Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 10th Jan 2007 16:35 UTC
Windows Millions of computer users participate in software beta programs every year, usually toiling away in anonymity, never quite sure if whatever they find or report will matter in the final product. Others find the experience a lot more fulfilling, such as the families that participated in Microsoft's Life with Windows Vista program. In addition to the more than 2 million testers of Vista, Microsoft selected 50 families from around the world and watched, in a reality TV kind of way, how they interacted with Vista, right out of the box with the first beta and all the way up to release to manufacturing.
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Microsoft did this before
by Ford Prefect on Wed 10th Jan 2007 16:45 UTC
Ford Prefect
Member since:
2006-01-16

Although they didn't want the families/households to try Windows XY, but other things like XBOX or the Media Center thing.

I think it's a rather good idea to have this approach on usability testing, additionally. Microsoft has enough money to afford it, too.

But I wonder how much they really learn from it. I don't see many key usability features in Windows ;) (Not that all of them were present in "the competition")

Reply Score: 3

Reality Show
by brewmastre on Wed 10th Jan 2007 17:32 UTC
brewmastre
Member since:
2006-08-01

"...Microsoft selected 50 families from around the world and watched, in a reality TV kind of way, how they interacted with Vista..."

I imagine it looked a lot like Survivor. And in the end, it was Vista that got kicked off the island.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Reality Show
by Bit_Rapist on Wed 10th Jan 2007 19:44 UTC in reply to "Reality Show"
Bit_Rapist Member since:
2005-11-13

I imagine it looked a lot like Survivor. And in the end, it was Vista that got kicked off the island

That was f**king great man, made me laugh. *thumbs up*

Reply Score: 3

More testing is always good
by ronaldst on Wed 10th Jan 2007 18:13 UTC
ronaldst
Member since:
2005-06-29

Now if MS could fix the ICS colour bug.

This OS is turning out a very solid release.

Reply Score: 2

RE: More testing is always good
by tomcat on Wed 10th Jan 2007 21:24 UTC in reply to "More testing is always good"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

What's the bug?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: More testing is always good
by ronaldst on Wed 10th Jan 2007 23:29 UTC in reply to "RE: More testing is always good"
ronaldst Member since:
2005-06-29

@tomcat

When in Windows Photo Gallery, the photos look fine in thumbnail mode. But when I open one to look at it, the white gets blue. I looked at the Vista forums, others have reported similar problem but their images get yellower. It's got something to do with their monitors colour profiles.

I don't get the problem in Irfanview. Only in Windows Photo Gallery and Fax and Preview.

Reply Score: 1

After watching 2 million
by netsql on Wed 10th Jan 2007 18:39 UTC
netsql
Member since:
2005-09-09

50 did not switch to OSX, KDE or GTK.

Those 50 used the PC as a door stop.

.V

Reply Score: 1

50 families
by r3m0t on Wed 10th Jan 2007 19:01 UTC
r3m0t
Member since:
2005-07-25

If you're wondering whether 50 families is really enough, read this article:

http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20000319.html

Reply Score: 1

stupid campaign!!!!
by dmc_dtc on Wed 10th Jan 2007 19:46 UTC
dmc_dtc
Member since:
2005-07-07

stupid moronic approach as expected from MS ... (yes i dont like MS and vista ;) but this is clearly new age trandy bull campaign.

Reply Score: 1

Nothing wrong with that
by Donny_S on Wed 10th Jan 2007 20:48 UTC
Donny_S
Member since:
2006-12-22

The problem is that MS is testing in a way that's biased toward their business model which is to sell more boxes where they and their partners can maintain dominance over the hardware makers. What I'm starting to learn is that I prefer the idea of software portability more than a "ball and chain" style of device integration. For simple photo scrapbooks, I actually prefer the Kodak picture stations where I don't have to buy, install, or learn anything, and can find one at any Walmart or Target. I also like the idea of multisession DVD's or USB key running GNU/Linux or whatever OS (should it matter?) which have the potential to run from any kiosk located anywhere perhaps without the need for a hard drive.

MS basically have reinvented the idiot box in living digital. The data-rape that Win-V boxes enable stand to benefit the collector(s) far more than the consumer. Win-V boxes in the home figure to provide many of the same functions traditionally enabled by discrete analog devices except that Win-V might be twice as expensive and half as reliable.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Nothing wrong with that
by tomcat on Wed 10th Jan 2007 22:38 UTC in reply to "Nothing wrong with that"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

What I'm starting to learn is that I prefer the idea of software portability more than a "ball and chain" style of device integration. For simple photo scrapbooks, I actually prefer the Kodak picture stations where I don't have to buy, install, or learn anything, and can find one at any Walmart or Target. I also like the idea of multisession DVD's or USB key running GNU/Linux or whatever OS (should it matter?) which have the potential to run from any kiosk located anywhere perhaps without the need for a hard drive

How are those examples of "software portability"? They're highly-integrated software/hardware scenarios. Who cares whether they're using GNU/Linux or Windows. Either way, the device integration is part and parcel of the vertical kiosk deployment.

Win-V boxes in the home figure to provide many of the same functions traditionally enabled by discrete analog devices except that Win-V might be twice as expensive and half as reliable.

Twice as expensive and half as reliable? Based on what evidence?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Nothing wrong with that
by stestagg on Thu 11th Jan 2007 08:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Nothing wrong with that"
stestagg Member since:
2006-06-03

Twice as expensive and half as reliable? Based on what evidence?

Well at least twice as expensive. HOME Linux installs typically cost 0 (that's $0 btw.) Installing Windows XP costs either from around 70 ($119 Walmart) OR whatever the cost of an OEM licence is. I make that 70/0 (divide by zero which tends to infinity.)

Half as reliable? I run Ubuntu Linux in VMWare on Windows. It has never crashed / been insecure / been unreliable (either system or apps) for me.
The host Windows OS however has (been surprisingly stable but) crashed on a number of occasions. So again, technically, for me, Windows is infinitely less stable than Linux.

Reply Score: 1

hrm
by perkyone on Wed 10th Jan 2007 22:32 UTC
perkyone
Member since:
2007-01-10

Bet they monitored the biggest PEBKAC's ever.

Reply Score: 1

families?
by zhulien on Thu 11th Jan 2007 01:10 UTC
zhulien
Member since:
2006-12-06

that just proves MS is making Windows for losers who know not much about computers!

Reply Score: 1

Linux should do this
by Cutterman on Thu 11th Jan 2007 17:42 UTC
Cutterman
Member since:
2006-04-10

But I suppose we'll just go on testing our nerdish interfaces on other nerds (if at all), and telling confused newbies to RTFM.

Ho Hum...

Reply Score: 1