JorgeA

Windows 8 - Deeper Impressions

6,162 posts in this topic

As we've noted many times in this thread, the problem stems from the growing popularity of tablets and Microsoft executives' desire to have a

horse in that race. Therefore they have consented to wrecking the UX for the

hundreds of millions of people in their

established base, for the sake of

speculative gains in the tablet segment.

But as we know, tablets are an inherently

limited and limiting environment.

I'm with you on those visual

enhancements like Aero and Flip3D.

IMHO, using Windows on the flattened

interface they've designed, is like

watching cartoons instead of movies with

real people.

Agree with every word said, very well and precisely put. I see why they came up with windows 8, but I don't understand at all why on earth would they decide to let it run on desktops without the beauty of windows 7, without those aero goodies which Microsoft themselves used to call "the best UI ever in the OS history".

Just how much extra effort would it have taken to simply keep all the good stuff so user decides: got a desktop then help yourself turn the eye candy on, got a tablet then leave it off by default. Especially given that all testers as one were literally imploring Microsoft to keep aero and flip.

------

@CharlotteTheHarlot posted some cool pics, and I fear that's a step further with Windows 9, this time without a pixel of redundancy. :D

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... I don't understand at all why on earth would they decide to let it run on desktops without the beauty of windows 7, without those aero goodies which Microsoft themselves used to call "the best UI ever in the OS history".

Just how much extra effort would it have taken to simply keep all the good stuff so user decides: got a desktop then help yourself turn the eye candy on, got a tablet then leave it off by default. Especially given that all testers as one were literally imploring Microsoft to keep aero and flip.

I was just talking about that on another thread.

The big announcement came on the official Destroying Windows blog on May 18, 2012. The day that Aero Glass died. Normally these were Sinofsky posts but he left the dirty deed to Jensen Harris that day. Whether that means anything ( perhaps Sinofsky was against it? ) who knows. Until we get some serious journalism that badgers them until they get answers we'll never know.

Anyway, that is a very long blog post chock full of crap rationalizations, really it is a marvel of insanity. But the comments are a must read since you get to see the reactions of people around the world as they found out about the sudden amputation of Aero Glass and the forcing of even more flat, blinding, bland, Windows 1.0 level theme elements. This is when they sealed the deal, declaring war on the desktop and their entire history of customization and differentiation, and the anger in the comments is palpable. There are also a bunch of pathetic un-embarrassable fanboys cheering them on for even more ( ' please replace those fancy icons with flat crap! ' ).

There are two distinct groups of people in this fight. Those that have taste, class and want customization options and do not want to become mSheep treated like iSheep, and they do not have any desire to dictate other peoples' themes and options either. Then on the other hand, we have the brainless class of user with no-taste that needs and desires to be led around by the nose even having Microsoft selecting their themes and are demanding that they force their tasteless selection on everyone else. I cannot adequately express my anger at these petty little dictators. I would rather have Microsoft crash and burn and go belly-up than allow this nonsense to continue. We cannot allow them to dumb down the entire world in order to please these spoiled children from generation Xbox.

P.S. I just noticed that the Microsoft Destroying Windows blog comment section is no longer working in Opera 11.64 ( the page does not completely load ). It just says "Loading...". It works fine in Firefox though. It used to work fine. Can anybody else confirm? Back when that blog post was active many people noticed problems ( mostly on MSIE! hehe :lol: ) but now Opera has bit the bullet apparently. Don't try scrubbing the page Microsoft. We have copies.

EDIT: typo

Edited by CharlotteTheHarlot
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P.S. I just noticed that the Microsoft Destroying Windows blog comment section is no longer working in Opera 11.64 ( the page does not completely load ). It just says "Loading...". It works fine in Firefox though. It used to work fine. Can anybody else confirm? Back when that blog post was active many people noticed problems ( mostly on MSIE! hehe :lol: ) but now Opera has bit the bullet apparently. Don't try scrubbing the page Microsoft. We have copies.

FWIW, I just tried it in IE8 and it worked fine. The last comment at the bottom is dated May 22 from a Metro fanboy who barks about "those winning [sic] about Aero's fall."

--JorgeA

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Thanks very much for the graph, that's remarkable. Wonder how they'll try to spin that one. Maybe they'll blame it on the alignment of the stars or the phase of the moon at launch.

Happy New Year to you and all!

--JorgeA

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Agree with every word said, very well and precisely put. I see why they came up with windows 8, but I don't understand at all why on earth would they decide to let it run on desktops without the beauty of windows 7, without those aero goodies which Microsoft themselves used to call "the best UI ever in the OS history".

Thanks for the kind words!

Can you track down a Web page or site (preferably from Microsoft) that comes out and says that Windows 7, or Aero, is the best UI ever? That way we can plaster it all over the place, for a contrast to what they're telling us now. :sneaky:

--JorgeA

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Just to add to the collection:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-57560912-75/windows-8-wrestles-with-pcs-legacy/

On a traditional PC, Windows 8 Metro is a solution looking for a problem.

And this one is a good one:

Microsoft Surface RT Best Tablet Ever, 'Reviewers' Gush

http://www.informationweek.com/hardware/desktop/microsoft-surface-rt-best-tablet-ever-re/240144582

"Coty 09," whose activity on the Best Buy site dates back as far as Monday, had this to say: "The Surface RT is a great product that is easy to use and is built very well. This will be great for work, school and play."

jaclaz

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"Coty 09," whose activity on the Best Buy site dates back as far as Monday, had this to say: "The Surface RT is a great product that is easy to use and is built very well. This will be great for work, school and play."

:lol:

--JorgeA

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Interesting developments tying together two of the recent mini-discussions from above, LCARS and the Windows 8 ruined desktop visuals ...

First we need to time travel back to early June ( Post #443 ) where I noted a Register Article in which the comments showed a post from someone claiming significant importance in the design of the Longhorn ( Vista ) GUI. Later I found out he created his own ( seldom updated ) Wordpress blog with three posts about the subject including a re-iteration of the Reg comment. Last week he popped up in a comment at the recently mentioned LCARS thread at NeoWin ( where the OP was wishing for the Windows 9 GUI to become like Star Trek ). Unfortunate comment though because it can only serve to gather criticism, especially from Start Trek fans, but also those that can see through it as a whopper ...

Considering the fact that we based Metro very loosely on LCARS - arguably the first chromeless UI - you'dve thought someone would've picked up on this sooner lol.

LCARS was of course a prop and not a GUI, but a well-made and consistent prop throughout 7 years of TNG, the movies and later spin-offs also. Calling it chromeless misses the point as well as it exists only in our imaginations and if someone wants to play this game you have to assume other events have occurred during the interceding centuries that mitigate feature discoverability, i.e., they are voice-activated leaving the LCARS as mostly an output decoration. This lack of feature discoverability is one of the main criticisms of Metro ( "what do I click?" etc ). Using LCARS as a foil to excuse Windows 8 chromeless guess-what-you-should-do interface is sad really. It is also a fabrication since we are talking about 2007-2010, not 1997 when the series was over or 1987 when it began.. I would love to see this alleged important designer back up that claim, but of course he cannot. Furthermore, if you see some of the LCARS screenshots from the series ( again, they are props, made of illuminated plexiglass, they are art ), but they would still serve a better purpose than the current Windows abomination due to much higher information density ...

zFXVFK4.jpg

KBS8YmU.jpg

g0pRP3r.jpg

mdXJdiB.jpg

( originals: 1, 2, 3, 4 )

Shortly after that post on Dec 30, a NeoWin global mod stepped in and took him to the woodshed questioning his credentials. No reply back as yet. I do not want to be seen as piling on the guy, he probably means well but I suspect he is one of many wannabe softies out there who did something for them in the past and is proud of it but mistakes that for importance in the big picture. And besides, why would anyone want to claim a significant part of the current fiasco is beyond me.

But back to the main point I want to make. When he offered that comment in the Register ( and on his blog ) last June he said many things, for example that Microsoft was worried about Apple letting the Mac OS be sold for any computer. Well they should worry. That would be the simplest way to take out their Windows cash cow. He also mentioned that WP7 was a pilot program for designs suggested for Blackcomb. The gist of the comment is rationalization which mirrors that of Jensen Harris. Here are the keys points he tried to pass off but are easily seen through as the real problem at Microsoft with the arrogance of believeing it is their right to decide how people work on their computers ...

As the person responsible for the original concept and a significant amount of the design work for Longhorn (which became Windows Vista), including Aero Glass, if anyone should have a problem with Metro it's me; but I don't.

The initial premise for Glass (as it was called back then, the Aero UX sprung up around the Glass model) was not - as most people believe - to provide eye candy for the end user. Instead, it was an attempt to pull the window chrome away from the content and make it as unobtrusive as possible. The whole point of the glass effect itself was to allow the end user to make better use of their screen real-estate by allowing them to see content beneath the active window.

The first concepts did exactly that - completely transparent window borders with floating titlebar controls, however, this proved distracting to the end user as when a window behind had a lot of text or otherwise "busy" content, the user had to fight to recognise the window caption. It was then that we decided to apply a blur filter to the surface beneath, still allowing recognition of the content beneath but without being distracting to the user. Many, many trials were done to ascertain the appropriate amount of blur, incidentally. Desktop compositing and the DWM window manager were born out of a desire to make this as smooth an experience for the end user. Things like Aero Peek and hover thumbnails were also designed to fit this goal of making the chrome less obtrusive.

Some of my other concepts promoted a VERY different approach to the user experience, much more in line with what is seen today in Windows 8. In fact, the premise for the shift in the desktop paradigm goes back as far as the early Blackcomb concepts first demoed by the MSN services division in 1999; it has ALWAYS been felt that the desktop itself is a rather clunky way of providing content to the end user, which is - after all - the purpose of computing devices, be they traditional desktops, laptops, phones, or even set-top boxes. Windowing systems were designed to allow users to work on multiple pieces of data in quick succession, and yet over the years usability studies have found that users rarely manipulate more than 2 documents simultaneously.

A radical shift away from the desktop metaphor WAS considered for Longhorn, but rejected for numerous reasons; primarily due to the scale of the undertaking that was already planned for Longhorn. Various features got dropped over the course of the development - NOT the ones that were complained about by the public and the media at the time - but other technologies first proposed in Cairo and later carried forward to Windows 7 - and the focus slowly shifted towards the HAL, networking and the Aero UX, luckily for myself.

One of the other reasons for keeping the traditional desktop paradigm was Mac OS X. There were rumours that Apple would be making the switch to x86 and there was always a possibility that they would open OS X up to non-Apple hardware, in either a full or limited capacity. It was felt - most notably by Jim Allchin - that the familiarity of the Windows interface would offer people a strong incentive to upgrade to Vista, rather than exploring alternatives. Linux has never been considered a credible threat due to its inaccessibility to the average user, but OS X already had a niche - but highly vocal - following and was well-known by the public. The possibility of it being available as a competitor, which opening the OS up to generic hardware would have started, was a compelling reason to keep the familiar experience for those afraid of change.

Now, however, it's become clear that both OS X and Linux have been unable to provide a credible alternative to the general public, and so the plans for a content-centric interface were finally put into place. While some have suggested that Windows 8's interface is "touch-only" or "based on Windows Phone 7", that couldn't be further from the truth. Windows Phone 7 was instead a pilot program - in a relatively low risk sector - for the designs originally suggested for Blackcomb, which have now found their way into Windows 8. At the time, touch interfaces hadn't even been conceived of - remember, back then touch sensitive screens were Resistive nasties that required at best a stylus, or at worst jabbing at them hard with a finger or pen.

The fact is that Metro just happened to be easily accessible for touch devices, and that has been touted as one of its benefits; it is NOT, and never has been, the original aim of the design. The aim of the design is exactly the same as Aero was - to take the chrome away from the content, and allow the user to focus on what they're doing rather than unnecessary clutter. A perfect example of this is internet Explorer on Metro; in its default state, all you see is a webpage; chrome CAN be pulled up if the user requires, but is otherwise absent. The majority of Metro applications are like this - in fact it's part of the Metro UX specifications.

This has always been the way that computing has been going; customisation features have subtly been taken out of each successive version of Windows, as users have - on the whole - moved on from eye candy and instead focus on productivity. This isn't specific to the software sector; even social networking has experienced this shift - from the cluttered, flashing, marquee-laden MySpace profiles of 2003 to the clean, customization-free Facebook profiles of today.

Personally, I see Metro as a good thing; it allows me to do my work without distraction, and I'm just disappointed that I wasn't the one who did the design work for it this time around.

Yep. We're doing it wrong. We are distracted by the chrome. We cannot do our work. I think those of us on the outside should now have a pretty clear view of what kind of thinking is going on in the inside of Microsoft ( employee or not, this is the thinking they attract and nurture ). Nothing is really safe anymore. Anything is subject to change at a moment's notice. They would redesign the proverbial steering wheel if for no other reason than they can. Their rationalizations are lunacy. Telemetry is always popping up in their thinking even though they know full well it is tainted because very few savvy users will leave it enabled. Most importantly they break the cardinal rule of design which is do not fix what is not broken in the first place. No-one I know is demanding that Microsoft turn Windows into version 1.0 again because they are lost in the chrome and cannot see their content. There are far far more complaints that there is a lack of content to bother seeing.

Finally, every single complaint is easily bypassed by having settings that enable or disable items in question. Leaving them out is not a sensible option, it is controversial and arrogant and dictatorial. Worrying about battery life and power savings on computers without a battery is simply ridiculous. The mechanism for handling power and performance issues was already in place. This wheel did not need to be re-invented now, did it? ...

Upe7e.jpgcVRZR.jpg

So Microsoft screwed the pooch once again and are left wondering how much better the reception for Windows 8 would have been if they had not declared war on the Windows desktop and attacked their loyal veterans and proponents in the process. Those that write these rationalizations should ponder this and pat themselves on the back for helping to accelerate the death of what was probably the most important software ever written in the history of computers. Good work guys.

EDIT: typo, updated image URLs, and again

Edited by CharlotteTheHarlot
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For NO apparent reason :w00t: :

http://www.baara.com/q10/

There is no issue whatsoever with the concept of simplicity, and of having no distractions when working.

That is EXACTLY the reason why I don't want tiles telling me what the weather is, or what time is it or how is the Dow Jones going.

Anyhow, just as an example, I have open in this very moment:

12 (twelve) Explorer windows

2 (two) Browsers (Opera and Srware Iron) <- the OPera window is maximized to reply here)

1 (one) Virtual Machine (Qemu Manager)

1 (one) Vitual disk driver control panel (IMDISK)

2 (two) Hex Editor (Tiny Hexer) windows, one of which has additionally open a "structure viewer" windows

2 (two) Spreadsheets (Excel)

1 (one) Calculator

6 (six) Command Line prompts (open in different paths)

1 (one) PDF viewer (Foxit)

7 (seven) 7-zip windows (opening on different archives/paths)

I may be not particularly "organized" in the way I work, but I can assure you that there are REASONS why I have all these windows opened together and the ability to "tile" them and compare between them (and copy/paste among them).

jaclaz

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Fantastic commentary Charlotte, pulling together items from a variety of sources over time. :thumbup

Personally, I see Metro as a good thing; it allows me to do my work without distraction, and I'm just disappointed that I wasn't the one who did the design work for it this time around.

If this guy really did work on Longhorn, and he's correct that even back then the idea was to make the UI recede into the background, then the folks in Redmond have been even more clueless for far longer than I had imagined. It tells me that they simply don't get it. "Doing work" and "Metro" cannot appear in the same sentence, except as contrasting/contrary concepts. A chrome-free UI is preferable if you want to watch TV. But if you are trying to get work done, then you must interact with your software in order to process the information that you're working with. In this case it's better to have menus and commands immediately visible so that you can use them, instead of poking around trying to remember where they hide because some fool thought you'd be better off without seeing them. Having to start discovering commands in the midst of intense work on a file constitutes a much more serious interruption of the workflow than having them quietly sitting ready around the margins of our consciousness.

--JorgeA

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For NO apparent reason :w00t: :

http://www.baara.com/q10/

Haven't had time to check this out yet, but let me ask you where in your opinion that this editor falls in the scheme of things when compared to PFE32 ( very lightweight ASCII text editor), EDXOR ( a little more featured ) and UltraEdit ( full blown programmer package )?

Just wondering though, I will get to it eventually. I see they mention "portable" ( no registry I assume ? )

Always in the market for ASCII word processors with special functions, because I find it easier to have two or three different editors open rather than several instances of the same product. YMMV.

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Charlotte, I've been reading your posts here since a few days now. I am becoming a big fan!

Your audience here is a bit limited though. You should post some stuff on the Windows 8 forum on Microsoft's own turf:

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-us/w8itprogeneral/threads

I am "VeryBoringNickname" there and posted my fair share of W8 rants, too:

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w8itprogeneral/thread/2956149e-5ca6-4e5a-af76-d47547dc1a13/

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w8itprogeneral/thread/25174c9d-3e10-4fc0-9ee0-148fe09e85c2/

People like you are severly needed there!

Edited by Formfiller
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For NO apparent reason :w00t: :

http://www.baara.com/q10/

Haven't had time to check this out yet, but let me ask you where in your opinion that this editor falls in the scheme of things when compared to PFE32 ( very lightweight ASCII text editor), EDXOR ( a little more featured ) and UltraEdit ( full blown programmer package )?

Just wondering though, I will get to it eventually. I see they mention "portable" ( no registry I assume ? )

Always in the market for ASCII word processors with special functions, because I find it easier to have two or three different editors open rather than several instances of the same product. YMMV.

It falls in the category of "simplicity".

It is simple, Full screen, portable.

See here:

http://www.dailyblogtips.com/q10-a-full-screen-minimalist-word-processor/

The idea is that when you write (in the sense of "create" something as opposed to "edit a document" or "make it pretty looking") you need no distractions, and nothing like a full screen text editor, with "reversed colours" (but these are customizable, of course) i.e. with a dark background and "amber monitor like" and with nothing else on the screen can help you reach and mantain the needed concentration and help your creativity flowing.

There are several Word Processors similar to it (i.e. sharing the same concepts) often called "zen word processors", Q10 is IMHO besides the smallest one, a good choice among them.

The more explicit "manifest" for them is Write Room (for Mac only):

http://www.hogbaysoftware.com/products/writeroom

and that of the correspondiing Dark Room (which needs .Net :ph34r:), please note the site address:

http://they.misled.us/dark-room

Talking of the good ol' days, you will have to pry out of my dead hands the copy of q I have.

And yes, these were not really "news", or you were not paying much attention :w00t::

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz
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Charlotte, I've been reading your posts here since a few days now. I am becoming a big fan!

Your audience here is a bit limited though. You should post some stuff on the Windows 8 forum on Microsoft's own turf:

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-us/w8itprogeneral/threads

I am "VeryBoringNickname" there and posted my fair share of W8 rants, too:

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w8itprogeneral/thread/2956149e-5ca6-4e5a-af76-d47547dc1a13/

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w8itprogeneral/thread/25174c9d-3e10-4fc0-9ee0-148fe09e85c2/

People like you are severly needed there!

Ah, well thanks so much for those kind words! But let me tell you that there are incredibly sharp commenters over there already ( look through this thread we were just discussing above ). In fact there are people addressing this Windows 8 fiasco pretty much everywhere. In fact, I would love to find a place that this controversy does not exist, because it really does far surpass the Vista wars just 6 years back.

Also, please stick around and don't sell this MSFN forum short, because IMHO it has to be one of the best ( probably the actual best ) moderated forum still going, with zero spam and a very sensible moral code on language and such. There are so many great commenters ( too many to even name ) here at MSFN with such a wide range of expertise that I couldn't really leave if I wanted to.

P.S. I do in fact post in other sites on occasion ( different handles of course ). Have been for all too many years now. And thanks again for the nice compliments. ( ~Blushing~ ) Finally, even if important discussions are taking place on different forums, we're only a quick URL link away from each other.

EDIT: I should have added that here on MSFN there are developers and regular tinkerers who have done the impossible ( well, according to Microsoft ) like allowing Win9x to address Gigabytes of RAM and Terabytes of HDD space ( or is it now Petabytes? ). There is a lot of real action here.\

EDIT2: if you are still here Formfiller, I have had a chance to read some of the threads at MSDN, TechBroil and [H]ardforum ( like this one ) and you are doing a bang-up job all by yourself :thumbup and you clearly have more patience with them than I can maintain! :lol: )

Edited by CharlotteTheHarlot
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