The Guardian: Microsoft’s Windows 8 is confusing as hell; an appalling user experience

“Since installing, I’ve learnt to regard Windows 8 as being two operating systems. One part I’ve been thinking of as Windows 7.1. The “classic desktop” bits of Windows 8 is just Windows 7, minus the Start orb, with a new theme to replace Aero,” Matthew Baxter-Reynolds reports for The Guardian.
“Day-to-day, I use a virtual machine for Windows development but use a Mac for everything else,” Baxter-Reynolds reports. “One of the things that Apple has been been criticised about on the iPad is that you have to jump in and out of apps to do anything. There’s a very thunk … thunk … thunk context switch to using an iPad. That’s nothing compared to life in a world where you’ve got a classic desktop and Metro-style.”

Baxter-Reynolds reports, ” I have two monitors… First thing you notice is that both monitors get a taskbar. That’s really confusing. But the reason becomes clear because if you open up the Windows 8 mail app – BLAM! – the thing takes over the whole of the primary monitor, obscuring the taskbar. The classic desktop remains running on the secondary monitor, with a taskbar. Click on anything on the secondary monitor and – SHOOM! – the mail app disappears because Windows thinks you’ve dropped out of Metro-style. What this does for you as you use it is a whole world of “wait … what?!” Trying to deal with Windows when your driving results in it flipping between classic Windows and Metro-style app is like having someone sneak up behind you and flick you on the ear when you’re least expecting it. This massive context switching of ‘YOU’RE IN WINDOWS WAIT NO NO YOU’RE NOT!’ creates an appalling user experience.”

“What we have then is a line item in Microsoft’s product catalogue called Windows 8 that’s either a hybrid of Windows 7.1 and an as-yet-unnamed operating system, or a bastardisation of both those things. Whatever the non-Windows 7.1 bits of Windows 8 are, it’s sure as hell not Windows,” Baxter-Reynolds reports. “At present, I’m not sure which word is fair. ‘Hybrid’ implies a thought-through combination of the best of features from Column A and from Column B. ‘Bastardisation’ implies a slapping together of mismatched features to achieve a level of supreme clunkiness.”

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