!!!

    (up) yours

    Steve B

  29. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    More proof the IQ of the general populace is declining...

    Ok, so lets get this straight - a screen full of tiles with different images and messages on them is confusing at first.

    Well put me in a room and slap me with a kipper - who woulda thunk it?

    A computer that's a bit difficult to use?

    To be honest, I gave metro a try and the only difficult thing initially was switching views.

    See, I'm a reasonably smart chap, I don't consider myself a braniac by any stretch, but I get by.

    I've learned to drive a car - that was pretty difficult, but I now perform the task with virtual automation.

    I even learned to read a book - all those little symbols arranged in sequences. That was pretty difficult, but I managed to do it age 4.

    I learned the concept of maths - never really mastered it, but I can do the basics in my head.

    I learned to play a guitar - god damn it, probably the hardest thing I've ever done - but I can do it.

    And here we have some design 'guru' telling us Metro confuses people.

    Well, put me in another room and smack me upside the head with a stupid stick, I'm a genius!

    Best not let that focus group near the vi editor and ask them to code up some nifty pagination - that guru would be shrieking with angst - all those little letters on that ugly rectangular slab, nasty blinking cursor - so complicated! It's terrible design!

    Put that guru in a room with a hundred angry badgers and lock the door.

    *sigh*

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More proof the IQ of the general populace is declining...

      Bloody shame you never seem to have learned humility and respect.

      Twat.

  30. Winkypop Silver badge
    Devil

    The marketing message...

    ....has NEVER been about the users.

    1. Piro

      Re: The marketing message...

      Apart from with Windows 7, when it was.

      Don't you remember? They had little girls and random people saying about how it is was THEIR Windows because it had useful features and so on. It was a pretty decent marketing campaign.

      Windows 8 of course is all about being faux-hip and retarded "design" ideas that have nothing to do with usability in the real world.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We need Roller Bars, no more rigid tiles and buttons packing on precious working surface.

    Designers don't have modern roller bars in mind for designing user interface.

    There can be many kinds of rollers, but Apple and Microsoft designers only have some rigid button minds from the last century.

    Rollers can make layers, hierarchical trees, and even multi-dimensional structures very intuitive and easy for discovering things as well. Rollers can unify and simplify ui architecture that can even simplify driver properties and application configurations. Making users to guess should be for games, definitely not for productivity apps.

    Working surface is for multiple opened apps and documents and should be protected from intrusion of other things.

  32. mike_ul

    What's all the fuss about?

    I bit the bullet and installed windows 8 on both my desktop and netbook. In addition, I installed start8 from stardock.com at the very outset. Having used (and liked) Windows 7 for years, I notice very little difference, now, as a desktop user. I *never* touch the IFKAM and my machines both boot into the familiar win7-alike desktop avoiding that interface altogether. Hopefully, in future, MS will make something like start8 standard - which seems to be the biggest blocker to people accepting it from a desktop point of view. From my own personal point of view, there is virtually no difference from Win7 and that makes me happy (and I have actually been using it for nearly a month now). I just don't understand all of this venom.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: What's all the fuss about?

      *Car Analogy Alert!*

      Say you bought a car.

      Would you be happy having to Pay Extra for a windcreen that was more than 10% transparent, ot a decent sized steering wheel before you could drive it as easily as your previous cars?

  33. Robert Grant

    It's not actually very hard

    Seriously. There are about three new things to know, and we're done. And the interface actually looks pretty cool, if you've seen a touchscreen laptop in the shops with it on.

    Using it with a mouse would suck though.

  34. johnwerneken
    Mushroom

    who does that idiot work for

    Who is this guy?

    I might want his job lol. He misses the whole point. Business is about gratifying customers but not as a goal in itself, as a means to ROI, to making money. The MS customers are businesses. And, their employees. As one such, if we get ONE set of stuff to train people on, we win. That’s it.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: who does that idiot work for

      Seriously EL Reg., I think you are tapping into the lower classes of the readership demographic.

      Are you sure this is a healthy development?

  35. Stuart Ball

    I got Win8 free with my HTC 8X phone, and I must confess to not fully understanding why all the negativity.

    I'm sat here with the desktop open, pretty much doing things I always did, no live tiles present, Outlook is running, as is IE, and a citrix session connected to the corporate VDI platform.

    All Metro is is a full screen start menu, I barely use it!

  36. ShankarOnline
    Thumb Up

    Windows UI

    Had windows 8 had an option to switch between UIs and turn off the other UI it would have been better.

    Even the installation if it had got a mechanism to remove one of its faces it would have served better.

    If on tablet use metro UI and if on laptop use just the basic windows interface.

    Currently I tried using it disabling all the tiles live refreshes deleting them. Still I am not satisfied with it on a laptop.

    I struggled with it on a mobile again.

    I wondered if I was one of the few who suffered but happy to know even more techies dislike it.

    You cant have 2happy joker faces for one happless clown. The tiles really kill the performance.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows UI

      As has been mentioned in the comments of other articles, many linux and BSD distros enable you choose from several different GUIs at start up or log on. Could MS not have given people a similar chose? I know they want to push TIFKAM, but at what expense to alienating so many users?

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    took the words right out of my mouth

    I highly agree with everything said in this article. Especially the part which he mentions a different slate all together separating tablet use and laptop/desktop interfaces. I wont buy the software or any system running it until the desktop works as windows 7 did and im sorry but i love and use the start button, its search features and other access points its offers.

  38. crfinaz
    Thumb Up

    took the words right out of my mouth

    I highly agree with everything said in this article. Especially the part which he mentions a different slate all together separating tablet use and laptop/desktop interfaces. I wont buy the software or any system running it until the desktop works as windows 7 did and im sorry but i love and use the start button, its search features and other access points its offers.

  39. aqk
    Thumb Up

    Heck, I don't even have a smartphone, but...

    The original idea of those big square tiles is for the Win-8 cellphone users. It's kinda hard to hit or drag a little icon with your big pudgy finger or thumb. And from what I've read, -I may be mistaken - the Win-8 metro phonetop (like a desktop) is superior to Android's or iOS.

    And the same desktop/phonetop has now been carried over to the big screen on your laptop, although more and more users are using SMALL laptops and tablets now- even business users!

    And now, even some desktop screens have touch control. They are still expensive compared to the mouse driven desktop, but I can see them becoming more popular with the younger crowd, as the prices fall. Personally I still prefer a mouse, but like you guys, I'm an old fuddy-duddy.

    I bet the younger crowd will quickly embrace touchscreens.

    Particularly young women who are not a bunch of techies. They love those big squares. (except the ones wearing pants)

    And MS is strategically placing themselves in this area with those big tiles that can easily be repositioned and reprogrammed.

    - Sent from my dual-booting Ubuntu / Win-8 desktop.

  40. randygrenier
    Windows

    Dozens of web sites are posting articles about this Jakob Nielsen "design guru." saying how hard Windows 8 is to use. Small children seem to find it easy to use.

    1. Nigel 11

      Small children find it easy to use

      I find Duplo bricks very easy to use. They just aren't an awful lot of use for getting real adult work done.

      Something that might have merit on a 4 inch touch-screen is a complete heap of garbage on a 24 inch high-res monitor being steered by a mouse. Like trying to build a real house out of Duplo bricks?

  41. randygrenier
    Windows

    Any fool knows that a UI has to be tested on laboratory animals first.

  42. EmperorWatcher
    WTF?

    Fishing for a Pulitzer

    I hate to break the news, but ..well.. there are no Pulitzer Prizes given to tech reviewers, guru or not. So much DRAMA.. Those in the know are aware that MS is "The company you love to hate.." Give it a rest. The whole Win8 package is getting pretty healthy acceptance and appreciation. It's great to see Microsoft getting creative, innovative and competitive once again. Apple is SOOOOOO 2006.

  43. Mahou Saru

    One GUI to rule them all...

    I remember reading white papers many years ago when the focus was on _users_ being able to access their data and services from any device from a familiar interface.

    A single OS is great for ensuring apps are available for what ever device with minimum fuss (allegedly), but shouldn't the interface tune itself for the device it runs on?

    I don't get the trend of trying to shoe horn a single GUI onto every device. Just because in some countries the scooter is the most used form of private transport, it doesn't mean that cars should have handle bars instead of a steering wheel!

  44. skeete
    FAIL

    This guy is talking utter rubbish.

    To view the active apps you place your finger on the left middle of the screen and swipe toward the right.

    There is no Harry potter style waggling of a wand at the screen and shouting Fanboi chants.

    THE REG... Please stop publishing utterly inaccurate and badly researched articles.

    1. Mark Leaver
      FAIL

      hmmm...

      "There is no Harry potter style waggling of a wand at the screen and shouting Fanboi chants.

      THE REG... Please stop publishing utterly inaccurate and badly researched articles."

      I do believe that he actually published a well researched paper on the usability of Windows 8. It is not up to Windows fanboi's like yourself to try and shout him down in a torrent of abuse. It is your position in the argument to either ignore articles like this that point out some serious deficiencies in the Windows 8 desktop operating system in terms of usability or to try and post legitimate responses that detail your research into how usable Windows 8 is. Unfortunately, it appears that the average intelligence of the Windows supporters seems to be dropping faster than Apples share prices are.

      When you can postulate a legitimate argument against Mr Nielsen and you have the credentials to equal his in his selected field, then you have the right to go around saying that he is talking utter rubbish.

      Outside of that ever happening, if ever, feel free to rant and rave and look like a complete muppet.

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