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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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

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 Parent 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 Parent 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 Parent 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 Parent Score: 4

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 Parent Score: 4