Windows 8 — Disappointing Usability for Both Novice & Power Users

Windows 8 — Disappointing Usability for Both Novice & Power Users Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox.

I grabbed a copy of Windows 8 for browser testing for a number of reasons, primarily after discovering that there are differences between IE10 on Windows 7 and Windows 8 in a touch environment. While I realize those differences won’t really surface themselves while I’m running my testing workflow, it felt like getting an install of Windows 8 was appropriate for continued testing.

I’ve got to admit though: I was lost for the first hour. This comes after my peripheral reading reviews and watching screencasts using the operating systems. I knew about Metro and what it was designed to be. I read about the missing Start button and saw all the articles explaining how different it was. I’m not exaggerating though when I repeat that I was totally lost. I think Microsoft is a company full of very talented people so please don’t mistake the account of my experience as anti-Microsoft banter. I want to like Windows 8, I love competition and hoped Windows 8 might shake things up in just the right way.

Instead I often found myself triggering things I didn’t want to. Switching between ‘Metro’ and the more ‘desktop’ experience I’m used to when it comes to Windows. I constantly stumble with the hot corner implementation they have going on and just find myself more frustrated than not when using the OS. Perhaps if it were my daily driver my frustrations would subside but after reading Nielsen’s account it doesn’t sound like I’m alone.