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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About current OSs combining GUI and CLI : I think this is different. I haven't ever needed to touch the Windows CLI for anything but extremely geeky stuff as far as I can remember. Today, the only thing I'd need a CLI for on Windows is OS development. Same for OS X. On those OSs, CLI has become a very specialized interface, which most people can live without.

My gripe with Windows 8 is that, like on desktop Linux, most people will have to use the secondary interface at some point, to learn two different UI paradigms over the course of their lives. This is what looks suboptimal for me.

I have yet to see a UI that is simple enough for consumer use and powerful enough for expert use... If someone builds one Ill be the first to applaud it - but until then we have to make do.

Depends what you call expert, I guess. If it means "people who use a computer at work" in a general sense (experienced users of Office, Photoshop, AutoCAD, ...), I think it is doable, but we just haven't tried hard enough yet ;)

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Alfman Member since:


I agree with your points.

The CLI (command prompt) really doesn't confuse real users because they never really need to use it. That's not to say it's not useful, but anyone who has a use for it will be computer savvy enough to know how to use it, so there's no negative in having it.

BTW I use CLI all the time for ping/traceroute. Also net /delete when I need to switch SMB logins, it's a pity there's no easy way to change network authentication.

The metro + desktop interface, as implemented in the preview, is terrible because the combination of the two interfaces is far more complex and confusing than either of the interfaces are alone. I don't see how anyone can say that they work well together, it's as though they deliberately avoided integrating them for some ulterior motive.

Now I can appreciate that a multiwindow interface can be confusing. But even if we accept a windowless interface, I find metro to be a rather poor design. Metro's lack of feedback is counter-productive and confusing.

How will I tech support my parents over the phone with metro? Everything in the metro interface lacks context. It would be difficult even to communicate which application they are looking at or if they are in desktop or metro mode.

Now on a tablet, I can at least understand the merit in this tradeoff, it has less screen space, dedicated buttons, etc. However in the Desktop setting, context is extremely reassuring, and there is absolutely nothing to be gained by eliminating it. This preview of metro is much more difficult to use than a single window interface should be.

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Neolander Member since:

Re lack of context : I believe that in this regard, the "wife test" post earlier in this thread is quite enlightening. It shows that there are no good ways to find out where you are in the current developer preview. If you take an opened Win8 session out of context (example : taking the computer out of sleep, user A does something on his tablet and hands it to user B), it's very hard to figure out what's happening on screen. Controls and context are not easily discoverable.

Reply Parent Score: 1