Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 21st Dec 2011 18:56 UTC
Windows Windows 8 will be one of the most significant releases for Microsoft ever, since it pretty much rethinks the entire graphical user interface. One of the problems I personally see with Metro is that it doesn't appear to be particularly conducive to getting actual work done. In an interview with The Verge, Microsoft design director Steve Kaneko confirmed that it's hard to adapt applications like Office to use Metro.
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Take the hint, Microsoft!
by AnythingButVista on Wed 21st Dec 2011 19:43 UTC
AnythingButVista
Member since:
2008-08-27

You see how hard is to take a serious application into Metro? Are you going to dumb down Office now? Take the hint. Make Metro optional in Windows 8 and give us full access to a REAL desktop for REAL computers. Don't turn Windows 8 into "Vista Part II" or as others would say, Windows ME 3.

Reply Score: 7

RE: Take the hint, Microsoft!
by Alfman on Wed 21st Dec 2011 20:38 UTC in reply to "Take the hint, Microsoft!"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

I think it's a desperate attempt to follow trendy minimalism rather than create a productive environment to work in. The chrome they speak of serves a great many purposes; eliminating it removes not only functionality, but also removes an important sense of context. It's a major downgrade for desktop productivity users.

If windows 8 doesn't offer anything better than the developer preview version showed, then it's very difficult to see how microsoft is going to cater to business users. I'd be shocked to see MS throw in the towel on the businesses which are the keystone of it's monopoly. My prediction is that windows 8 will come in two (or more) editions, one crippled with metro for ordinary consumers, another for businesses. Ordinary consumers will be forced to pay more to upgrade to a non-crippled version of the OS.

Reply Score: 10

RE[2]: Take the hint, Microsoft!
by Adurbe on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 09:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Take the hint, Microsoft!"
Adurbe Member since:
2005-07-06

The original Mac OS came against the same criticism. "Real work" could only be done using DOS the rest was just gimmicks

There will be a change, but I cant imagine MS moving forward with Metro without at least an idea of how office would work on it. There is of course a simple version of office on Windows Phone, lets you do the basics, its all about scaling that to encapsulate the multitudes of features of the full version

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Take the hint, Microsoft!
by dragossh on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 18:59 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Take the hint, Microsoft!"
dragossh Member since:
2008-12-16

But here's the thing: GUIs are a natural evolution from the command line. Instead of remembering options and commands, you would have them laid out on screen for you. There were really no limits on how much "chrome" you could have in your application. With Metro, all that is gone and now you have to be creative and find a way to create a Metro UI for your app because Microsoft thinks Metro Touch is teh future.

I would have preferred a Metro-style windowed UI over this vomit of smartphone UI that Microsoft gave us.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Take the hint, Microsoft!
by Carewolf on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 08:30 UTC in reply to "Take the hint, Microsoft!"
Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

Yes, this is a problem. I see no purpose of touch interfaces on a workstation, but a large portion of the IT industry has gotten themselves into a weird Apple obsession, even when making products Apple is trying to move away from.

I can not see the purpose of unifying desktop and touch interfaces if you are not solely an electronic toy manufacturer.

I would normally blame the managers, but I can tell even a lot of IT-professionals are infected.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Take the hint, Microsoft!
by zima on Wed 28th Dec 2011 23:57 UTC in reply to "RE: Take the hint, Microsoft!"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

I see no purpose of touch interfaces on a workstation

Perhaps you don't see far enough? (well, only a decade or so really, looking at the present state of MS Surface ...and what its longish goals are, I suspect)

Imagine somewhat tilted (like drawing boards of the old times) large touch panel - that could be a perfection for quite a few kinds of workstation... (for many of them, one can see the present "monitor & mouse" model as more of an aberration)

Edited 2011-12-29 00:05 UTC

Reply Score: 2

On the desktop...
by looncraz on Wed 21st Dec 2011 19:44 UTC
looncraz
Member since:
2005-07-24

Metro has no future with advanced use cases.

Metro is inherently limited to the singly-focused user, someone such as myself who routinely has dozens of windows open will find Metro to be intolerable.

However, that problem emerges with just doing TWO things at once. Virtually EVERYONE who does work on a computer will find metro to be intolerable on a single screen. No matter how it is handled, windowing is here to stay. Sure, you can create panes of tasks - but that is still a form of window management - something that should have been considered FIRST in a new UI...

Metro is the first death kneel of Windows - and I couldn't be happier!

--The loon

Reply Score: 13

RE: On the desktop...
by vaette on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 14:05 UTC in reply to "On the desktop..."
vaette Member since:
2008-08-09

I'll just point out that Metro very directly does support doing two things at once. Really one of their main improvements over the iOS/Android experience.

I am not too sure what the future holds, but I am fairly certain that this is a necessary move for Microsoft and Windows. Windows needs to go on tablets and other new devices simply to maintain the ubiquity advantages it currently has, but the classic desktop doesn't work in those environments. I think Metro is a very good play for that, but the question then of course becomes how it will be recieved on laptops and desktops. As it currently stands the transition between the classic desktop and Metro feels a bit too jarring, but the fact that the classic desktop is there and works just fine I think is enough to ensure that Windows 8 wont be completely unworkable there either.

All in all; interesting things ahead.

Reply Score: 2

RE: On the desktop...
by tomcat on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 23:02 UTC in reply to "On the desktop..."
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Metro is the first death kneel of Windows - and I couldn't be happier!


The reason the classical desktop design doesn't work on tablet based devices is that the UI elements are difficult to target with your finger. They were designed with a mouse pointer in mind -- not a fat finger -- and, furthermore, there are things that you can do with a mouse that aren't possible with a touch; for example, you can't hover over a UI element and produce a tooltip (note: there _are_ camera-based touch systems that can understand whether you're in-range but not touching the screen, but they're fairly expensive and in limited use currently). So, consequently, tablet-based UIs MUST necessarily be different than the desktop. It's not optional.

I think the real question isn't whether Metro is the right or wrong tablet-based UI -- because, at its most basic, it merely defines a UI "style" devoid of the kinds of tiny, cramped UI elements that are found on the desktop -- but rather whether large-scale applications like Office CAN and SHOULD be moved to tablet-based UIs. I think the answer to both questions is yes, but it's going to take re-imagining how humans interact with content creation apps on a tablet. Apps like Facebook and Twitter are casual consumption apps. You want to see as much of the screen real estate as possible. You don't want a lot of tiny buttons and crap. It's mostly about reading and posting small blurbs of content. Very different activity from writing a term paper or a letter.

Metro was designed -- like iOS and Android -- for touch-screen usage. Tablets are one of the fastest-emerging categories of computers being sold today. That's a dynamic that is having an impact on the market, and wishing it away isn't going to make it so. I think that Metro is going to be very successful; even more so because it will bridge with the desktop world.

Edited 2011-12-22 23:04 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Good on 'em
by cmchittom on Wed 21st Dec 2011 19:49 UTC
cmchittom
Member since:
2011-03-18

It's good to see that Microsoft is being honest about this—as, frankly, I expected them to be: they do too much usability testing to not realize this.

Of course, I won't be affected since when I upgrade to Windows 8 since I already have only one window open at a time: Emacs. What, you need more?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Good on 'em
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 21st Dec 2011 20:04 UTC in reply to "Good on 'em"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Of course, I won't be affected since when I upgrade to Windows 8 since I already have only one window open at a time: Emacs. What, you need more?



Well, Emacs is a pretty good operating system, but it could use a better text editor.

Reply Score: 14

RE[2]: Good on 'em - I suggest Vim
by jabbotts on Wed 21st Dec 2011 20:26 UTC in reply to "RE: Good on 'em"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Try Vim for all your Emacs text editing needs.

(couldn't resist)

Reply Score: 11

RE[3]: Good on 'em - I suggest Vim
by Shane on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 03:18 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Good on 'em - I suggest Vim"
Shane Member since:
2005-07-06

That's exactly what I would do - using Evil (http://gitorious.org/evil/pages/Home).

Reply Score: 3

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

I was just poking fun at the emacs/vi debate but that's a fantastic find. I'd love to have something like that which can overlay QT apps. Zim with Vim with keybindings has been on my wishlist for a while now.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Good on 'em
by reez on Fri 23rd Dec 2011 18:52 UTC in reply to "RE: Good on 'em"
reez Member since:
2006-06-28

Well, Emacs is a pretty good operating system, but it could use a better text editor.

Yeah, someone should finally port vim.

Edited 2011-12-23 18:52 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Not so sure
by th3rmite on Wed 21st Dec 2011 20:12 UTC
th3rmite
Member since:
2006-01-08

I'm not so sure how Metro will be for work purposes. I too have many different windows open at work. Now for home use, I can see how it will work. I suppose only time will tell.

I'm not going to jump on the Metro sucks and MS will go down bandwagon just yet. For all I know, MS will come up with something that will completely rock.

Reply Score: 1

Windows
by drstorm on Wed 21st Dec 2011 20:15 UTC
drstorm
Member since:
2009-04-24

Windows without any, well, windows. Now that's a funny thought. ;)

Reply Score: 12

puzzled
by TomF on Wed 21st Dec 2011 20:20 UTC
TomF
Member since:
2010-01-22

I'm really puzzled - I've been trying out the public alphas... and simply don't get it. Why would I want what is basically a phone interface (look and feels good actually) on my large desktop screen ?

The ribbon was the first bit to alienate me... metro seems to finish the job.

I'm not a platform addict - I love MacOS, use Windows 7 with great pleasure, and I'm quite fond of KDE but with Windows 8 this list of 3 might get reduced to 2.

Tom UK

Reply Score: 5

It won't work
by eazel7 on Wed 21st Dec 2011 20:23 UTC
eazel7
Member since:
2007-09-09

Well, actually, Metro might save us all...
We're managing to many windows because apps and docs are not friendly with the information we really need to use. We will need to breed more UX designers in the coming era.

Edited 2011-12-21 20:23 UTC

Reply Score: 2

I can see two things coming of Metro
by Moredhas on Wed 21st Dec 2011 20:25 UTC
Moredhas
Member since:
2008-04-10

I can see two consequences of Microsoft's push to Metro. Star Dock will make a lot of money on their interface replacement products, and KDE for Windows will suddenly become a wothwhile endeavour. People like Metro on phones, and probably tablets, too, but I don't want to have to use Twitter OS on my laptop, or have it plastered up on my TV.

Reply Score: 5

Window management
by Zifre on Wed 21st Dec 2011 20:35 UTC
Zifre
Member since:
2009-10-04

I consider myself an "advanced user" and Metro is more or less what I've always wanted in window management (with some changes).

In my opinion, the idea of arbitrarily positioned and sized, partially overlapping windows is moronic and archaic. This is why I keep experimenting with tiling window managers. But they're all made for guys with beards who like using the command line.

The way window switching is handled on Windows 8 is kind of stupid. You have to go through each app until you get to the one you want. Personally, I think Microsoft should have made swiping from the left bring up a bar (like the one for charms on the right) that has tiles for each running app. This would make window switching less tedious and also make it possible to see notifications without going to the start screen.

However, I really like the way windows can be arranged in Metro. 99% of the time, I have either have one maximized window or a roughly 3:1 vertical split (one main window and one secondary window), which is what Metro offers. My only wish is that you could stack windows in the narrower side as you can with most tiling window managers.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Window management
by DOSguy on Wed 21st Dec 2011 23:31 UTC in reply to "Window management"
DOSguy Member since:
2009-07-27

The way window switching is handled on Windows 8 is kind of stupid. You have to go through each app until you get to the one you want.


Good point, and now that I think I about it, I find it rather strange that no touch oriented platform, not even IOS, implements expose-like window switching. What is up with that?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Window management
by justanothersysadmin on Wed 21st Dec 2011 23:56 UTC in reply to "RE: Window management"
justanothersysadmin Member since:
2011-06-09

Android is doing something pretty close in ICS. It's a column of apps with window previews, so not totally Expose-like, but a similar idea modified for the limited screen real estate.

E.g. http://cellphonequick.com/android-4-0-ice-cream-sandwich-now-offici...

(edited to strip out the img src tags since the comment preview shows the image but the actual posted comment strips it down to the tags...preview fail)

Edited 2011-12-21 23:57 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Window management
by DOSguy on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 00:20 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Window management"
DOSguy Member since:
2009-07-27

Android is doing something pretty close in ICS. It's a column of apps with window previews, so not totally Expose-like, but a similar idea modified for the limited screen real estate.


Looks pretty cool. Didn't see it before, so thank you for mentioning it.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Window management
by Neolander on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 00:00 UTC in reply to "RE: Window management"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Hmmm... Several mobile OSs implemented tile-based task switching, though most of them are dead or dying now. WebOS, PlaybookOS (?), WP7 and Harmattan come to mind.

As for why iOS itself didn't, perhaps it is because Apple believed that the iPhone's screen was too small for app tiles and didn't want to create visual inconsistencies between the iPhone and iPad versions of iOS ?

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Window management
by DOSguy on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 00:18 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Window management"
DOSguy Member since:
2009-07-27

Hmmm... Several mobile OSs implemented tile-based task switching, though most of them are dead or dying now. WebOS, PlaybookOS (?), WP7 and Harmattan come to mind.


I did think of Webos, but it doesn't provide the nice one screen overview of expose because it requires you to swipe through all tiles. This resembles alt/cmd+tab more than expose imo. Don't really know about playbookos, wp7 or harmattan though.

As for why iOS itself didn't, perhaps it is because Apple believed that the iPhone's screen was too small for app tiles


IOS 1.0 couldn't really multitask, so I can understand why they didn't implement such a thing from the beginning. Nowadays IOS does some sort of multitasking and the DPI is really gone up with Iphone 4, which could make up a bit for the smaller screen. IOS doesn't encourage the user to close unused applications though, which would essentially cripple expose because it would have to display too much tiles.

and didn't want to create visual inconsistencies between the iPhone and iPad versions of iOS ?


You mean by implementing expose for ipad but not for iphone?

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Window management
by Neolander on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 08:30 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Window management"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

I did think of Webos, but it doesn't provide the nice one screen overview of expose because it requires you to swipe through all tiles. This resembles alt/cmd+tab more than expose imo. Don't really know about playbookos, wp7 or harmattan though.

The QNX-based of the Playbook is basically a clone of WebOS, so task switching also requires you to swipe through. WP7 is also mimicking WebOS in this specific area.

Maemo on the N900 provides something more like Expose :
http://media.share.ovi.com/m1/s/1712/0d4a7ebd7b024b10aa99403ff26a37...

Logically, its Meego Harmattan successor on the N9 follows in a similar direction, although it opts for larger, perhaps more easily distinguishable tiles : http://www.themobilefanatics.com/video-review-we-put-the-nokia-n9-t...

There is always a bit of scrolling when you have lots of applications open, but I fear this is inevitable on a mobile screen.

"As for why iOS itself didn't, perhaps it is because Apple believed that the iPhone's screen was too small for app tiles"

IOS 1.0 couldn't really multitask, so I can understand why they didn't implement such a thing from the beginning. Nowadays IOS does some sort of multitasking and the DPI is really gone up with Iphone 4, which could make up a bit for the smaller screen. IOS doesn't encourage the user to close unused applications though, which would essentially cripple expose because it would have to display too much tiles.

I don't know if even on a high-DPI phone, people would like stamp-sized previews very much, but I give you the benefit of doubt on that one because I still live in the WQVGA era and will continue to do so in any foreseeable future.

Anyway, you have a good point that tile-based task switching would be impractical if people never close running apps.

"and didn't want to create visual inconsistencies between the iPhone and iPad versions of iOS ?"

You mean by implementing expose for ipad but not for iphone?

Yes.

Edited 2011-12-22 08:33 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Window management
by DOSguy on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 16:49 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Window management"
DOSguy Member since:
2009-07-27

I've always liked Meego, and now that I've seen Meego Harmattan I think I'm in love. ;)

That tile overview looks very good, and like you said it still involves some scrolling, but it is probably as close to expose as you can get while still keeping it usable.

Thanks man.

Edited 2011-12-22 16:50 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Window management
by ricegf on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 11:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Window management"
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

My Nokia N900 uses expose-like window switching. In fact, I tend to run 4-5 apps simultaneously on my N900, but only one at a time on my iPad.

The iPad just can't handle multiple apps for several reasons, not the least of which is that Steve didn't *want* it to! He succeeded admirably. ;-)

Reply Score: 5

Comment titles suck.
by Drumhellar on Wed 21st Dec 2011 20:42 UTC
Drumhellar
Member since:
2005-07-12

While I think Metro is here to stay, we may find that Microsoft decides to make the classic desktop more accessible. Otherwise, it may be a tough pill to swallow for professionals.

Certainly they don't expect companies that make high-end professional software to make their apps Metro friendly at any point in time ever. Metro-friendly Maya? Never going to happen.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Comment titles suck.
by Alfman on Wed 21st Dec 2011 21:35 UTC in reply to "Comment titles suck."
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Drumhellar,

Well, from a technical point of view, most existing windows applications should be able to run in metro without touching a line of code. If they can be maximised then they should still at least work with it. There's no reason a metro app shouldn't run in a windowed environment either.

All of us can think of tons of obvious ways to improve the integration we saw with the win8 demo. I cannot believe microsoft designers are such dimwits that they missed those opportunities. Rather, I think the limitations with metro are the result of a policy to deliberately make pre-existing applications incompatible in metro. The motivation being to increase developer incentive to distribute native metro apps through MS's upcoming app store.

If developers could simply write metro-compatible apps without using the MS app store, then many of them would just distribute their apps as they do today - without going through microsoft.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment titles suck.
by TemporalBeing on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 18:29 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment titles suck."
TemporalBeing Member since:
2007-08-22

Drumhellar,

Well, from a technical point of view, most existing windows applications should be able to run in metro without touching a line of code. If they can be maximised then they should still at least work with it. There's no reason a metro app shouldn't run in a windowed environment either.


Theoretically? Yes.

Realistically? No.

The reason being that the APIs used to talk with the system are different. Metro integration requires use of the WinRT APIs, where the classic desktop requires use of the Win32 APIs.

Now, Microsoft could use some behind the scenes magic to convert many .Net based applications over to WinRT; however, they didn't do that yet meaning even .Net needs some extra help to utilize WinRT and that likely means major work, and from the information currently out - work they are not interested in doing.

Even still, most Windows applications are not written for .NET, but Win32, MFC, ATL, etc. And those applications will need major rework to integrate with WinRT in order to be available in the Metro environment - even in Full Screen mode - simply because of how they must integrate with the underlying API to use the screen and present the user interface.

Now it would probably be possible for GUI-less applications (e.g. services, command-line applications, etc.) to port right over, but they are not using WinRT or the Metro- or classic interfaces so whether they use WinRT, MFC, or Win32 is irrelevant.

In the conversion from Win 3.x to Win95, the underlying APIs (Win16) were still there with native integration to Win95. This is the first time Microsoft is really dropping an existing API set to move to a new platform, so it would be expected that there are some major issues like this.

Reply Score: 3

Bye bye
by Verenkeitin on Wed 21st Dec 2011 21:36 UTC
Verenkeitin
Member since:
2007-07-01

Sounds like marketing graphic designers got to decide on the Metro look and the rest of the company has to live with it. I bet Microsoft has a lot of disgruntled usability professionals ready to leave the sinking ship or go postal on the department that came up with Metro.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by FealDorf
by FealDorf on Wed 21st Dec 2011 21:39 UTC
FealDorf
Member since:
2008-01-07

While metro may become niche and MS back away from it as "The One Paradigm", I don't think it will affect the sales that badly. Tablet users won't care for mulitasking that much, while desktops and laptops are more likely to be x86 for various reasons, especially backwards compatibility.
Since W8 is "metro only" on ARM alone, while it is bound to rouse agitation, I suspect it won't be much. People will figure a hack to default it to Explorer instead of Metro.

That said, I'm disappointed that MS couldn't do the impossible, of bringing the power of Office to the elegance of Metro. If they do manage to achieve this, then it will give birth to a new form of touch interfaces no doubt.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by FealDorf
by TemporalBeing on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 18:37 UTC in reply to "Comment by FealDorf"
TemporalBeing Member since:
2007-08-22

While metro may become niche and MS back away from it as "The One Paradigm", I don't think it will affect the sales that badly. Tablet users won't care for mulitasking that much, while desktops and laptops are more likely to be x86 for various reasons, especially backwards compatibility.
Since W8 is "metro only" on ARM alone, while it is bound to rouse agitation, I suspect it won't be much. People will figure a hack to default it to Explorer instead of Metro.

That said, I'm disappointed that MS couldn't do the impossible, of bringing the power of Office to the elegance of Metro. If they do manage to achieve this, then it will give birth to a new form of touch interfaces no doubt.



Any "Metro" like product Microsoft has sold - e.g. Zune, WinPhone7, etc - have all been met with no market share. Pushing the interface to their mainline product will not solve the problem that people are not interested in the new interface.

So yes, expect it to affect sales as:

- a lot of their sales comes from the volume sales business to SMBs and Enterprise organizations, all of whom will not be able to use Metro without an Office like application.
- home users may get stuck with it through having to buy at shops that don't offer anything else, but they may see less reason to buy a new PC as a result, or may finally realize that they don't need Windows at all and go with a tablet instead.
- don't expect Win8 Tablets to sell like hotcakes any better than WinPhone7 did. The Windows brand in the tablet market is not very well known, and not known for quality. If they are able to get a good rep with Win8 on a tablet then they might have a chance with Win9, but only if the company survives long enough to deliver Win9.

This interview and the information about Office not being easy to port to Win8/Metro or that the interface functionality provided by Win8/Metro doesn't meet the needs of large applications like Office only further supports the IDC report that Win8 will be largely an irrelevant platform.

Of course, Microsoft will make it sound like Win8 is selling like hotcakes through the same tactics they did with WinVista and Win7:
- count sales of downgrading customers as sales of the new product
- count sales of customers upgrading from one edition of the product to another (e.g. Win8 Starter to Win8 Home Premium) as separate sales.
- count volume license sales twice: (i) one for the volume license, and (ii) for the license for the PC the volume license goes on[1].


[1] Microsoft states that even though you have spent millions on a volume license you still may not have the rights to use Windows on the PC on which you are installing it unless you continue to use the license that also came with the PC. Thereby you need two licenses when you otherwise would have only needed one.

Reply Score: 3

Who stole my new workstation?
by kpugovkin on Wed 21st Dec 2011 22:12 UTC
kpugovkin
Member since:
2011-07-05

I guess the point of changing Windows widgets style every two years is just feeding IT journalist, managers and icon artists.

Going to computer stores nowadays gives you the feeling of boredom and depression. I see less and less difference between PC and Gaming departments in my nearest Best Buy. The same in the Apple aisle, except white color of boxes, missing mouse buttons and higher price tags.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Who stole my new workstation?
by zima on Wed 28th Dec 2011 22:10 UTC in reply to "Who stole my new workstation?"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

A sign of a fairly stable field which achieved large part of its goals, I suppose; in the end, mostly just slow refinement of what works fine (lofty claims of upcoming revolutions, like with Metro, eventually largely toned down) - in universally palatable, hence mass-produced to a higher degree packages.

...I like it much more than the tumultuous and overpriced times, when hardware (and sw) left much more to be desired, was far from good enough (and, perhaps, since people couldn't do on their computers many things, they fell into vicious circles of striving to do something with their computers / wanting the tools to be "fancy" etc.)

Reply Score: 2

Not everything has to 'Unified'
by Yamin on Wed 21st Dec 2011 22:55 UTC
Yamin
Member since:
2006-01-10

I don't know many users who 'care' about a unified interface. If they can't make office 'Metro'... no big deal. They will just run it in the classic mode.

WinAmp's non-standard interface didn't make it a bad application. Life wasn't unbearable when Office switched to the ribbon while other apps had the old menus.

Reply Score: 2

Metro is beautiful because it's simple
by leos on Wed 21st Dec 2011 23:20 UTC
leos
Member since:
2005-09-21

Metro is definitely nice to look at. But only because the apps using it are really simplistic.
Windows phone is nice to look at because it does so little. As soon as you try to add comparable functionality to what exists on Android and iOS, you're back to clutter.
Even worse on the desktop. You get more screen space, but also way more complex apps. No way will that ever translate to metro.

This is my pet peeve with mockups in the open source world too. Some guy makes a mockup that looks stunning, but only because they left out most of the features that are in the current UI. Of course it looks great, it's way too simple for real work. That's not good design, that's cheating.

Reply Score: 7

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Windows phone is nice to look at because it does so little. As soon as you try to add comparable functionality to what exists on Android and iOS, you're back to clutter.


Uh, like what? WP7.5 is no more or less functional than iOS/Android.

Reply Score: 1

Designer talk
by mfarmilo on Wed 21st Dec 2011 23:48 UTC
mfarmilo
Member since:
2009-02-28

"If we can strip out what we call chrome in an interface then your content becomes hero". What ? Is that how the designers really talk ? Good heavens, no wonder they appear to have been taken by surprise, now they're trying to actually make some 'real world' programs fit the new toy.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Designer talk
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 05:07 UTC in reply to "Designer talk"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Have you ever seen microsoft office 2003 with all toolbars visible on a 800x 600 screen? The content is definitely not king.

I actually have some ideas, maybe I'll mock them up in qt quick one of these days in my mythical spare time. Basically you lose easy discoverability when you kill the chrome. You just need an obvious way to make them discoverable again. A context sensitive option.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Designer talk
by Temcat on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 10:30 UTC in reply to "RE: Designer talk"
Temcat Member since:
2005-10-18

As a happy Office 2003 user to date, it makes no sense to run Office with all toolbars on.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Designer talk
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 15:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Designer talk"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Oh, absolutely. But its possible. I was just talking about that as an example to the complexity within office that would have to be replicated some how in a metro'd version.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Designer talk
by zima on Wed 28th Dec 2011 21:03 UTC in reply to "RE: Designer talk"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

...some ideas, maybe I'll mock them up in qt quick one of these days in my mythical spare time. Basically you lose easy discoverability when you kill the chrome. You just need an obvious way to make them discoverable again. A context sensitive option.

Ahh, a (well, perhaps popping out etc.) Ribbon... ;p (may I suggest, if the mythical spare time ever comes, going beyond the 2k3 version of Office ;) )

Edited 2011-12-28 21:05 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Designer talk
by lucas_maximus on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 09:58 UTC in reply to "Designer talk"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Someone doesn't understand minimalism ...

“Perfection is achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Designer talk
by adkilla on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 11:19 UTC in reply to "RE: Designer talk"
adkilla Member since:
2005-07-07

I don't know who this Antoine dude is, but isn't usability more important than just taking things away till "there is noting left to take away"? What if the user has a great priority for productivity improvements and being able to access majority of functionality quickly? For example, how would a split-view make sense in this kind of interface? How would this kind of paradigm make any sense in this case?

Looking at how things have turned out with Gnome3/Unity, I doubt this is the way forward. Even when things were being "simplified" in Gnome2, that made people jump ship to KDE.

Don't get me wrong, I would use Metro on a phone or a tablet but I don't see the practicality of doing that with systems that have greater flexibility using touchpads and mice. From what I have read, touchpads/mice aren't leaving Windows 8 certified laptops/desktops or even HTPCs.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Designer talk
by lucas_maximus on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 14:57 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Designer talk"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

I don't know who this Antoine dude is, but isn't usability more important than just taking things away till "there is noting left to take away"? What if the user has a great priority for productivity improvements and being able to access majority of functionality quickly? For example, how would a split-view make sense in this kind of interface? How would this kind of paradigm make any sense in this case?


Then the interface isn't perfect, is it?

If something is perfect for its task ... it does no more the necessary and no less.

Edited 2011-12-22 14:58 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Designer talk
by zima on Wed 28th Dec 2011 22:29 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Designer talk"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't know who this Antoine dude is [...]

"this Antoine dude", seriously? How the web is supposed to keep some level...

(also, it would be about taking away things that negatively impact usability)

Reply Score: 2

No Surprises here
by Lorin on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 00:43 UTC
Lorin
Member since:
2010-04-06

Windows 7 will just become the new Windows XP which is still widely available and we will simply continue on leaving 8 alone.

Reply Score: 7

Newsflash: Metro is a touch-oriented UI
by jbauer on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 00:52 UTC
jbauer
Member since:
2005-07-06

Are they trying so hard to kid us that they ended up kidding themselves?

Reply Score: 3

Comment by tomchr
by tomchr on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 01:24 UTC
tomchr
Member since:
2009-02-01

The Metro platform doesn't worry me too much, as long as they keep the posibility of running legacy/classical alongside Metro apps.

What worries me though is the aparrent gap between ARM and X86 versions of Windows 8. I really want a tablet with the ability of running legacy x86 applications.

Edited 2011-12-22 01:26 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by tomchr
by Alfman on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 03:40 UTC in reply to "Comment by tomchr"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

tomchr,

"What worries me though is the aparrent gap between ARM and X86 versions of Windows 8. I really want a tablet with the ability of running legacy x86 applications."

For better or worse, that ship has sailed - tablets were capable of doing that circa 2001.

It's said that microsoft's tablet software was ahead of it's time, or ahead of the hardware anyway (P2 speeds, no battery life, hard disk drives, heavy, etc). Handwriting was a "first class data type".

http://www.winsupersite.com/article/windows-xp2/windows-xp-tablet-p...

I personally wanted one, but they were way out of my price range, so I never got one. If they could have been magically priced into the $500 range, I suspect there would have been enough demand to kick start the tablet market back then, even with limited hardware.

Unfortunately that didn't happen, and the modern tablets which are coming to market today are much more heavily influenced by DRM and corporate control than their predecessors.

Reply Score: 2

The Mobile Craze
by ozonehole on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 02:51 UTC
ozonehole
Member since:
2006-01-07

(Linux user here). I admit that I haven't seen Windows 8 yet, and with luck will never have to. Nevertheless, I'm intrigued by what's happening to desktop operating systems.

Is this idea of making your desktop OS look like a mobile phone or iPad some kind of new cult? I mean, I really don't get it. It's like ever since the iPhone/Android caught on, every other platform is rushing to make a mobile interface the default. We saw that with Ubuntu trying to force everyone to accept Unity as the default, so far an overwhelmingly unpopular move with end users. Ditto for Gnome3. Now Microsoft has jumped on the bandwagon too.

Well, maybe that's a good thing. If Windows 8 proves to be as unpopular as Unity/Gnome3, it might help Linux, since you don't have to use Unity/Gnome3. Right now the Linux market is confused, but when Unity and Gnome3 finally die, there's still KDE, Mate, XFCE, LXDE, Enlightenment, and more.

I have to admit that I never saw this mobile craze coming. Just why the marketing "visionaries" are so certain that we need mobile desktops is a mystery to me. Either they know something I don't, or they are totally out of touch with the consumer base.

Edited 2011-12-22 02:55 UTC

Reply Score: 9

RE: The Mobile Craze
by Zer0C001 on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 08:52 UTC in reply to "The Mobile Craze"
Zer0C001 Member since:
2011-12-22

"Well, maybe that's a good thing. If Windows 8 proves to be as unpopular as Unity/Gnome3, it might help Linux"
While I'd love to see Linux become a more popular desktop OS, I don't believe that's going to be the case ... Windows Vista was quite unpopular, and people just reverted back to XP ...

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: The Mobile Craze
by adkilla on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 11:21 UTC in reply to "RE: The Mobile Craze"
adkilla Member since:
2005-07-07

Windows 8 might just turn out to be like Vista while people either downgrade or stick with Windows 7.

Reply Score: 1

RE: The Mobile Craze
by dragossh on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 19:17 UTC in reply to "The Mobile Craze"
dragossh Member since:
2008-12-16

We need mobile OSes on our desktops because in these UIs people can have revolutionary new features like task managers, customizability and flashy effects. And re-adding features that were already functional and present in older versions, but because it's a mobile UI it's now BRAND NEW! Basically, it boils down to the fact that desktop OSes are pretty much mature and Microsoft/Apple need to justify the pricetag, and GNOME likes to think they are design experts because they read some usability studies that don't account for user preference and how users in the real world work. IMHO.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by Shane
by Shane on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 03:30 UTC
Shane
Member since:
2005-07-06

"While Metro attempts to eliminate what Microsoft calls "chrome" (superfluous design elements), he says that the large Metro style interface, designed for touch interaction, doesn't scale in an obvious way to software like Office that has a lot of dense information. While Metro attempts to eliminate what Microsoft calls "chrome" (superfluous design elements), he says that chrome has traditionally served a functional purpose in crowded applications, and the design team now has to express grouping and visual hierarchy with composition, layout, font scaling, and contrast ratios."

It turns out that WIMPy style chrome and textures help define hierarchy in user interfaces.

But hey, Metro is fresh and new, not like boring old-school iOS and Android. </sarcasm>

Reply Score: 4

Metro? Eww!
by Drunkula on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 14:22 UTC
Drunkula
Member since:
2009-09-03

I've tried the developer preview of Win8. I must say so far I despise Metro. My desktop computer is not a tablet or a mobile phone. It is a desktop. I may have to switch back to some form of *nix or [gulp] bite the bullet and get a Mac. Perhaps it's because I don't have a touchscreen monitor. I don't know. I just don't see how it would be a productive platform for a code-monkey like me...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Metro? Eww!
by Lennie on Fri 23rd Dec 2011 14:07 UTC in reply to "Metro? Eww!"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

What I was thinking was that Microsoft expected everyone will be buying tablets and connect a real keyboard/mouse/monitor when they need to get real work done.

The tablet will show the metro interface, the other monitor will have the desktop interface.

But judging by this article, maybe not.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Metro? Eww!
by zima on Wed 28th Dec 2011 21:16 UTC in reply to "Metro? Eww!"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

There are relatively few ~code-monkeys around ...it can be said that you aren't really using the desktop, more a ~workstation. Maybe it's back to workstation (OS? Prices?) for you, "soon"(tm)

Reply Score: 2

There is no problem using Metro for Office.
by axilmar on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 14:24 UTC
axilmar
Member since:
2006-03-20

All Microsoft needs is to adapt the concept of the Ribbon for Metro-style applications. For example, the Metro Word's screen could have a list of buttons with main options on the left side of the screen, and the document on the right side; the buttons on the left could expand a menu when touched, revealing more options.

Or Microsoft could do an OOP interface: show only the elements to be edited on the screen, and then use touch to bring up a context menu, perhaps in the form of a pie, with all the relevant options of the touched object.

Reply Score: 2

kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

All Microsoft needs is to adapt the concept of the Ribbon for Metro-style applications. For example, the Metro Word's screen could have a list of buttons with main options on the left side of the screen, and the document on the right side; the buttons on the left could expand a menu when touched, revealing more options.

Or Microsoft could do an OOP interface: show only the elements to be edited on the screen, and then use touch to bring up a context menu, perhaps in the form of a pie, with all the relevant options of the touched object.


If they did that then it would undermine their whole Metro concept to begin with - what Microsoft need to realise (like what Apple has done) is there are desktop UI's and touch/tablet/phone UI's, and never shall the twain meet. Apple has bought a couple of iOS elements to Mac OS X but have left Mac OS X more or less doing what it has always done with a few tweaks, in other words Apple has realised not to screw up something that is working for the vast majority of end users.

The problem with Microsoft is that for the last 30 years they've made a shithouse job at unifying their whole operating system behind a single API and a single widget tool kit and as the result we have the frankensystem we see today. Don't get me wrong, I think that WRT has a lot of merit and if they provided a XAML Metro and Desktop frameworks (moving all the operating system from win32 to WinRT with Win32 simply being there for backwards compatible and able to be removed through the 'program features' control panel option) so that a vendor has a single backend and an auto detectable XAML front end (detects whether it is in tablet mode or desktop mode) then things would work well.

I don't think we'll see Windows 8 fail but at the same time I don't think it'll be the big hit that Microsoft expects - desktop users will continue using desktop applications, the Metro applications will be few and far between, and Windows Phone 7 will keep growing but at the expense of RIM in the enterprise and Android as customers realise like the Galaxy S customers that they're abandoned by handset vendors the moment they turn on their phone once they leave the store.

Edited 2011-12-23 13:36 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Wait....Isn't this more like the Web?
by DarrkAssassin on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 16:19 UTC
DarrkAssassin
Member since:
2010-04-10

So I read a lot of people complaining about not being able to basically have control of the Window size. Yet I hear a lot about HTML 5 and the Web taking over. In reality the Web you have maybe one or two Windows viewing (side by side pages and multiple other tabs open). So if everything is moving to the Web with this type of windows......why is making desktop like that worst? The web itself does have challenge when moving from the desktop to web. Its like moving from legacy to metero. You just can't do a port. You have to reimagine it because going from one model to another with a direct port just doesn't work. I think Metero will work for Office. It just needs to be done differently.

Reply Score: 1

Handhelds <> PC's
by benali72 on Thu 22nd Dec 2011 20:45 UTC
benali72
Member since:
2008-05-03

Handhelds and traditional PC's (laptops and desktops) are as different as servers and PC's in their use. They require fundamentally different interfaces because of their fundamentally different natures.

If MS wants to bundle 2 interfaces into 1 Windows product, fine. But if they somehow think the needs of these two different form factors are convergent, they are mistaken. I believe the marketplace will extract a price if they error in this way.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Fri 23rd Dec 2011 08:07 UTC
ilovebeer
Member since:
2011-08-08

I'm not convinced a bridge needs to be built between tablets/phones, and desktops. They're more apples & oranges than apples & apples. Focus should be left on usability/productivity, not forced marriages.

Windows 8 and Metro? It's too early to make predictions but even if Windows 8 tanks, Microsoft will be just fine. Sometimes I think people forget how wildly successful Windows 7 is. We heard all this crap before when Vista was a big huge disaster. Did Microsoft die off? No, they came back with Windows 7 and gave a big F-U shout-out to all the people who were chanting that silly 'Microsoft is finished' stuff in the first place. This will be no different if indeed Windows 8 fails.

Where I forced to bet, it would be that the boys at Microsoft get the current Windows 8/Metro issues worked out and makes Windows 8 more of a success than a failure.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by ilovebeer
by Neolander on Fri 23rd Dec 2011 13:56 UTC in reply to "Comment by ilovebeer"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

I'm not convinced a bridge needs to be built between tablets/phones, and desktops. They're more apples & oranges than apples & apples. Focus should be left on usability/productivity, not forced marriages.

I'm not convinced that unifying tablets and phone UIs, like Apple did, is the only option.

Tablets start to get a screen that's big enough for content creation, if done right (e.g. by giving styluses the place they deserve), so they potentially represent a qualitative jump in functionality from cellphone-sized screens.

I can see 10" tablets being used as a work computer tomorrow, the same cannot be said of 4" cellphones.

So... Microsoft's idea of unifying tablets and desktops is not so stupid, although I believe that putting a limited cellphone interface on a desktop is not right way to go about it.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by zima
by zima on Wed 28th Dec 2011 23:59 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by ilovebeer"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

MS Surface?

That might be the longish-term goal of MS here...
In a few years, the panels on which Surface depends should get fairly inexpensive (the whole contraption costs now what presently-cheap large LCD TVs commanded less than a decade ago; imagine somewhat tilted, like drawing boards of the old times, large touch panel - that could be a perfection for quite a few kinds of "desktops" / workstations ...for many of them, one can see the present "monitor & mouse" model as more of an aberration)

Edited 2011-12-29 00:09 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Interfaces
by ajtgarber on Fri 23rd Dec 2011 18:02 UTC
ajtgarber
Member since:
2011-08-17

Chop out all the useful features and menus, "This is the future of graphical interfaces" ಠ_ಠ. There is a reason why they are made the way they are currently, you can actually get work done. These newer interfaces that are designed so content tries to be center stage often cut out what we need for a more complete interface, they're great for mobile devices but they need some major improvements before they can be used for real work.

Reply Score: 1