25 February 2013

Windows 8

So, I don't know if you all have used Windows 8 (the new operating system on all microsoft devices), but I think it is an improvement from designs they have been using recently such as 7 or Vista. I've been a long time PC user and for the most part have been satisfied with their functionality and the processing power they have but have been disappointed with their user interface design. I love using my PC but I can see why people are turned away, you have to know what your doing, it takes time. With any of Apple's recent products it takes mere seconds to figure out to use it.

Windows Vista and XP had basically the same interface and while it worked, it was boring and you probably had to change the visual settings on your computer to make things work. It seemed that with 7 Microsoft took some ideas from the Apple's design but made things more confusing adding a Dock at the bottom of the screen but keeping shortcuts.

 In Windows 8 they made everything more streamlined while keeping it functional and intuitive without making it seem like another Apple copycat. I was at first disappointed with how you couldn't customize the interface too much but realized that it was this reason that Apple's design is effective: it forces developers to fall into their design guidelines. The "tiles" are a lot like apps you would find on any Apple product. Their "Metro" leaves a lot of room for creativity  for developers using their platform while maintaining the much needed simplicity of their new user interface.


  1. I understand what you mean by limiting the user interface. However I feel like that is one of the only things that PC has that separates them. Personal Computer, if you can't customize to a great extent then it really is no different from mac. I own a PC but work mostly on macs. They both do there jobs but I'm not to excited about the windows 8 platform, in fact I had a free upgrade for it but at the time it said InDesign wouldn't work with the platform so I decided against it.

  2. I used to use a PC for many many years with our business for accounting. I like my Apple soooooooo much more. I always thought that the PC was hard to use and I always got viruses and had to take it in to be repaired. Also I had times that I lost data. I have completely switched to Apple and have an Ipad and iPhone too. I switched my husband and kids to Apple too. I do hope that Windows keeps up with the creativity of Apple. I think the competition is good.

  3. I personally think that the new Windows 8 design is a user experience and interface design disaster. Microsoft tried to kill 2 birds with one stone. The problem is they do not give a good experience on either device (desktop or tablet) by combining the two different ways of providing user interaction.

    On a desktop you use a small mouse cursor which means you can selected relatively tiny objects on the screen. This allows for large amounts of screen real estate which is great for multitasking and getting things done. The new Windows 8 interface's "Metro" does not allow this on the desktop unless you peel back the interface to the old Windows 7 style desktop.

    On a tablet the user interacts with the user interface by their finger. This provides a very realistic feel because the user does not have to use an extension of themselves (mouse) to select objects on the screen. The Windows 8 interface does provide this in the tiles on the "Metro" screen but if you need to go to settings or anything that "Metro" cannot provide, suddenly are dropped back to the desktop interface of Windows 7.

    Ultimately, I believe that Microsoft should have gone the route that Apple did in splitting their operating systems into 2 different user interfaces. This would allow a seamless experience on both devices and I think would improve the quality of the devices in general. Anyways, time will tell how this will play out.

  4. If this blog had more PC users this would easily have been turned into a Mac vs. PC battle, thankfully its not because us designers know what to use!

    Anyways, I feel that Microsoft isn't getting the whole 'limit user abilities' because there are many things that need to be accomplished that they had hidden from users that they end up searching everywhere to find. If we are going the Apple route, they still give users options but are put in obvious places to look and find if need be. Customization is one thing but complete system limitation overhauls are too much.

    I also agree that the OS should be separate, not the same (Windows Phone and Windows 8). They are too similar because the phone OS has less ability than a normal desktop OS which causes issues for desktop users.

    In speaking about design stuff... User interface is confusing and not quickly understandable. You have to figure out symbols that are unrecognizable. The grid structure is nice but with all thats happening (running) its takes a toll on performance.

    I guess we just leave it with Microsoft needs some designers but unfortunately designers only use Macs

  5. Not to spark up that mac vs pc battle, but I've always preferred PC due to the level of customization in both hardware and software. Macs tend to be much more expensive for what they do (or don't do), and have much more limited options. To me, Adobe software runs the same on either platform so I see no reason to buy a much more expensive mac that will become obsolete just as quickly, and that I can't upgrade parts for as easily (if at all).

    That being said, Windows 8 is the new Vista. Worse, probably. I've only used it briefly but it seems to be a pretty perfect example of what not to do- change your UI so drastically that no one sees any familiarity in it. This drives users away, especially when Windows 7 doesn't feel out of date yet. Windows 8 feels like more of a gimmick to promote Windows phones. I fully admit on that account that iPhones are more stable and standardized than anything else right now (probably due to the status symbol value they've taken on). It's nice that Microsoft is trying though.

  6. I have never understood the idea of being faithful to a brand like it's your favorite sports team or something. That being said, I think the way Windows 8 is designed visually looks nice. It's clean with the use of icons, colors, rectangles, and squares unifying everything. I don't think there is anything special visually about the way OS looks on Macs or the iPhone so I have to applaud Microsoft for going out and trying.

    I've never actually used or interacted Windows 8 as I work on my MacBook and the Macs in the computer labs so I can't comment on the usability, but I will say visually it looks good.