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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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

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 Parent 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 Parent Score: 2

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 Parent 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 Parent Score: 2

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 Parent 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 Parent Score: 2