Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 26th Jun 2013 16:41 UTC
Windows Microsoft has released the Windows 8.1 preview for download, but they region-locked it to 13 specific languages, and Dutch is not one of them. So, even though my Surface RT has been completely and utterly English from the day I bought it, I can't install Windows 8.1 and tell you something about it. Those of you who can download it, why don't you tell us what it's like - or you can head to The Verge who got early access. In case you couldn't tell, I'm a little annoyed that we're arbitrarily being left out once again.
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RE[6]: Start Button Useless??
by Nelson on Thu 27th Jun 2013 00:00 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Start Button Useless??"
Nelson
Member since:
2005-11-29

But Windows has 90% of the market & that includes the great majority of people with a modest-to-good knowledge of computing.


This is true, but Windows is looking for growth in a segment with a defined demographic that is more consumer oriented. The days of huge Desktop Towers are coming to an end, with rumors of even Samsung divesting their Desktop business.

Laptops are inherently mobile, will become thinner and lighter and be expected to have great battery life characteristics and predictable performance.

The issue is that the iPad, Android, and other mobile OSes do things quite a bit better than Windows. iOS's curated app store changed the game.

Prior to the tablet explosion Microsoft could afford to ignore it to an extent, but now with tablets cannibalizing PC sales, they need to meet it head on.

People are already hooked on predictable performance brought on by curated stores, they're used to fast and fluid experience, they're used to exceptional battery life.

This is why Windows needed a fundamental change. The whole story wasn't told with Windows 8, and still isn't told with Windows 8.1 -- but this is the point of an evolution.

I don't need to remind anyone here how curiously terrible Android was at version 1. Things do get better with time, as the ideas and the visions are iterated upon.

The biggest disruption in PC computing since the turn of the century is probably the realization that more isn't always better, that densely packing information into every pixel is bad, and giving users 20 knobs to turn is poor UX.

Windows has traditionally banked on being successful by virtue of being Windows. This meant they could afford piss poor UX designs, confusing and convoluted user interfaces, and poor reliability.

That said, the improvements in 8.1 certainly make things a tad more productive. The variable snapped states are even more than I expected, and a lot of the improvements in the UI are in responses to feed back.


As to their market research, obviously they have done their homework much more thoroughly than the haters. But that doesn't mean they are necessarily right. The problem with asking people what they want is that when you give it to them, they'll suddenly tell you they actually want something else. Polls don't predict elections all that well, Ford's customers wanted a faster horse &c.


I think this is also true, which is why they measured usage in their telemetry and considered feedback.

I think its hard to argue with the overwhelming amount of statistics and rationale they provided for why they changed things in Windows 8. Their blog posts are immense thickets of words that pretty transparently explain their thought process.

Edited 2013-06-27 00:01 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[7]: Start Button Useless??
by Fergy on Thu 27th Jun 2013 06:08 in reply to "RE[6]: Start Button Useless??"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

I think its hard to argue with the overwhelming amount of statistics and rationale they provided for why they changed things in Windows 8. Their blog posts are immense thickets of words that pretty transparently explain their thought process.

Can you show me the statistics where customers liked loosing a feature that they were actively using? And can you show me the statistics that show having the option between the startscreen and the startmenu is bad?

Think about this: what would have happened if you could download the old startmenu in MS appstore?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[8]: Start Button Useless??
by Nelson on Thu 27th Jun 2013 11:00 in reply to "RE[7]: Start Button Useless??"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

The rationale for the Start Screen is that Windows 7 users engaged it less as a result of the new Taskbar introduced in Windows 7.

With Windows 8, that idea is expanded upon. You're able to pin your favorite apps to a familiar location, organize them the way you want, and receive at a glance information.

The Start Screen takes over the function of the Taskbar and the Desktop, while the All Apps menu takes over the function of the Start Menu.

The reasoning for this is that the Start Menu was a dumping ground for Search AND App discovery. It was fine for a few results (say 20 or less), but it scaled terribly for more results than that.

In fact, the rest of the screen was unusable when the Start Menu was open. It was essentially a modal dialog taking up a fixed amount of pixels on your screen regardless of the real estate available.

Search is a similar situation. The Start Menu just did not scale to the size of the results.

Reply Parent Score: 2