Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 14th Sep 2011 22:20 UTC
Windows This is mandatory listening and watching material for understanding the design methodology and ideas behind the Metro interface in Windows 8 (and thus, Windows Phone 7). All this sounds great in theory, and Jensen Harris, one of the minds behind Metro, is clearly passionate about it - and I love people who are passionate about their work. It's just that to me, the Metro UI doesn't seem to work very well for actual work. I want window management! I'm taking all this into account for an article on Metro in the Developer Preview. Stay tuned.
Order by: Score:
The RSS reader
by WorknMan on Wed 14th Sep 2011 22:29 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

At about the 5 minute mark, he shows a 'traditional' RSS reader app, and then shows a 'Metro-ized' version for comparison. IMHO, the traditional one shows far more useful information on the screen at once, and is the one I'd use. The Metro one is just eye candy.

These days, it seems that computing is more about eye candy than anything else, and form over function. This is especially evident on Android... you got vendors putting all of these fancy widgets on the screen that can sing and dance, and users chomping at the bit to throw on some live wallpaper, and then they complain because their device is sluggish and/or they have to recharge the f**king battery every 6 hours. It truly boggles my mind.

Reply Score: 5

RE: The RSS reader
by No it isnt on Wed 14th Sep 2011 22:42 UTC in reply to "The RSS reader"
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

I've never bothered with live wallpapers myself, but AFAIK, they don't use much battery at all. Android gets incredibly inconsistent battery usage, but in my experience that has more to do with apps that keep the phone awake or use background data all the time.

Reply Score: 2

RE: The RSS reader
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 14th Sep 2011 22:45 UTC in reply to "The RSS reader"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

yeah, reminds me of the Dos=> Win 3.11 transition. Windows versions were often less functional and stable than the previous dos versions. I avoided doing most things in windows. At least Win 8, like win3.1 did, has a way running the old apps the old way.

Reply Score: 2

RE: The RSS reader
by tomcat on Thu 15th Sep 2011 00:47 UTC in reply to "The RSS reader"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

IMHO, the traditional one shows far more useful information on the screen at once, and is the one I'd use. The Metro one is just eye candy.


No, I completely disagree. The legacy UI uses all sorts of tiny controls that simply aren't touch-friendly at all. You may be able to see more on the screen, but you can't touch and manipulate it with your fingers; which is the whole point of the Metro UI.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: The RSS reader
by Delgarde on Thu 15th Sep 2011 01:41 UTC in reply to "RE: The RSS reader"
Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

No, I completely disagree. The legacy UI uses all sorts of tiny controls that simply aren't touch-friendly at all. You may be able to see more on the screen, but you can't touch and manipulate it with your fingers; which is the whole point of the Metro UI.


But the reverse is also true. The purpose of a device is to let you access information - what's the point in being able to touch and manipulate stuff on the screen if the information you want isn't there?

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: The RSS reader
by WorknMan on Thu 15th Sep 2011 02:09 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The RSS reader"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

But the reverse is also true. The purpose of a device is to let you access information - what's the point in being able to touch and manipulate stuff on the screen if the information you want isn't there?


Plus, if you look at the screenshots of Reader HD on Android:

https://market.android.com/details?id=com.ageofmobile.reader

It still displays a lot more information than the Metro one, AND it's touch friendly. I know this, because I run it on my Asus Transformer ;)

Point being - that Metro one he shows off is just ass; it's for looks only.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: The RSS reader
by MollyC on Thu 15th Sep 2011 06:28 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: The RSS reader"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

From what I've seen, there's nothing preventing there being a Metro RSS reader that looks like that Android one. But I think that such RSS readers are going to look increasingly antiquated as time goes on.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: The RSS reader
by tomcat on Thu 15th Sep 2011 20:01 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: The RSS reader"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

From what I've seen, there's nothing preventing there being a Metro RSS reader that looks like that Android one. But I think that such RSS readers are going to look increasingly antiquated as time goes on.


Right, exactly. Nothing prevents Metro from apps from looking like the Android one. And if you watch the demos of the new Live Metro mail client, you see that that's basically how they implemented the UI.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: The RSS reader
by tomcat on Thu 15th Sep 2011 19:58 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The RSS reader"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

But the reverse is also true. The purpose of a device is to let you access information - what's the point in being able to touch and manipulate stuff on the screen if the information you want isn't there?


How you access the information -- touch -- trumps everything else.

Reply Score: 2

...
by Hiev on Wed 14th Sep 2011 23:31 UTC
Hiev
Member since:
2005-09-27

It is where the money is?

Not so sure.

Reply Score: 3

After having played with it...
by galvanash on Thu 15th Sep 2011 01:54 UTC
galvanash
Member since:
2006-01-25

I haven't done more than watch the video and play around with it briefly, but I like a lot of what I'm seeing. I'm primarily a developer / content creator and see everything through those blinders - so I don't know if this will ever be right for me, but I do "get it".

Even with it being rough around the edges it is already a couple orders of magnitude better than "traditional" Windows as far as how the UI works - with the caveat that the point should be to serve the majority of the market, not content creators and developers.

This UI serves the 70% or so of users that define content creation as typing up an occasional email and maybe writing a school paper - and it does so MUCH better than traditional GUIs. Metro is already more than good enough for that. But it does so in a way that when you are ready to move up to "complex" content creation there is also a UI underneath geared towards power users.

People like me and the others that read this site simply have a hard time grasping this - most people (yes most) simply do not and never will understand how to use a traditional desktop effectively. They don't get drag and drop. They don't get overlapping windows. They don't get managing files. They don't get any of it. Traditional desktops were built for us (power users) - and everyone else is expected to figure it all out just to be able to do even the simplest of things...

What they want is something that gives them a sense of comfort - not something that gives them power. Metro is comfortable. There are some rough edges certainly, but it's simple, it's discoverable, and most importantly it's not scary. There is not a sense of "if I touch the wrong thing something will happen that I'm not ready for - I won't know what to do"...

Although it certainly looks nice and obviously quite a bit of thought went into the overall look and feel of things, none of that really matters. That is so far from what this is about that I find it astonishing that anyone would say it is "just eye candy".

This is a UI to allow non-computer users to actually use a computer without being nervous. It may be good enough for some types of complex content creation, but even if it isn't it just doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things (there is still a traditional desktop underneath).

In my opinion Metro is essentially about taking the lessons learned from iOS, and going back to the drawing board and trying to do it better. Microsoft has the benefit of having watched how iOS developed, but to their credit they didn't just copy it, they rethought it and ended up with something very different. And they didn't just address mobile - they addressed everything in one stroke.

If you think it is just eye candy think about your grand mother or your 7 year old child - put yourself in their shoes. This is finally a UI that is designed for them.

If Apple and the rest of the mobile industry isn't worried they should be. When Windows 8 ships it will increase the appeal of Windows Mobile devices immensely. I smell a major market shift coming...

Reply Score: 4

RE: After having played with it...
by WorknMan on Thu 15th Sep 2011 02:15 UTC in reply to "After having played with it..."
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

This UI serves the 70% or so of users that define content creation as typing up an occasional email and maybe writing a school paper - and it does so MUCH better than traditional GUIs. Metro is already more than good enough for that. But it does so in a way that when you are ready to move up to "complex" content creation there is also a UI underneath geared towards power users.


The problem is that, based on the keynote I saw, it is clear that MS has every intention to replace that 'UI underneath' with Microsoft Bob... er, I mean... Metro. That is, until 4-5 years goes by and they come out with another 'killer' interface, and then we'll have 4 APIs running side-by-side instead of 3.

If they planned to run them in harmony, with metro for grandmas and other tech tards and the 'classic' desktop for the rest of us, then it would be fine. Clearly though, that is NOT what they have in mind. This is yet another example of the war on power users that's going on in the tech industry.

Reply Score: 5

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

The problem is that, based on the keynote I saw, it is clear that MS has every intention to replace that 'UI underneath' with Microsoft Bob... er, I mean... Metro.


That is not the impression I got at all. I did not see the keynote, but I did see the developer presentation given by the Jenson Harris. He specifically gave Photoshop as an example of a traditional mouse driven content creation app - where all the chrome makes sense . He did not make it sound like MS thinks something like photoshop should be done in Metro...

I do think MS would like to see apps like this done in Metro, but I think they also realize to do so will take ALOT of careful work on the developers part and even then the fit may not turn out to be so good. Yes, they are certainly pushing Metro - but what else would they do? Regardless, the traditional desktop isn't going away for a while...

Reply Score: 2

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

most people (yes most) simply do not and never will understand how to use a traditional desktop effectively.

This is a UI to allow non-computer users to actually use a computer without being nervous.


I don't buy this at all. For one, no-one who was born in the last 20-30 years are afraid of computers. Computers are a part of everyday life now, they're not mystery boxes that only scientists in white lab-coats can operate and understand. They may not be experts but they sure know enough to operate a computer and not "be afraid" of it.
Secondly people aren't idiots. This mentality that most people (which usually mean "people not as smart as me", with smart being a very subjective metric) can not, and do not want, to learn just bugs me to no end.
It's this kind of condescending attitude that turn people off and that make them consider "computer users" arrogant bastards.
My wife has no problem using a computer (and she grew up on poverty) and neither has my daughter. Granted there's obviously things that can be improved but this whole "people are afraid of computers and we must make computers idiot-simple" thing is nonsense.

Edited 2011-09-15 03:48 UTC

Reply Score: 5

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

I don't buy this at all. For one, no-one who was born in the last 20-30 years are afraid of computers. Computers are a part of everyday life now, they're not mystery boxes that only scientists in white lab-coats can operate and understand. They may not be experts but they sure know enough to operate a computer and not "be afraid" of it.


This is a viewpoint I shared for a long time. I shared it because I wrote software for people like me and you. I now work in a job where I have to build software for "normal" people much of the time, and my views have changed drastically...

This is from wikipedia:

A study published in the journal Computers in human behavior was conducted between 1992 and 1994 surveying first-year college students across various countries.[2] The overall percentage of the 3,392[3] students who responded with high-level technophobic fears was 29%.[3] In comparison, Japan had 58% high-level technophobes, India had 82%, and Mexico had 53%.[3]

A published report in 2000 stated that roughly 85 to 90 percent of new employees at an organization may be uncomfortable with new technology, and are technophobic to some degree.[4]


It's not just my opinion, there is hard science behind my reasoning. A lot of people are scared of computers - that is just fact.

Secondly people aren't idiots. This mentality that most people (which usually mean "people not as smart as me", with smart being a very subjective metric) can not, and do not want, to learn just bugs me to no end.


I never said they didn't want to learn. They are scared. That is not the same thing. They are scared because they don't like feeling stupid... If you give someone something and keep telling them "this is easy, anyone can do it!" and they find out through repeated trial and error it ISN'T easy, they think they are either stupid for not getting it or that everyone is lying to them. Well most people feel the former, while the truth is really the later.

I'm not arrogant. I don't say this because I feel superior in some way to most people. Understanding the nuts and bolts of how a computer and it's software work should be reserved for people that need to know these things, or at least want to know them. We should at least recognize the fact that lots of very intelligent people simply don't use them effectively. It isn't because they are stupid, it's because they aren't designed right. Anything that is a step in the direction of making computers easier to "get" for the average person is a good thing.

Edited 2011-09-15 04:56 UTC

Reply Score: 4

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

So you think that general-purpose computing has no future and that people should have to learn several interfaces over the course of their life to get stuff done, part of which you consider too complicated yourself ?

I agree that there's a problem with current GUIs, but I don't think that removing complexity altogether is the solution. Complexity is needed sometimes. What must disappear is unneeded complexity, or complication, and this is a very different problem.

Electric switches can be used to make plane cockpits, that are too complex for untrained peoples. Does it mean that we should get rid of them in every consumer device ?

Reply Score: 1

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

So you think that general-purpose computing has no future and that people should have to learn several interfaces over the course of their life to get stuff done, part of which you consider too complicated yourself ?


Wow. Where did I say that? I think general purpose computing has PLENTY of future, in fact I think it is growing rapidly and the number of people who will actually use a computers in a complex content creation or scientific capacity is just going to keep going up.

At the same time, I recognize that is not the only way computers are used. They are also becoming more prominent as information consumption and entertainment devices. For many, many people this is primarily what they are used for. A UI that is primarily tailored towards this use case seems to make lots of sense to me. I don't see why people see this as a bad thing...

I agree that there's a problem with current GUIs, but I don't think that removing complexity altogether is the solution. Complexity is needed sometimes. What must disappear is unneeded complexity, or complication, and this is a very different problem.


And that is exactly what I see Windows 8 doing. In fact that is what distinguishes it from iOS - it doesn't throw the baby out with the bath water. iOS was a great effort at simplification, and obviously it has worked to some degree - consumers "get" it and like it. But as you say, sometimes complexity is needed - and iOS is too oversimplified. Windows 8 / Metro seems to have a bit more meat on the bone so to speak - there is more to it and functionally I think the UI paradigms it introduces have a lot more potential for effective, even powerful interfaces. But it also has a fallback mechanism. You don't lose the ability to have complex interaction with the machine - it is simply pushed back into a different mode of operation (i.e. classic desktop).

It is 2011. We STILL use CLI interfaces. We will STILL use them 10 years from now, probably more. They are not going away anytime soon. Why? Because they are the best way to interact with a computer for certain tasks. Everyone said GUIs would kill them off, and everyone was wrong. But that doesn't mean GUIs are bad, they are just different and are better for some things than CLIs.

Metro is trying to do the same thing in a sense. Im not saying it is perfect or anything, but it is trying to make a UI suitable for normal people - something they will naturally like to use rather than something they have to work hard at learning to use. It will NOT kill off traditional window oriented UIs for a long time - but that doesn't mean it is bad...

Electric switches can be used to make plane cockpits, that are too complex for untrained peoples. Does it mean that we should get rid of them in every consumer device ?


No. But it does mean we shouldn't model consumer devices after airplane cockpits...

Edited 2011-09-15 13:54 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

"So you think that general-purpose computing has no future and that people should have to learn several interfaces over the course of their life to get stuff done, part of which you consider too complicated yourself ?"

Wow. Where did I say that? I think general purpose computing has PLENTY of future, in fact I think it is growing rapidly and the number of people who will actually use a computers in a complex content creation or scientific capacity is just going to keep going up.

At the same time, I recognize that is not the only way computers are used. They are also becoming more prominent as information consumption and entertainment devices. For many, many people this is primarily what they are used for. A UI that is primarily tailored towards this use case seems to make lots of sense to me. I don't see why people see this as a bad thing...

I wanted to reply to the post where you both said that Metro was the way to go because it was accessible and that the traditional desktop would be necessary for serious content for a long time. Then the tediousness of cellphone browsing made me click a "reply" button a bit to early. Many apologies.

My problem with this philosophy is that it segregates users into two relatively large groups : those who do "complex" content creation (which can be something as commonplace as writing a CV in Word), and those who just use their computer as a consumer device.

This means two parallel codebases to maintain, two unrelated sets of usage patterns to master, two different computer handling philosophies... Even if OSs try to do both, it will always feel schizophrenic and uncomfortable and be harder to learn. Kind of like desktop Linux : you have pretty nice GUIs for some common functionality, but must dive in an unrelated interface based on CLI and text config files for anything advanced.

I see this dual-interface strategy as an attack towards the concept of a general-purpose personal computing device, presenting a unified interface that's easy to grasp for the newcomer and the consumer, but keeping around the ability to manipulate more complex stuff.

"I agree that there's a problem with current GUIs, but I don't think that removing complexity altogether is the solution. Complexity is needed sometimes. What must disappear is unneeded complexity, or complication, and this is a very different problem."

And that is exactly what I see Windows 8 doing. In fact that is what distinguishes it from iOS - it doesn't throw the baby out with the bath water. iOS was a great effort at simplification, and obviously it has worked to some degree - consumers "get" it and like it. But as you say, sometimes complexity is needed - and iOS is too oversimplified. Windows 8 / Metro seems to have a bit more meat on the bone so to speak - there is more to it and functionally I think the UI paradigms it introduces have a lot more potential for effective, even powerful interfaces.

I don't know... Some of the Metro design elements showcased on the article's video seem a bit counter-productive to me. The "feel alive" and "as little chrome as possible" parts in particular leave me wondering. But let's give them the benefit of doubt for now...

But it also has a fallback mechanism. You don't lose the ability to have complex interaction with the machine - it is simply pushed back into a different mode of operation (i.e. classic desktop).

Do we need a different mode of operation ? Can't we clean up the classic desktop until it becomes friendly enough for everyone ? Not a pure content consumption interface, not a mess of power-user features either, just a well-organized and clean generic information processing, I/O, and storage tool, mirroring the genericity of computer hardware.

The beauty of computers are that they can be programmed to do everything. Why equip them with specialized interfaces that restrict this power, even though stacking up enough interfaces side by side would result in something relatively general purpose ?

It is 2011. We STILL use CLI interfaces. We will STILL use them 10 years from now, probably more. They are not going away anytime soon. Why? Because they are the best way to interact with a computer for certain tasks. Everyone said GUIs would kill them off, and everyone was wrong. But that doesn't mean GUIs are bad, they are just different and are better for some things than CLIs.

Well, a pure CLI interface like bash feels, in my debatable opinion, quite out of place in a GUI environment, and the CLI/GUI synergy is one of the main reasons why desktop Linux is not for everyone. The CLI interfaces which I enjoy most today (search engines, IDEs, computational software...) are actually CLI/GUI hybrids, which have managed to keep the speed, purity and power of CLI interfaces, and combine it with the discoverability, information density, and fun factor of GUIs.

Metro is trying to do the same thing in a sense. Im not saying it is perfect or anything, but it is trying to make a UI suitable for normal people - something they will naturally like to use rather than something they have to work hard at learning to use. It will NOT kill off traditional window oriented UIs for a long time - but that doesn't mean it is bad...

It is not generally bad, but I believe that like iOS it is limited in purpose and range of applications. That could prove to be a significant problem for something like desktop Windows, which aims at being a general-purpose OS.

"Electric switches can be used to make plane cockpits, that are too complex for untrained peoples. Does it mean that we should get rid of them in every consumer device ?"

No. But it does mean we shouldn't model consumer devices after airplane cockpits...

Point taken !

Edited 2011-09-15 20:51 UTC

Reply Score: 2

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

My problem with this philosophy is that it segregates users into two relatively large groups : those who do "complex" content creation (which can be something as commonplace as writing a CV in Word), and those who just use their computer as a consumer device.

SNIP...

Even if OSs try to do both, it will always feel schizophrenic and uncomfortable and be harder to learn.

Kind of like desktop Linux : you have pretty nice GUIs for some common functionality, but must dive in an unrelated interface based on CLI and text config files for anything advanced.


It depends... Again, I'm not completely sold on Metro - I think it is a good start and this is the right direction and all, but it is lacking in some ways. That said, Windows still has a CLI. When you buy a book on how to use Windows you probably won't find much if any coverage of the command line or its usage. Same with OSX. But it is still there, because it is sometimes really, really useful. Its mere existence is not a barrier to learning the basic (even advanced) usage of either OS (unlike Linux), but there can be many benefits if you want to delve into it and some people do. It was not always like this though - back during the Windows 3.1/95 days saying "you don't need to know DOS at all" was simply not true. Things evolve...

I see the relationship between Metro and the traditional GUI the same way. It will be a long while until anyone can say "you really don't need to mess with the classic desktop", but it will get there eventually. People using Windows say "you really don't need to know the command line" all the time - its mostly true... but its still there and some people cannot live without it.

Do we need a different mode of operation ? Can't we clean up the classic desktop until it becomes friendly enough for everyone? Not a pure content consumption interface, not a mess of power-user features either, just a well-organized and clean generic information processing, I/O, and storage tool, mirroring the genericity of computer hardware.


Well we have been trying for 25 years... And almost every operating system in existence has had to give way to having at least 2 interface modes (GUI + CLI) - even Apple gave up on GUI only... Its not ideal, but it is practical.

The beauty of computers are that they can be programmed to do everything. Why equip them with specialized interfaces that restrict this power, even though stacking up enough interfaces side by side would result in something relatively general purpose ?


I have yet to see a UI that is simple enough for consumer use and powerful enough for expert use... If someone builds one Ill be the first to applaud it - but until then we have to make do.

Well, a pure CLI interface like bash feels, in my debatable opinion, quite out of place in a GUI environment, and the CLI/GUI synergy is one of the main reasons why desktop Linux is not for everyone.


See my previous commment... Windows and OSX and virtually everything else still has CLIs too. If you don't need it and never use it then it amounts to one icon (which you can delete) buried in your start menu - ironically much the same way that the classic desktop is buried in Metro.

It is not generally bad, but I believe that like iOS it is limited in purpose and range of applications. That could prove to be a significant problem for something like desktop Windows, which aims at being a general-purpose OS.


No doubt. I think it has legs though, but I'm just a guy with an opinion. Well see I guess.

Reply Score: 2

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

About current OSs combining GUI and CLI : I think this is different. I haven't ever needed to touch the Windows CLI for anything but extremely geeky stuff as far as I can remember. Today, the only thing I'd need a CLI for on Windows is OS development. Same for OS X. On those OSs, CLI has become a very specialized interface, which most people can live without.

My gripe with Windows 8 is that, like on desktop Linux, most people will have to use the secondary interface at some point, to learn two different UI paradigms over the course of their lives. This is what looks suboptimal for me.

I have yet to see a UI that is simple enough for consumer use and powerful enough for expert use... If someone builds one Ill be the first to applaud it - but until then we have to make do.

Depends what you call expert, I guess. If it means "people who use a computer at work" in a general sense (experienced users of Office, Photoshop, AutoCAD, ...), I think it is doable, but we just haven't tried hard enough yet ;)

Reply Score: 1

treborky Member since:
2011-09-15



This is from wikipedia:

A study published in the journal Computers in human behavior was conducted between 1992 and 1994 surveying first-year college students across various countries.[2] The overall percentage of the 3,392[3] students who responded with high-level technophobic fears was 29%.[3] In comparison, Japan had 58% high-level technophobes, India had 82%, and Mexico had 53%.[3]

A published report in 2000 stated that roughly 85 to 90 percent of new employees at an organization may be uncomfortable with new technology, and are technophobic to some degree.[4]


That study is 17 years old. Perhaps you might find something more up-to-date and then this would lend more weight to your point of view.

Reply Score: 1

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Yes, it is 17 years old. But it was a quite thorough stud so it is cited often. If I find something more current I will happily post it, but the age of the study doesn't really change the point much.

The people in this study are now in their 40s... These are the people currently running the world so to speak. They are not "old" - they are simply middle aged adults.

Yes, I would completely agree with anyone saying that this problem has lessened somewhat over time. People who grow up with computers are much more likely to feel comfortable with using them. But that isn't the whole story - while the younger generation is much less likely to fear technology they are also much less likely to spend a great deal of time learning the details.

People who were kids in the 80s had the benefit of growing up WITH home computers - they were devices that fascinated and frightened adults and were therefore very intriguing to children. Anything your parents don't understand is tempting for a child...

That is no longer the case - kids grow up with parents that use them. They are not fascinating anymore, they are simply a reality now - the thrill is gone. Kids just want to use them to get things done, to play a game, or to chat with their friends. If you want to build devices that these people WANT to use you have to change with the times.

Reply Score: 2

treborky Member since:
2011-09-15

..., but the age of the study doesn't really change the point much.

In fact, the age of the study completely changes the point. Your point was that a lot of people are scared of computers. What you actually showed was that between 1992 - 1994 a lot of people were scared of computers. Your statement was about here and now but the data you provided was from 17 years ago. How about we use data from the 1920's to make statements about here and now ? Still think age of the study doesn't make a difference ?

...while the younger generation is much less likely to fear technology they are also much less likely to spend a great deal of time learning the details.

Either add "In my opinion" to the start of this sentence or provide a source.

Reply Score: 1

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

In fact, the age of the study completely changes the point. Your point was that a lot of people are scared of computers. What you actually showed was that between 1992 - 1994 a lot of people were scared of computers. Your statement was about here and now but the data you provided was from 17 years ago. How about we use data from the 1920's to make statements about here and now ? Still think age of the study doesn't make a difference ?


I get what you are saying, but that is the latest study I could find with details - and frankly 17 years is not that long for this kind of targeted study (they don't do studies like this very often on this scale). There are lots of random percentages thrown around on the intertubes from various studies, but the one I quoted has details (it is linked from the wikipedia article).

I would add, however, that even the random "in a recent XXX study on technophobia" you might find on Google, I rarely see a number less than 30% for the US - but since I don't know the details of how the study was done it doesn't mean much to me.

Regardless, that is how statistics works... You work with the latest data you have. If you have any data that would counter mine be my guest and post it. I don't have any doubt that technophobia has gone done some, but significantly? I seriously doubt it. But be my guest and post what you find.



"...while the younger generation is much less likely to fear technology they are also much less likely to spend a great deal of time learning the details.


Either add "In my opinion" to the start of this sentence or provide a source.
"

Since this is a public forum, and I am writing under an alias, maybe you should assume that everything written here is opinion unless qualified otherwise. I do not feel like starting off every sentence I write with "In my opinion" - so when I write something that is NOT opinion I will say so.

Reply Score: 2

laffer1 Member since:
2007-11-09

The problem with this study is the software that was available at the time. It assumes that windows 3.1 was easy to use. Most people back then had trouble with computers and didn't have Internet access.

Users are smarter now than they were in 1994 and the software is much easier to use. I would bet that Windows 7 would score much better than Windows 3.1 on usability

My mother couldn't print a document in 1994 but now she can write a word document, post on facebook and so forth. Younger people grew up with computers and they get it.

Making them dumber in 1994 would have been a great idea. Making them dumb AFTER everyone figured out how to use a computer that wanted to is stupid.

Reply Score: 1

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

It's not just my opinion, there is hard science behind my reasoning.


Hard science that is by now almost 20 years old. The people I'm talking about would barely have been born at that point in time.

If you give someone something and keep telling them "this is easy, anyone can do it!" and they find out through repeated trial and error it ISN'T easy, they think they are either stupid for not getting it or that everyone is lying to them.


This isn't a computer problem, it's a teaching problem.

It isn't because they are stupid, it's because they aren't designed right.


Or maybe they did not receive the appropriate training.

Reply Score: 2

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

So I'm someone who has a computer to watch netflix, send an occasional email or post on facebook, and maybe write a paper or touchup a photo.

Your saying I need training? If computers frustrate me it is because of a lack of teaching? Like it or not we are talking about a consumer device being used by a consumer - the fact that it can also do a hell of a lot more doesn't change the fact that many people don't use it that way.

If you keep building things the way computer users like them well guess what, the only people that will buy them are computer users... If iPads were designed the way most geeks said they wanted them it would have failed horribly - that is simply fact.

Let me be clear, I'm not on a holy mission to dumb down computers or anything like that, far from it. I just think that the idea of making them more accessible to a wider audience is not only the right thing to do, but it will help the industry in the long run.

Reply Score: 2

dragossh Member since:
2008-12-16

Why do computers need to become simple? Tablets can do everything a consumer wants, I don't see why computers have to become dumbed down too. The whole point of having a PC is that you *can* do more complex tasks than with a tablet.

Reply Score: 3

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Why do computers need to become simple? Tablets can do everything a consumer wants, I don't see why computers have to become dumbed down too.


Well I could come up with a whole bunch of philosophical reasons, but I won't do that. The real reasons are very practical.

If computers don't become easier to use then people who feel that "tablets can do everything a consumer wants" will buy tablets instead... They will simply stop buying computers, or just as bad sit on their 5+ year old model and use it for little more than syncs, updates, and backups for the tablet.

The market started out with the view that tablets are "companion" devices. Now reality has set in and Microsoft et al. are realizing that tablets are not companions to PCs, they are competition - and if they don't do something about it soon they will start losing market share to them. The funny part is that this is NOT an issue of form factor - the ease of use aspects and the appeal of a consumption oriented device is very relevant and has nothing to do with form factor or portability. iPads did not catch on solely because of their mobility or the touch interface, a great deal of their success is owed to the fact that they are just easier to deal with for the average person (i.e. the OS is designed with ease of use and simplicity in mind).

Secondly, tablets ARE computers. There are tangible advantages of having a unified software ecosystem between mobile and desktop computers. Apple is at a decisive disadvantage because of this. Since Microsoft has repeatedly failed to adapt their desktop software to mobile devices they are approaching the problem from the opposite side of the equation. It may not work either, but it certainly is the better of the two approaches.

Fact is, whether geeks (i.e. you and me) like it or not, this is the way it is going to go down. The only way to continue growing the PC industry is to get new customers - people who either have never bought a PC before or are sitting on an ancient one but feel no desire to upgrade.

ps. We have all had this argument before btw. I'm old enough to remember going through it the first time around. Everyone said GUIs were the "dumbing down" of the computer industry - real users used CLIs. Here we are 25 or so years later. CLIs are still in use, and in fact are enjoying something of a resurgence in certain usage scenarios. But few people (even hard code CLI users) completely discount the value of a GUI. This whole Metro/iOS/ChomeOS thing going on is the end of incremental improvement and the beginning of the new GUI wars...

I do not know what will end up winning out in the end - but I do know that in 5-10 years the screen you are looking at when you turn on your computer at home will NOT be anything at all like what you are looking at today. I doubt the "conventional" GUI interface we are all used to will be completely relegated to history, but it will at the least be hidden by default and most people won't ever touch it (much like the CLI is today).

People can mod me down all they want for saying it, but I'm right ;)

Reply Score: 1

treborky Member since:
2011-09-15

Anyone remember a program called "Beyond 2000" ? I for one thought it was great. It used to show the coolest new things and talk about how beyond the year 2000 everybody would be using them and this was the future. How in 10 years time we wouldn't recognise the world we live in. They were completely wrong but it was very entertaining nonetheless.

Reply Score: 0

RE: After having played with it...
by Luminair on Thu 15th Sep 2011 22:19 UTC in reply to "After having played with it..."
Luminair Member since:
2007-03-30

I agree. Microsoft is making the perfect user interface for a microwave or a mall toilet. (that was a joke) (and serious)

Reply Score: 4

Metro 'does not work for work'
by shotsman on Thu 15th Sep 2011 06:04 UTC
shotsman
Member since:
2005-07-22

Thom,
That is a perfect comment. nothing else need be said. For the majority of IT workers Metro will be yet another totally annoying and frustrating thing to come out of Redmond. Like Clippy, BOB before it, it will be come ridiculed.
I predict that upon taking delivery of their shiny new Windows 8 PC the first thing that the majority will do, will be to disable Metro. If MS decrees that you can't (in the released software) then I would have to say, they have totally lost it and no amount of chair throwing will put it right.
IMHO, If there is one UI that will persuade businesses from upgrading, this is it.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Metro 'does not work for work'
by MollyC on Thu 15th Sep 2011 06:41 UTC in reply to "Metro 'does not work for work'"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

And I think you and Thom have extremely limited vision and limited imagination. Yours and Thom's rhetoric reminds me of "tech savvy" folks that talked of how superior the command line was to GUIs back in the day, and the command lines were better for doing actual work and that folks would disable GUIs to stick with command lines.

Reply Score: 1

Icaria Member since:
2010-06-19

And then GUI-only Mac OS got some real UNIX chops and MS released power shell and the majority of servers still use command-line driven interfaces. Never mind that every time you enter a URL or do a Google search or work with a spreadsheet, you're using a command-line interface.

The reports of the CLI's death have been greatly exaggerated.

Edited 2011-09-15 08:36 UTC

Reply Score: 4

shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

Please exaplain to Thom and myself how you are:-

Going to use two applications at the same time without lots more mous clicks. I see that Metro does not allow overlapping windows. Many, many businesses (to same money etc) cut/paste data from one app into another. Those users will be mightily peed off if that previously simple task is suddenly made a whole lot more difficult all in the name of progress...

Then...

Where I work, our customer service people have at least three apps open all the time. One to record the call and two to help them give instant diagnosis etc. With metro I see us going back to the days of dumb terminals (one screen at a time). I can fondly remember being told to 'hold on while I get to that screen' many times. Progress! Pah Fiddlesticks.

These people are measured on the numbers of calls they can handle per hour. This affects their income. They are going to be mightliy pissed off if 'the new system' reduced their income through no fault of their own...

Reply Score: 2

treborky Member since:
2011-09-15

I see that Metro does not allow overlapping windows.

You are correct in saying this but it does allow more than one window on the screen at a time. You can "snap" windows to each side of the screen so this would allow at least 3 windows. I don't know if you can add more or not.

That being said, having played with Windows 8 for a few hours yesterday I mostly agree with your points. Metro is slow to use, managing windows is difficult and also slow. Switching applications is slow and Alt+Tab seems not to work. There doesn't seem to be a way to close an application that I could figure out easily. Did I mention it's slow ?

For phones and tablets I can see this working but not for PC's or for any serious work. I think Windows 7 is becoming the new XP and Windows 8 looks like it could become the next Windows Vista. That means that business users are gonna be holding on to see what Windows 9 holds. I wonder will they cut the legacy desktop from this or perhaps we will see a true split in Windows where Windows Home Edition comes with the Metro Interface and Windows Enterprise comes with the desktop interface ?

Edited 2011-09-15 10:35 UTC

Reply Score: 1

righard Member since:
2007-12-26

CLI aren't better than GUI's just as GUI's aren't better than CLI's. Like with everything both have a place in the computer ecosystem, and targeting everybody is impossible.

As a programmer I find working in a command-line much more productive and precise. Granted even trivial things can have a steep learning curve, which makes even me (as a cli-diehard) sometimes think: "ah, screw it I'll just download some gui-front-end" But for tasks which I preform often it always pays of to invest time in learning doing it via the command line.

However, for consumer applications I think command-lines are not the way to go. GUI can make applications seem a lot less intimidating, and because everything is much for discoverable the learning curve can be made almost horizontal.

I find working with text is much more efficient with a text interface, just as working with graphics would be much mare efficient in a graphical interface. Well you could try to design a flyer using ImageMagick but I think it would be hard to keep up with your competition ;)

On-Topic: Watching Microsoft from a distance they always seemed to be steering towards things like this Metro interface. To me it seems that Microsoft wants to be a company for average consumer. It seems (look at Bob) that they want to abstract everything away making computers as straightforward to use as say pen and paper. But it seems they are the victim of there own popularity, they have to drag this bag full over corporate- and power users, and backward compatibility with them on there way forward.
Maybe they should just split it entirely, continue Windows with the classical desktop, and start a new OS called Windows Metro or something for consumers.

Edited 2011-09-15 10:40 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Metro 'does not work for work'
by Icaria on Thu 15th Sep 2011 08:36 UTC in reply to "Metro 'does not work for work'"
Icaria Member since:
2010-06-19

I predict that upon taking delivery of their shiny new Windows 8 PC the first thing that the majority will do, will be to disable Metro. If MS decrees that you can't (in the released software) then I would have to say, they have totally lost it and no amount of chair throwing will put it right.


They've basically already done this. They might rethink it before RTMing Win8 but in the dev preview, the start menu takes you right back to Metro. They've already gutted a good part of the explorer shell - not to imply that the explorer shell was ever good.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by marcp
by marcp on Thu 15th Sep 2011 08:32 UTC
marcp
Member since:
2007-11-23

I can't find the words to describe how much i dislike this whole Metro concept. It it terribly inconvienient, counterintuitive, slow, childish [Fisher Price comes to mind, just like with XP Luna] and it breaks the whole lot of habits.
First of all - it is a TABLET UI. How many of us actually own a tablet? [PC-users]. I'd say not much.
Even though they try to force this Metro thing upon the whole world. Terrible.
Sometimes I'm really glad I dropped Microsoft OS scene some years ago.

Edited 2011-09-15 08:38 UTC

Reply Score: 2

I put Metro to the 'wife' test
by brewmastre on Thu 15th Sep 2011 11:56 UTC
brewmastre
Member since:
2006-08-01

I distro-hop quite a lot, like I'm sure many OSnews and /. users do. At any given moment my wife can open up the laptop and be presented with KDE4, Ubuntu/Gnome, Ubuntu/Unity, Fedora/Gnome3, Enlightenment, or Haiku. Now, my wife can manage her way around a computer, but she is certainly not a geek like myself; that said, she can always figure out what to do and how to do it on any of those systems. Even with Gnome3, which so many seem to consider a train wreck, she does absolutely fine (almost makes it look effortless). Yesterday, my wife was presented with Metro...and there it was, the dear in headlights look. Finally after 5-10 seconds of shocked staring, she said, "Ok, I guess Internet Explorer should work...", and clicked the tile(is that what we call them now?) and IE snapped right to the surface. The problem then was "how does she do anything?". See, I had already used IE prior to here trying it, so there was a page already open. She was presented that previous page in a completely chromeless way that now amount of mouse movement seemed to fix. She could scroll up and down and use the current page, but had no idea that she had to right-click to bring up the controls for the app. This story seems to be consistent with all of the metro apps in Win8. Eventually I started searching the tubes for a way to disable the Metro interface and start menu. Finally I found a regisry key to update: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explo rer\RPEnabled...use at your own risk. For some, they say it's the sure-fire way to town the regular start menu on/off. For me it meant one thing, never being able to logon to Windows again. That's right, after changing that key from '1' to '0', I was then presented with an incomplete Windows logon screen that only gave me the option to Sleep or shutdown/restart. I really thought this little test would last longer, but it appears that Fedora will be reinstalled less than 24 hours since my Win8 install.

Reply Score: 2

neticspace Member since:
2009-06-09

to the 'wife' test

Wow.

Reply Score: 2

brewmastre Member since:
2006-08-01

Sorry if that was taken as some sort of derogitory or sexist statement, that was certainly not my intent. It would have made less sense if I called it the 'Rachel test'. My only point was that she is a very flexible person but far from a geek. Even with all of here exposure to so many different desktops, she still felt way out of her comfort zone with Metro...that should be a warning for Microsoft. Again, sorry if my title was a bad choice.

Reply Score: 2

RE: I put Metro to the 'wife' test
by phoenix on Sat 17th Sep 2011 02:48 UTC in reply to "I put Metro to the 'wife' test"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

That's my biggest gripe with Android and iOS apps: complete lack of 'discoverability'. There's no help menu. There's no consistency between apps on how things are doen. Some have popup menus, some have onscreen controls, some use gestures without any kind of list of them, etc.

Forcing users to press, long-press, double-press, swipe in every direction with various numbers of fingers, etc is better than showing standard icons in a toolbar, standard menus, and including F1 for help?

I can find my way around the most esoteric CLI and DE GUIs, but am absolutely lost when it comes to most iOS and Android apps.

Bringing that same environment to the desktop *IS* a major step backward. 'Discoverable' is not a synonym for 'no idea what anything does so just click randomly'.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by shollomon
by shollomon on Thu 15th Sep 2011 21:12 UTC
shollomon
Member since:
2008-07-06

Win 8 dual booting on with Win 7 on a Dell XPS 15z. Runs reasonably smooth install went pretty well, drivers worked. But the metro interface on a laptop is awful. I would not care to run the standard windows desktop on a tablet and I do not care for metro on a laptop. I can't do most of the things I want the laptop (as opposed to a tablet) for.

When I first got an Android Tablet I was very impressed with the Gmail application, so impressed that I thought Google should release an app just like it for desktops. Lo and behold Google released "Offline Mail" a web app that runs in Chrome. I was delighted and could not wait to run it. But after a couple of days I found it too limiting and went back to Outlook (of all things).

Metro apps (immersive apps?) feel the same to me. Too constraining, too narrow, too limited. They may be great on a tablet but I don't want them on my desktop.

Reply Score: 2

Oh the Irony
by timalot on Fri 16th Sep 2011 05:04 UTC
timalot
Member since:
2006-07-17

I get:

Upgrade to a browser that supports h264 MP4 HTML5 video playback:
IE9+, Chrome 5+, or Safari 4+

.When i try to to view that site...

fsck that ... from firefox those are downgrades... Fsck u M$ ;)

Reply Score: 1

Comment by timalot
by timalot on Fri 16th Sep 2011 07:40 UTC
timalot
Member since:
2006-07-17

You kind of appreciate Steve Jobs more after watching this.

Reply Score: 1

Deliberate Incompatibility?
by Alfman on Fri 16th Sep 2011 20:23 UTC
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

I find it completely illogical that microsoft designed metro apps to be visually&functionally incompatible with normal apps. This limitation does not make any sense. Standard apps like firefox, filezilla, putty, thunderbird, etc would be usable in a full screen metro interface with no changes at all. Metro apps could likewise be opened in a windowed interface with no changes at all.

They should allow the user to switch between metro/desktop modes if they want to, but there is no need to introduces the incompatibilities that microsoft has. Surely they must know this, so I'm wondering if the jarring incompatibility is a deliberate political/marketing ploy?

Reply Score: 2