Interesting video from Chris Pirillo posted on the Fixing Windows 8 blog. The video illustrates (quite effectively) the major usability issues with Microsofts new operating system. In the video, we see Chris’ dad trying to navigate between the Metro/Windows modes. It’s painful.
I noticed this problem when some of my colleagues returned from a Windows Developer Conference. They demoed a pre-release version of Windows 8. What struck me about Metro and the multi-modal environment was the expansive use of “magical gestures” that were used pervasively throughout. I made a comment that this was a major UX problem. There is no discoverability of these features. You just have to know a slew of new unintuitive gestures to interact with the operating system.
Since seeing this internal demo, my prediction has been: Windows 8 is going to be an utter disaster for the company. I think it will be on par - if not worse - than the Vista disaster of 2007. I hope I’m wrong, but unless they fix these UX problems post-haste, it’s going to be rough going.
This is a big gamble for Microsoft, but I have little confidence it will pay off. Metro is an interesting and fresh innovation, but I’m unconvinced it will have appeal outside of phones or tablets. Bolting it on as a separate side-car to a “Metro-ish” version of Windows is muddled and confused. Further confusing, is the apparent need to switch back and forth between these modes and lack of integration between them.