Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 7th May 2013 22:46 UTC
Windows "After acknowledging its Windows Blue codename publicly in March, Microsoft is getting closer to revealing all about the upcoming Windows 8 update. In an interview with The Verge this week, Microsoft's Windows CFO Tami Reller provided some details on where the company is heading with its Blue project."
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RE[4]: HELLO, Microsoft!
by UltraZelda64 on Wed 8th May 2013 07:07 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: HELLO, Microsoft!"
UltraZelda64
Member since:
2006-12-05

Yeah, that was a pretty good one actually. What's bad is that Microsoft themselves pretty much "invented" the Start button (not literally, but no one else labeled theirs "Start" ;) )... and now, they're talking as if they're so ignorant that they don't even know what the thing is when people ask for it back. I mean, seriously--that quote just reeks of WTF. It sounds like she's completely out of touch with reality. All she has to do is a quick Google (okay, Bing) search on Windows 8 and see all the complaints regarding the Start button/menu/screen.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: HELLO, Microsoft!
by lucas_maximus on Wed 8th May 2013 07:10 in reply to "RE[4]: HELLO, Microsoft!"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

I think you really didn't get the point the cartoon was talking about.

Customers are rarely right when it comes to actually specifying requirements and this is why Business Analysts Exist. There is a mis-match between what people optimally need and what they specify.

Edited 2013-05-08 07:12 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Well, I think the biggest problem is that there isn't a definition for optimal. Pretend for a second that it could be mathematically proved that Vim was the most efficient way to edit text possible. However, most people when first using it get stuck trying to figure out how to actually edit text... There is a certain amount of learning that has to take place ( in our scenario) to learn how to use it in the most efficient manner. So part of the argument of efficiency has to be the learning curve. There could be many more factors as well, such as document compatibility, maintenance, and so forth.

So the truth in that cartoon, is really reflecting that. The customer doesn't always even know what requirements for retraining they have for a new system. I think Microsofts error here ( assuming that they are 100% correct, and have designed a perfect UI), is that many vocal people don't want to accept any retraining. Of course, this argument is also used by developers of new systems in cases where even after retraining the new system is much worse than the previous.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: HELLO, Microsoft!
by Alfman on Wed 8th May 2013 14:09 in reply to "RE[5]: HELLO, Microsoft!"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

It's equally true to say microsoft wants to deliver something other than what customers want... think about how much easier things would be for everyone if microsoft just listened without trying to spin everything into customers demanding metro. MS is being completely disingenuous.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: HELLO, Microsoft!
by Fergy on Wed 8th May 2013 21:27 in reply to "RE[5]: HELLO, Microsoft!"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

I think you really didn't get the point the cartoon was talking about.

Customers are rarely right when it comes to actually specifying requirements and this is why Business Analysts Exist. There is a mis-match between what people optimally need and what they specify.

I disagree. If a customer has used X in the past and it was in product Y he knows what he wants. Now a new product Y is released but X is nowhere to be found. The customer complains that this was the reason why he bought product Y. If he couldn't get X why wouldn't he just go to a competitor Z? Maybe competitor Z will listen to the customer.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: HELLO, Microsoft!
by Soulbender on Thu 9th May 2013 04:45 in reply to "RE[5]: HELLO, Microsoft!"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

and this is why Business Analysts Exist.


To create irrational hype that it's impossible to live up to?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: HELLO, Microsoft!
by Nelson on Wed 8th May 2013 07:16 in reply to "RE[4]: HELLO, Microsoft!"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Often, people don't know what they want or don't want what they think they want.

Customer feedback is definitely an important part of the loop, but far from the only consideration.

I wish companies took hard stances more often, we need principled vision and direction.

If we listened to customers 100%, the iPhone would have a physical keyboard.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[6]: HELLO, Microsoft!
by tidux on Wed 8th May 2013 13:29 in reply to "RE[5]: HELLO, Microsoft!"
tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

I don't see a downside to that. My Android phone has a physical keyboard as well as a full touchscreen and it's great.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[6]: HELLO, Microsoft!
by Alfman on Wed 8th May 2013 14:24 in reply to "RE[5]: HELLO, Microsoft!"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Nelson,

"If we listened to customers 100%, the iPhone would have a physical keyboard."

Why is it always made out to be all or nothing? Some customers want keyboards, others don't. It's best for all users to make the choice for themselves. When we're talking about hardware, that can be genuinely difficult to accommodate. But here MS has no excuses, we're talking about something that's not only so simple and trivial to do, but was actually present in the registry of the first public beta of windows 8 before they removed it.

Giving users the option to configure their desktop is a good thing and doesn't make windows 8 worse for metro users. MS revoked that because their long term vision is to make the desktop legacy (which they openly admit) and push users into metro where MS becomes the gatekeeper through which all software must be purchased. Making users use metro for launching applications is the first step in that plan.

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[6]: HELLO, Microsoft!
by dragossh on Wed 8th May 2013 15:21 in reply to "RE[5]: HELLO, Microsoft!"
dragossh Member since:
2008-12-16

Customer feedback is definitely an important part of the loop, but far from the only consideration.

I wish companies took hard stances more often, we need principled vision and direction.


Companies exist to make money, and part of making money is listening to your consumers and not treating them like they're stupid. Principled vision and direction is good when it aligns with consumers' interests (like the iPhone), but not so when consumers don't want or need your products like with Windows Phone and Windows 8. Trying to stick with your vision when it's clearly clashing with what your customers want (e.g. "not an innefficient Metro UI on the desktop") is foolish.

If we listened to customers 100%, the iPhone would have a physical keyboard.


The iPhone won not due to Apple pursuing its vision without any regard to customers' demands. It won because it offered simply a stellar touch experience with a full web browser and connectivity and an integrated iPod, unlike any other phone on the market in 2007. Along the way Apple kept improving the design and tweaking the OS to incorporate consumer feedback in a sensible and reasonable way.

Microsoft on the other hand comes out with an OS that doesn't improve the state of desktop OSes by much, tries to force a tablet UI on it without any regard to usability and efficiency on big screens and powerful CPUs, and is surprised that users reject it. They should listen to their users like they did with Windows 7 and then everybody would be happy.

Now you and Microsoft might see things differently, since both of you want Metro to succeed and the Store to be profitable, but keep in mind that most users don't have this vested interest and don't care for Metro. They want their efficient tools back, not help Microsoft in its attempts to overtake Apple.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[6]: HELLO, Microsoft!
by phoenix on Wed 8th May 2013 16:11 in reply to "RE[5]: HELLO, Microsoft!"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

I would actually line up to purchase an iPhone with a physical keyboard.

Or any kind of Android "flagship" phone with a physical keyboard.

Heck, I'd even consider a Windows Phone if there was one with a physical keyboard.

:)

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[6]: HELLO, Microsoft!
by StephenBeDoper on Thu 9th May 2013 01:17 in reply to "RE[5]: HELLO, Microsoft!"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

Customer feedback is definitely an important part of the loop, but far from the only consideration.

I wish companies took hard stances more often, we need principled vision and direction.


That's great, except it doesn't really apply to Windows 8 & the start screen. It's a an attempt to artificially create a halo effect - with the goal of making Windows Phone/RT successful on the coattails of desktop Windows' dominance. And as far as motivations for UI design decisions go, that's one of the worst I can think of. That's not principled, it's just heavy-handed.

And that's the most generous explanation I can think of. I have a hard time believing that anyone working at Microsoft is genuinely stupid enough to think that a touch-centric phone/tablet UI is the best/most appropriate interface to use as the primary task launcher for a desktop OS. From a basic UI consistency standpoint, it makes as much sense as the Start button launching a fullscreen DOS prompt with an arrow key-driven text menu to launch applications - that wouldn't make it seem any less unpolished.

The hell of it is, I wouldn't mind metro on desktop versions of Windows if only Microsoft weren't so obviously trying to cram it down users' throats. The lack of any built-in option to revert to the Win7 start menu is largely unprecedented for Window releases - every version since 95 has had the option to make the start menu work like the previous versions, ditto for most other major UI changes over the years.

If they'd just made Metro optional, I would have been perfectly fine with that (and I think many others are in the same camp). Make it smart enough to detect when the screen has been removed from the dock on Transformer-like devices, and automatically switch into Metro/tablet mode? Great, fine by me. Use Metro on the destkop as an optional widget layer, a la Dashboard on OS X? Also great, hell I'd probably use it for that purpose - a nice fullscreen, distraction free environment for writing and such.

But as the primary task-launching interface - why? Really, what was wrong with the Windows 7 start menu that warranted replacing it outright? Or at the very least, what warranted completely excising it, to the point of having no first-party option to revert to the old start menu? The thing that makes it particularly galling for me is that, IMO, Windows 7 was the first time MS actually got the start menu right... and then they immediately proceeded to throw out most of it with the next release.

If we listened to customers 100%, the iPhone would have a physical keyboard.


And if we didn't listen to customers, then DivX would have supplanted DVD.

I'm going to also address another comment that you made in this thread:

You're right. People just need a wedge issue to beat Microsoft over the head with. This start menu fiasco has never been about genuine user difficulty. Its been about finding an effective way to turn Windows 8 into a whipping boy.


I think that's part of it, yes, but far from being the entire story. For example, before Windows 7 came out, the taskbar changes were similarly controversial. But that largely died down after people actually used the new taskbar and found it to be an improvement - or at least not a significant step backwards.

Painting all critics of the start screen with the same broad brush is no different from claiming that everyone hates the start screen. Both are over-broad, absolutist generalisations that don't stand up to even the most basic tests of intellectual rigour. Statistical analysis has value, certainly - but it's the height of arrogant presumption to leap from that to acting as if Microsoft, or you, know how everyone ought to use their computer better than they do.

Prior to Windows 8, that's probably the best thing I could say about Microsoft: whatever other problems existed with their software, they were always good about providing users with options and multiple ways to accomplish most tasks. Which I always found to be in stark contrast to the more paternalistic attitude behind Apple software (we have decreed that this is the best way to perform this particular task, so we're not going to give you any other way to do it). Lately, though, Microsoft seems hellbent on copying every bad idea that Apple ever had.

Reply Parent Score: 3