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.
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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

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