Newsletters
News & Information for Technology Purchasers NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
This ad will display for the next 20 seconds. Click for more information, or
Home Enterprise I.T. Cloud Computing Applications Hardware More Topics...
Neustar, Inc.
Protect your website & network
using real-time information & analysis

www.neustar.biz
Microsoft/Windows
24/7/365 Network Uptime!
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
Usability Guru Rips Windows 8 Design
Usability Guru Rips Windows 8 Design

By Jennifer LeClaire
November 20, 2012 7:04AM

    Bookmark and Share
More blows for Windows 8. And this time, they're heavy. Jakob Nielsen says Windows 8's user interface sacrifices usability on the altar of looking different. Nielsen calls the icons in Windows 8 flat, monochromatic, and coarsely simplified. He says the overly live tiles backfire and that the Windows 8 designers went overboard, while key functions are hidden.
 



Usability guru Jakob Nielsen had to end his review of Windows 8 with an assurance that he doesn't hate Microsoft. That's because he tore it to shreds.

Apparently, Nielsen didn't like what he deemed a reversal of Microsoft's user interface strategy, one that differs from the traditional Bill Gates-driven style that emphasizes powerful commands. He said Microsoft has "gone soft" and "smothers" users with big colorful tiles while hiding needed features.

"One of the worst aspects of Windows 8 for power users is that the product's very name has become a misnomer. Windows no longer supports multiple windows on the screen," Nielsen wrote in a blog post. "Win8 does have an option to temporarily show a second area in a small part of the screen, but none of our test users were able to make this work. Also, the main UI [user interface] restricts users to a single window, so the product ought to be renamed 'Microsoft Window.' "

Sacrificing Usability for Looks?

As Nielsen sees it, the single-window strategy works well on tablets and is a must on a small phone screen. But with a big monitor and dozens of applications and Web sites running simultaneously, he said, a high-end PC user definitely benefits from the ability to see multiple windows at the same time.

"When users can't view several windows simultaneously, they must keep information from one window in short-term memory while they activate another window. This is problematic for two reasons," Nielsen said. "First, human short-term memory is notoriously weak, and second, the very task of having to manipulate a window -- instead of simply glancing at one that's already open -- further taxes the user's cognitive resources."

Nielsen said the new user interface sacrifices usability on the altar of looking different. He called the icons flat, monochromatic, and coarsely simplified. He said the overly live tiles backfire and that the application designers went overboard. He also complained that the charms are hidden in generic commands. Charms are a panel of icons that slide in from the screen's right side after a flicking gesture from the right edge on a tablet or after pointing the mouse to the screen's upper right corner on a computer.

"In practice, the charms work poorly -- at least for new users. The old saying, out of sight, out of mind, turned out to be accurate," Nielsen said. "Because the charms are hidden, our users often forgot to summon them, even when they needed them. In applications such as Epicurious, which included a visible reminder of the search feature, users turned to search much more frequently." (continued...)

1  |  2  |  Next Page >

 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

Eric J. Green:

Posted: 2012-11-21 @ 9:49am PT
Am I mistaken or does the full Windows 8 version not have a desktop where you can run multiple applications side by side?

I know with Windows 8 RT, you can only have one application run at a time and it is horrendous to rotate between applications. This is the same for iPAD 1 (not sure about 2+, since I've never used them.) But if I were a power user, why would I purchase the Windows 8 RT version? Go with the full blown Windows 8 version and boom: I'm a multitasking champ again.



Neustar, Inc. (NYSE: NSR) is a trusted, neutral provider of real-time information and analysis to the Internet, telecommunications, information services, financial services, retail, media and advertising sectors. Neustar applies its advanced, secure technologies in location, identification, and evaluation to help its customers promote and protect their businesses. More information is available at www.neustar.biz.


 Microsoft/Windows
1.   Microsoft Buys InMage Recovery Tech
2.   'Reinvent Productivity,' Nadella Urges
3.   Microsoft Revamps Office 365 Plans
4.   Windows 7 Ends Mainstream Support
5.   Another IE-Focused Patch Tuesday


advertisement
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Report: Chinese Hackers Hit U.S. Personnel Networks
Hackers from China broke into the computer networks of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management earlier this year with the intention of accessing the files of tens of thousands of federal employees.
 
Charges: Russian Stole Data from U.S. Restaurants, Zoo
A Russian man arrested on bank fraud and other charges hacked into computers at restaurants in Washington, hundreds of other retail businesses, and even the Phoenix Zoo, authorities say.
 
Another Month, Another IE-Focused Patch Tuesday
Microsoft rolled out 59 vulnerabilities for Internet Explorer in June. But the IE-patching party is not over yet. Redmond published six new security bulletins on Tuesday; two, critical; three, important.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Another Day, Another Internet of Things Consortium Is Born
In the emerging Internet of Things, zillions of devices will be talking to each other. Samsung, Intel and Dell just formed a consortium to ensure each thing can understand what others are saying.
 
Gartner Sales Study Sees Tablets Up, PCs Down but Recovering
Are PCs on the comeback trail? That depends on how you define "comeback." While tablet sales remain strong, Gartner's latest study found PC shipments aren't dropping as fast as they did last year.
 
Review: Warming Up to Tablets with Keyboard Covers
If you've ever thought tablets with keyboard covers were just a poor excuse for a laptop, think again. Nokia's Lumia 2520 comes with an optional keyboard cover that just may change your mind.
 

Navigation
NewsFactor Network
Home/Top News | Enterprise I.T. | Cloud Computing | Applications | Hardware | Mobile Tech | Big Data | Communications
World Wide Web | Network Security | Data Storage | Small Business | Microsoft/Windows | Apple/Mac | Linux/Open Source | Personal Tech
Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters | XML/RSS Feed

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.