Newsletters
Technology, Discovery & Innovation 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 Computing Digital Life Discovery Space More Topics...
Computing
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
Usability Guru Rips Windows 8 Design

Usability Guru Rips Windows 8 Design
By Jennifer LeClaire

Share
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Share on Google Plus

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.



Salesforce.com is the market and technology leader in Software-as-a-Service. Its award-winning CRM solution helps 82,400 customers worldwide manage and share business information over the Internet. Experience CRM success. Click here for a FREE 30-day trial.


 Computing
1.   UPS Stores Hit by Data Breach
2.   Acer Desktop Box Rides Chrome Wave
3.   VMware Buys CloudVolumes' V-Apps
4.   Target Data Breach Cost: $148 Million
5.   New Lenovo PCs for Business Users


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

Network Security Spotlight
UPS Stores in 24 States Hit by Data Breach
Big Brown has been breached. UPS said that about 105,000 customer transactions at 51 of its UPS Store locations in 24 states could have been compromised between January and August.
 
Cost of Target Data Breach: $148 Million Plus Loss of Trust
The now infamous Target data breach is still costing the company -- and its shareholders -- plenty. In fact, the retailing giant forecast the December 2013 incident cost shareholders $148 million.
 
Aruba Networks Handles Black Hat with Aplomb
It's not an easy job. Aruba Networks' task throughout the Black Hat USA conference in Las Vegas this month was to ensure thousands of attendees could connect without malicious attacks.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Acer's New Desktop Box Rides the Chrome OS Wave
Filling out its Chrome OS line, Acer is following the introduction of a larger Chromebook line earlier this month with a new tiny $180 desktop Chromebox and also a smaller Chromebook.
 
Three New Lenovo PCs Aimed at Business Users
Businesses everywhere want computing solutions that do more for less money, and Lenovo has unveiled three new desktop PCs that offer solid computing at a budget-minded price.
 
Aruba Networks Handles Black Hat with Aplomb
It's not an easy job. Aruba Networks' task throughout the Black Hat USA conference in Las Vegas this month was to ensure thousands of attendees could connect without malicious attacks.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
Google Glass Adds Voice Access to Phone Contacts
The latest update to Google Glass will let users access their top 20 phone contacts with voice commands alone. A user can then choose a phone call, Google hangouts, e-mail or text messaging.
 
Samsung, B&N Target Amazon with Nook Tablet
They've seen the enemy and it is Amazon. So Samsung and Barnes & Noble are teaming up to combat their common foe with a 7-inch tablet that blends Samsung’s tech, Nook’s content and e-reader platform.
 
Acer's New Desktop Box Rides the Chrome OS Wave
Filling out its Chrome OS line, Acer is following the introduction of a larger Chromebook line earlier this month with a new tiny $180 desktop Chromebox and also a smaller Chromebook.
 

Navigation
Sci-Tech Today
Home/Top News | Computing | Digital Life | Discovery | Space | Innovation | Health | Science News
Environment
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

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.