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Though early Windows 8 reviewers largely praise Microsoft's (MSFT) Metro tablet UI, Matthew...

Though early Windows 8 reviewers largely praise Microsoft's (MSFT) Metro tablet UI, Matthew Baxter-Reynolds thinks Microsoft has compromised its usability in the name of making it aesthetically pleasing. Baxter-Reynolds notes Microsoft's Metro design guidelines limit the amount of information that appears on a display, and also force users to take extra steps to access needed controls. And those guidelines need to be followed for Microsoft to approve a Metro app.
Comments (7)
  • Eightball
    , contributor
    Comments (134) | Send Message
     
    It's gonna be a hit. First innovative UI in years.
    17 May 2012, 12:16 PM Reply Like
  • AlanMcBee
    , contributor
    Comments (49) | Send Message
     
    "...Microsoft's Metro design guidelines limit the amount of information that appears on a display..."

     

    This is actually very intentional, and a brilliant move by Microsoft. Too many app designers try to put too much information or too many controls on one screen. If the primary goal of all users was to not click or tap anything at all, then we could just put everything on one screen in a tiny little font, and make them read it all. We don't, because it's not the primary goal.

     

    The most efficient way to provide usability is a two-step cycle: provide just enough information for a user to quickly make an informed choice about the next action, and then make it as easy and fast as possible for that user to take that next action. Repeat in as few steps as possible.

     

    Metro promotes exactly that kind of efficiency. It raises the bar for application designers who now, more than ever, must THINK HARD about how to present just enough information for the first step, and to keep the controls to perform the second step as simple and meaningful as possible.

     

    Compare this with Steve Jobs's successful strategy with the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. A hallmark characteric of those devices is that they are LESS configurable, expansive, and comprehensive (read: "less information on a display") than their competitors' counterparts, and I would argue that this characteristic is a significant factor in their success. Most people just want to spend most of their time connecting to other people, or reading/writing/watchi... to/keeping track of stuff, and they don't really need or want to twiddle with every little bit in order to do all of that.

     

    Less is more.
    17 May 2012, 01:04 PM Reply Like
  • romilar
    , contributor
    Comments (662) | Send Message
     
    You are right on Alan.In this case particularly,less is more means less time consuming squint-essential frustration and more connections.So unless someone can repopularize"getting there is half the fun",thumbs up MSFT...
    17 May 2012, 01:25 PM Reply Like
  • W2A
    , contributor
    Comments (7) | Send Message
     
    I wonder how many equity pundits have actually laid hands on Windows 8. I have been holding MSFT for far too many years waiting for it to move as I watched my Apple fan friends get rich. I have developed Microsoft centric products and software since the days of DOS and I am now testing Win 8 beta on my Acer W500 tablet.

     

    Windows 8 offers a good and competitive tablet experience along with a disappointing desktop OS. The primary issue I and others have with Win 8 touch is the lack of support for either Flash or Silverlight in the Metro IE 10 browser. Users are forced to switch to the desktop IE 10 to use flash sites and apps. To add insult, Microsoft has not updated its own multi-media sites to be compatible with Metro IE 10! This means that most if not all Microsoft video tutorials, news sites and its own Zune music page cannot be used with Metro.

     

    The refusal of Microsoft to support Flash and Silverlight along with the removal of the Start Button/Menu in the desktop UI may ensure it repeats the Vista fiasco. This is all unnecessary and in our litigious market place it is not too farfetched to imagine investors suing Microsoft for share loses if Windows becomes a 2012 Vista repeat.
    17 May 2012, 01:20 PM Reply Like
  • AlanMcBee
    , contributor
    Comments (49) | Send Message
     
    Also, this article was not penned by Mary-Jo Foley, but a guest author, Matthew Baxter-Reynolds, as stated in the preamble for the article.
    17 May 2012, 02:07 PM Reply Like
  • SA Editor Eric Jhonsa
    , contributor
    Comments (829) | Send Message
     
    You're right, the byline threw me off. Corrected the post to note the right author.
    17 May 2012, 02:12 PM Reply Like
  • Herr Hansa
    , contributor
    Comments (3080) | Send Message
     
    Reminds me a little of some of the issues of app development for Windows 8 Metro, while I was writing my last article. I don't completely agree with the author of the ZDNet piece, though I think she illustrates aspects of why some people simply will not like Windows Phone 8. Some people will want fields of icons and things little changed from where they are now. I have to wonder though, since we have not seen iOS 6 from Apple, what would people think if Apple moved more towards multi-tasking or a Metro like interface. Ease of use is good for people new to smartphone and tablets, but I do think there is a market out there for power users and those who want greater control of their information.
    17 May 2012, 02:33 PM Reply Like
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