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

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

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 Parent 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 Parent Score: 1