Major Changes to Windows 8 User Interface

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Traditional Windows Users “Thrown Under the Bus”

Computerworld recently conducted an interview with Jakob Neilson of the Neilson Normal Group. Neilson tests user interface systems, and is an expert on the subject. He stated that many users found issues with the new Windows 8 interface, and felt that the user interface is great for tablet computers and users but not for those used to the more traditional computers. His testing concluded with, “I just think when it comes to the traditional computer base, the office computer user, they’re essentially being thrown under a bus.”

Reinventing operating systems with smartphone users in mind. Image by Vernieman

Windows 7 introduced the ability to pin programs to the task bar for those applications used on a regular basis, but Windows 8 Modern user interface offers nothing like this. Any user who does not currently use a Windows phone will need to take time learning about the apps, searching for them in the Windows Store, and then figuring out how to use them.

Feeling like a Computer Novice

There are billions of people using Microsoft products around the world, many of those using PCs and laptops with a form of the Windows operating system. This is a dramatic change, and it may lead to many users feeling like novice computer users, including those who work on computers and program systems on a daily basis.

Microsoft’s Windows 8: Necessary Changes?

For Microsoft, the major changes that Windows 8 brings may be a reinvention that has been needed for a long time. Apple’s stocks are dropping, indicating that it may be in a decline, so Microsoft has to keep changing and inventing in an effort to push Apple off the top rung.

Apple reinvented the wheel by introducing the iPhone and the iPad, which became two of the biggest selling products in the technical world. Microsoft is now attempting to do the same.

Some previous employees of Microsoft believe that it is a step too far, however. Former executive of Microsoft, John Ludwig, stated “I don’t think any user was asking for that. They just want the current user interface, but better.”

Technology: Risks vs. Benefits

Microsoft is taking greater risks than Apple when it comes to creativity at this point, even if at least one of the main changes goes back to Windows 3.1 – the lack of the Start Button. Windows 8 has taken change to a whole new level, but has Microsoft made the right move? Users will suddenly need to think twice about using the Windows 8 operating system, and will need to spend time getting to know it – and some are already complaining about the restriction of Windows 8-compatible browsers to Internet Explorer 10. The Surface RT is the first to use the new OS, so it will be interesting to see the design when introduced on traditional computers and laptops.

Resources:

Gralla, P. User Interface Guru: With Windows 8, Microsoft Throws Users “Under the Bus”. (2012). Computerworld. Accessed October 28, 2012.

Wingfield, N. Fresh Windows, but Where’s the Start Button?. (2012). New York Times. Accessed October 28, 2012.

Briden, H. Microsoft Officially Launches Windows 8 and Surface RT Tablet. (2012). Know Your Mobile. Accessed October 28, 2012.

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