... the heading of this article -- "weak on tablets, terrible for PCs" -- isn’t actually mine. It’s from a new study on the UseIt website that asked 12 experienced PC users to take a look at Microsoft’s OS (on PCs and Surface RT) and condensed their findings into a scathing report that’s full of damning, but entertaining declarations, such as: "Windows 8 on mobile devices and tablets is akin to Dr. Jekyll: a tortured soul hoping for redemption. On a regular PC, Windows 8 is Mr. Hyde: a monster that terrorizes poor office workers and strangles their productivity".
The report complains that Windows 8’s style makes it difficult to know what can and can’t be clicked. Buttons don’t look like buttons; links look like headings. Live content makes it impossible a lot of the time to know what various tiles are supposed to represent...
...Like any piece of software, once you know how to use it, Windows 8 is actually pretty easy to navigate around, but you’ve got to invest time in it. The mark of a good user interface, for me, is how obvious and intuitive it is. If you have to wave your mouse around the screen, clicking more in hope than expectation, someone, somewhere has done a bad job.
With a great interface design, you move around the screens and menus instinctively, without thinking about what you’re doing. If you have to pause and wonder how the hell to do something fundamental -- like shut down an operating system -- the UX designer has failed you very badly indeed.
What I don't understand is how Microsoft thought it could combine phone, tablet and desktop operating systems into a single cohesive whole. Apple's Macs use OS/X and its phones and tablets employ IOS. Google uses the Chrome OS for its thin-client laptop experience and the Android operating system for phones and tablets.
To try and combine both would appear to require an unprecedented usability breakthrough.
Worse still, there are reports Microsoft is censoring criticism of Windows 8.
The board is dedicated to ConeXware's Power Archiver compression toolkit, and the thread in question began on August first, when Windows 8 was released to manufacturing. The post announcing the RTM was then followed by a handful of comments from different users and developers who panned the Windows 8 interface...
"Words cannot describe just how much I hate that Metro Interface. Yuck!"
... "The problem here is that Metro isn't designed to be used with a keyboard and a mouse. I don't understand how MS could come up with this idea of mixing two totally different GUIs with each other."
... "I hate Metro and cannot use it...The kicker is that MSoft is removing the desktop option AND making sure that those hacks that bring it back do not work."
Then, on August 17, Microsoft filed a complaint with Google that this message thread contained copyright infringing materials.
A just-released survey indicates just two of five current Windows users plan on upgrading to the latest version of Microsoft's operating system. While these are the early days, it would appear Microsoft has some heavy public relations lifting to do.
Update: Windows 8 Consumer Preview Official Demo Parody.