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Windows designer explains why Windows 8 is such a mess

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Windows 8 Design Criticism

Windows 8 Design Criticism

Microsoft knows that Windows 8 has been very polarizing to much of its user base but it feels that it had no choice but to try to implement some kind of touch-centric OS in a world where smartphones and tablets are eating into PC sales. Neowin has spotted some comments made by Microsoft UX designer Jacob Miller, who recently took to Reddit to explain why Microsoft made a lot of the design choices it did with Windows 8, including the original decision to make the Metro UI the default boot-up screen. What emerges is a portrait of a company trying its best to please two different audiences by trying to make two completely different operating systems and stapling them together.

Miller writes that Microsoft wanted to make the Metro UI mostly for more casual computer users who were flocking to iOS and Android devices because they offered simple and intuitive platforms for basic computing tasks. For power users, Microsoft kept the more familiar desktop mode that gave them access to more of the features they were accustomed to enjoying.

“Metro is a content consumption space,” he explains. “It is designed for casual users who only want to check facebook, view some photos, and maybe post a selfie to instagram. It’s designed for your computer illiterate little sister, for grandpas who don’t know how to use that computer dofangle thingy, and for mom who just wants to look up apple pie recipes. It’s simple, clear, and does one thing (and only one thing) relatively easily. That is what Metro is. It is the antithesis of a power user.”

Miller goes on to explain that the Metro UI is actually a good thing for power users, however, because it will let Microsoft add a lot more features for them in the desktop mode while keeping the Metro screen separate for all of the computer illiterates out there.

“Before Windows 8 and Metro came along, power users and casual users – the content creators and the content consumers – had to share the same space,” he says. “It was like a rented tuxedo coat — something that somewhat fit a wide variety of people. It wasn’t tailored, because any aggressive tailoring would make it fit one person great, but would have others pulling at the buttons.”

All of this sounds nice except Microsoft seems to have simultaneously annoyed both sets of users for different reasons: Power users don’t want to have to deal with Metro UI and more casua... on the desktop mode. Miller acknowledges that there’s been a lot of dissatisfaction with many of the changes that Microsoft made with Windows 8 but he says that the company is listening very hard to user feedback and will incorporate it into Windows 9 when it releases next year. In fact, Miller explicitly says that Windows 9 will be to Windows 8 what Windows 7 was to Vista.

“Windows 7 couldn’t have existed without the lessons we learned from the mess that was vista,” he writes. “Xp couldn’t have existed without 2000. Hopefully Windows 9 will be a solid refinement on all this.”

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A scary thought: This Halloween will mark the end of new Windows 7 consumer PCs [updated]


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When Will Windows 7 PCs Stop Being Made

When Will Windows 7 PCs Stop Being Made

If you want a new PC but would prefer to get one with Windows 7 instead of Windows 8, then you’d better realize that your window is slowly closing. Paul Thurrott writes that Microsoft has officially set a deadline of October 31st, 2014 as the last day it will allow manufacturing partners to preload the assort Home editions of Windows 7 onto new machines. After that point, every new consumer-targeted PC they make will need to have some variation of Windows 8. The good news for Windows 7 fans, however, is that they still might be able to get new Windows 7 PCs through their work even after the last new Windows 7 consumer PC has been sold because Microsoft has extended the deadline for OEMs to preinstall Windows 7 Pro onto business PCs.

UPDATE: This article’s original headline may have given the impression that October 31st would be the end of all Windows 7 PCs and not just consumer PCs. The headline has been changed to add this clarification. ZDNet’s Ed Bott also notes that OEMs will keep selling Windows 8 PCs that users can downgrade to Windows 7 Pro if they want through October 31st, 2015. So even if you buy a Windows 8 PC and don’t like it, there’s a good chance that you’ll still be able to downgrade it to Windows 7 if you want.

so oct 31st they're retirin windows 7 ?? funny but thats the same day i'm retirin too .. my 62nd birthday .. well i probably won't really retire .. but i'll slow down a lot .. maybe .. i think .. anyway none of this is a surprise to me .. as you might know i got a new computer a couple of months ago and did some pretty hard lookin at windows 8 vs. windows 7 and went with 7 .. this article said pretty much exactly what my conclusion was too.. microsoft was tryin to get into the phone game cause thats the way most of the younger crowd is gettin online nowadays so they tried to mashup two systems .. and they were pretty lackluster at both with 8 .. i'm sure 9 will be better cause 8 was a dismal failure .. but it did get their foot in the door and they had to start someplace .. but when you see that the number one app for 8 was the start button they took off well that says somethin don't it ?? they didn't think that thru .. betcha 9 will have a start button .. as i still don't have a phone i'll stick with 7 till they pry it from my cold dead hands .. maybe .. ehh .. we'll see .. 

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