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Jakob Nielsen: Disappointing usability for new and power users in Windows 8

Jakob Nielsen, Ph.D. and User Advocate and principal of the Nielsen Norman Group (www.nngroup.com), has spoken out about usability concerns in Windows 8. Nielsen goes into great detail about aspects of Microsoft's latest desktop operating system and how features just don't make sense to new and established power users.

Now we're not ones to quickly jump on the wagon to attack Microsoft's products, but criticism is due when it's required. Windows 8 is a mess to some consumers, with many believing it to be more difficult to use than Windows 7. Nielsen's article summary sums up his thoughts in few words:

"Hidden features, reduced discoverability, cognitive overhead from dual environments, and reduced power from a single-window UI and low information density. Too bad."

It's not all negative, though. There are praises for the innovations Microsoft has made and how the elements highlighted in his article could work. But the current implementation and restrictions that Windows 8 forces on those who are used to Windows 7 and prior versions of the desktop OS is an issue that's worth highlighting.

Windows 8 Upgrade

We'll not reiterate exactly what Nielsen wrote as his blog post is definitely worth reading in its entirety if you're experiencing similar issues with Windows 8, but this is a list of topics he covered in the write up:

  • Double Desktop = Cognitive Overhead and Added Memory Load
  • Lack of Multiple Windows = Memory Overload for Complex Tasks
  • Flat Style Reduces Discoverability
  • Low Information Density
  • Overly Live Tiles Backfire
  • Charms Are Hidden Generic Commands
  • Error-Prone Gestures
  • Windows 8 UX: Weak on Tablets, Terrible for PCs

Whether your thoughts be on either side of the fence, Nielsen's thoughts on the user experience in Windows 8 are well worth checking out. Such issues have been brought up previously through the few previews Microsoft released to the public for testing before Windows 8 launched.

The question has to be: why hasn't Microsoft already acted to at least help flatten the learning curve for new users? Do you agree with Jakob Nielsen's points?

Source: Useit

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

188 Comments
  • His site. http://www.useit.com/
    'nuff said.
  • lol wow, I wasn't expecting a site so.... lame
  • This is his idea of maximum usablility. And for what it is, I guess maybe it is highly usable. But he's critiquing an OS, and he is doing it in a way that is completely mechanical and ignores the emotional component and that does a lot more to shape a user's feelings about something than the mechanical does, IMO.
  • If that's his idea of max usability he can keep it, design wise that's such a distracting field of text with little to no information compartmentalization that using it is nigh impossible. Even by the design standards of the web in it's infancy that would have been considered lack-luster at best, by today's standards it's downright arrogant to critique *anything* visually and operationally while presenting such a dreadful front end. 
  • HOLY CRAP!
    I think Nielsen's site just gave me cancer!
    And the dude looks like he's 87 years old - "NEW THINGS MAKE ME ANGRY!"
  • WOW.. that's bad, I do web design for a living and.. wow.. that site takes me back to the days of NCSA Mosaic.. 
  • Ditto. And I wouldn't call that website useful, engaging, or at all an example of anything besides what you should NOT do in terms of web or usability design. Above the fold, it's relatively clear, if unattractive in a manner that suggests his design aesthetic wasn't very forward thinking even 15 years ago. But that mass of links without page breaks or even real headings is just nightmarishly bad. Just, awful.
  • If you do web design for a living and have not yet come across Jakob's work, I suggest you go back and re-learn the principles of good design ... usability.
    Meanwhile you have all missed the point my light years. Stop criticising his site and analyse his article. Unlike other sites and fanbpys (of either side), he applies QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS (big words, I know, sorry) using known METHODS. While I don't agree with Jakob for many things, I am mature and intelligent enough to be able to take on-board his quantitative analysis and subjective conclusion and use it to form my OWN opinion.
    It's how mature people have been doing things for years.
  • I honestly believe his site is a point of critique.. if you're going to make claims of being an expert at something but not present the burden of proof visually as well as verbally, well... something is lacking.  I'm a visual person.. *SHOW ME* that one has the skills... talk is cheap.  also it's Analyze, not Analyse... Small words I know, sorry..
  • Agree what a twit!  I see nothing but improvements in Win8 the more I use it the more I love it!
     
  • Wow and this guy wants to talk about usability...LOL... His site look like a paper in progress hahaha...
  • This is one ugly site! who is the clown anyways ??
  • Hahahahah, Is that guy for real?
    Maby it's just a way to try to get his 15 minuttes.
    Anyway... Look at their "company" site : http://www.nngroup.com/
  • LOL LOL LOL well no shiit he'd find Win8 difficult to use.  His site is optimized for Netscape 3.0 on Windows 95! HAHAHA
  • +1
  • Good call, lol.
  • I can't believe it's real, its almost as bad as the Steelers uniforms. This is HTML1.0 level crap. Where is the blinking scrolling marquee???
  • Its funny that no one likes those uniforms
  • All he needs now is a spinning logo.
  • Lol, I know, right. Now all we need is a photo converted into a gig and we'll be set. Heck, why not put the page in frames.
  • That looks like something I built when I was 15 in the Angelfire and Geocities days. 
  • Lol I had a site in Geocities, I have no idea what happened to it
  • I guess that's the "information density" that he is talking about. Talk about a major mess!
  • As a user on both my desktop and surface tablet, I don't agree with his assessment.  On my tablet it's rather simple and I was shocked how quickly I adapted to it on mouse and keyboard.  I think again we are seeing a lack of adjusting to change.  For so long there was just one way of using the PC and now that MS is going in a different direction, there is gonna be bellyaching.  There could be some tweaks ms could put in to help ease that learning curves.  Some fine tuning in the form of a service pack update.  However I find Win 8 a joy to use vs 7 and would not switch back. 
  • i havent looked back to windows 7 since i used windows 8. It is so awesome
  • Me either. Windows 7 seems so archaic. Another point this dude says lack of multiple windows? Wtf. I have 20-30 apps open at once. Its called multi tasking. This guy has brain cancer.
  • Well, when you are using WIndows 8 Sto.. err, Metro Apps, you can have at most 2 apps open at the same time.  And he COMPLETELY disregards that.  He also complains about "low information apps", yet doesn't understand that design principle is in EVERY mobile app.
     
    And just because he has the last name Nieleson, some will confuse it with Neilson, as in Neilson Ratings, and think he has a leg to stand up on.  He's a bafoon.
  • Gotta be honest, I thought he was the person behind Neilson ratings. I didn't realize his last name was different.
  • I only WISH he had brain cancer... =/
  • I completely agree. I was uneasy about upgrading both my laptop and desktop to Win8, but after using my surface for about a week I jumped in and found it to be a rather pleasant experience. I haven't yet read his blog post, but I can't help but disagree with the points brought up. Sure there's a learning curve, but its all for the better in my opinion.
  • +1
  • I'm all in. Got W8 Pro on my HP h8-1090t, high gloss yellow Lumia 920, and Surface RT!
  • Same here.  I put Win8 on my laptop and desktop, I plan on getting the Surface Pro the day it comes out, and I have WP7 now and plan to get the Lumia 920 as soon as I'm more confident it will work on T-Mobile.  Pair those with the Xbox I've had for a few years and it truly is a 3 screen experience (minus the issues with Xbox Video).
  • I guess I'm not as challenged as the "experts" and "power users". I have both a tablet and a desktop with non-touch monitor and can switch between both without missing a beat. Maybe I'm a mutant.....
  • Your not a mutant I've had the same experience. For every 12 people that will find it difficult there will be 100 that don't.
    Some people don't like change. Even if it isn't difficult, they are predisposed to bitch about it.
     
  • +1. Some people complain about everything.
  • That is so true
  • Man, I wish you'd stop being so damn agreeable all the time.
     
    I can't stand the way people post stuff to the Internet.
  • Then get off the internet
  • I agree to that...lol. Free will.
  • I have no issues with Windows 8 on a traditional laptop. In fact, it's made my 4 year old laptop much faster. I can't wait for a Surface Pro or another tablet with an Ivy Bridge processor.
  • It found I had a Bluetooth installed, o forgot all about it years ago. LOL
  • I can see it now.
    Hmmm, oh neato a picture of a kitten frockling in a field of grass! I gotta share that one.
    Charms -> Share -> Bluetooth?
    I HAVE BLUETOOTH!?
  • I'm on windows 8 and I won't go back. It is indeed different but its a good different. At first there are something's that made go wtf...because i once I learned the os, its all good change. I like having apps for somethings like Facebook messaging because its easier to read and sometimes that's all I want to have on my screen. windows 8 is also stupid fast on my desktop. The speed increase alone is worth it.
  • i agree with the dumb fast. I bought my mother an hp desktop idk what model but it has a tb of storage 5 gb of ram and 2.36 dual core intel processor and when i put win8 on it, it blew my mind how damn fast the thing was. This is the windows i have been waiting for productivity wise as well as personally. it just does everything flawlessly. completely disagree with the notion that windows 8 is a mess.
  • Sorry but I hate windows 8. They should have called it "windows for tablets" or something like that and kept PC and tablet OS separate just like Apple.
    Does Apple have OSX on an iPad? No. Because Apple are smart enough to realize the difference between using a tablet and a PC.
    Windows 8 is totally meant for tablets and with just the metro UI. Having both desktop and metro UI available merely confuses the average consumer. The consumer just can't understand what to use it as: tablet or PC?
    Thank you MS, you have driven me to buy a MacBook pro. I'll continue to use windows phone but goodbye to PC.
  • So what you're saying is that you are representative of the average consumer.
  • No what I'm saying is that it's meant for TABLETS ONLY. The experience is way better than an iPad but sucks for a laptop or desktop.
    And I observed my non tech-savvy relatives and friends use windows 8 and they couldn't understand what to use it as. Tablet or PC?
  • It isn't mean for tablets only. Microsoft clearly means it to be used on the PC too.
    Maybe that's the problem. They are trying to define it instead of just using it.
  • Well, I have been using Windows 8 on my laptop and desktop and couldn't disagree with you more. I can't imagine using Windows 7 on my desktop anymore. On my Surface, it's also a beautiful and functional OS. I observed my non tech-savvy relatives and friends using Windows 8 on their laptops and desktops, and boy, do they enjoy every second of it.
  • Thats weird my family who are all non-tech savvy all have no problems with navigating it. So are these people smarter than you or more adaptable than you.  
  • my 50 year old mother knows how to use it, and she is not tech savvy at all. my 19 year old brother uses it fine. Hell my 14 year old sister knows how to use it. my friends love it, my family loves it. maybe blackprince is right maybe you and your tech savvy friends are either too dumb to use it or too stubborn to use it. Gotta be one or the other.
  • Sorry but you are 100% wrong, windows 8 is actually really nice on a regular desktop and especially nice once you get everything set up with short cuts on the start screen/taskbar on the desktop. I am running windows 8 pro on my 4 year old desktop pc and it works like a charm. All my applications work from windows 7 and I get the best of both worlds, apps like I have on my phone and desktop like I had when running windows 7 plus improved performance.
     
    Sure there are some things that need to be worked out but the initial out of the box use is fantastic. Now the one thing I will say is this: Preview versions of windows 8 that I used were nowhere near as nice as the finished version. I tried the previews a couple of times and both times went back to windows 7 unimpressed but when I switched to the final version and gave it a chance I would now rather never go back.
     
    Most of the people I have seen who do not like windows 8 only spent about 20 minutes playing with it, if you make a focus on using it and learning it the experience becomes immeasurably better. Maybe this is the same thing with this person who reviewed it, he tried to have it render his website and the browser laughed at him because of how ridiculous his useit site was so he gave up :p
  • I hope you can explain to me in detail why Windows 8 sucks on a laptop or desktop. We all know that the tablet UI is not for desktop. That's why MS provides you with a desktop interface as well, and it is one click away from the start screen and you are back to your favored interface. You don't ever need to go back to the tablet UI if you don't want to. Are you saying just that extra one click and Windows 8 sucks? and your tech-savvy relatives and friends could not understand that and confused about the interface? I really wonder how tech savvy are those people or you are just BS'ing. I keep seeing people like you hating Windows 8 and yet would not do that one click to go to your beloved desktop and keep torturing yourself with the tablet UI. What gives?
  • I think I said "NON tech-savvy" if you read correctly. And the start menu is gone from desktop. I use that alot to search and quickly open programs and folders. Now I have to keep shortcuts on my desktop.
    God, this site has become like that shit site wmpoweruser. Full of zealots.
    There are many users here who use Macs and are not too happy with win8. I guess I'm a fool for just coming out and voicing my opinion.
  • You do realize from the start screen you can find any app (Metro or otherwise) simply by typing its name? HOw much easier can it get. If you are looking for folders you'd be doing that from Windows Explorer that still exists on the desktop where you find it now. The Start Screen is nothing more than a full screen Start Button. How much easier can it get?
  • If you really want to get your start menu back, you can use Start8 or classic menu. But of course you'll continue to complain about it instead of helping yourself with it. People having different opinions about the OS are zealots? Really? What about you then? and people using Macs have a high probability of not happy with WIn8. Isn't that obvious? Are you one of those?
  • Really? Goodbye to PC? Win 8 works just like win 7 and better if you want it to. It just has the added touch functionality for you when you need it (For new PC's with touch screens.) If you don't have a new PC and hate the mouse interaction with win8, buy a touchpad. It'll be just as intuitive as using a touch screen. What's the confusion? You're gonna buy a $1500 MacBook instead of learning a few gestures for win8? Pretty extreme dude.
  • Windows 7 is still better than anything Apple puts out, so the choice is between Win 7 and Win 8 really. As for Windows 8 on a tablet, you cam think of it like a tablet that is docked to the computer all the time, switch to desktop mode to manage it, run in metro to use it.
  • Application windows on a low ppi screen looks really bad compared to Windows 8. Visually the rounded edges in Windows 7 were the most disturbing in my opinion.
  • Days of personal computers being a hulking bulk at home that you cannot take with you are becoming a dying breed.  Laptops replaced a lot of desktop computers.  Virtual machines over take the large footprints of computers.  MS is hoping that this trend continues and the Surface will eventually replace the laptop and netbook.  Its actaully pretty genious and Apple will slowly find themselves doing the same thing.  But they will already be left behind.
  • Leo... I'm typing on a MacBook Pro and found your post - amusing.  :)
    You do realize you don't HAVE to use the Windows 8 UI right? You can stay in tablet/touch screen/Metro mode OR flip over to a standard desktop experience. That's pretty handy... and in fact... a pretty darn good experience - choice. Mac OS X does something similar - Launchpad - which is a complete mess. It's not iPad/iPhone/iOS6, it's not a shortcut screen. It's faster to launch your apps using the dock than the Launchpad. Windows 8 has got to be the most visually appealing and actually innovating approach to a mobile-style / desktop compromise that works.
    The biggest hurdle Apple faces now is iOS6 - the UI is all over it's mobile and TV products, but can't find a way to the desktops/laptops...
    Then again, does Apple *really* sell PCs anymore?         
  • You decided not to understand, what works how in Windows 8 and just cleared it as non-sense...Can you explain in what was so confusing...?
    I mean seriously, iConfusing...?, when, where, how, what...
    Piece of cake = Windows 8, I use it on my laptop, however I want it...
  • BAZING!
  • It is really not that hard to tell the difference. If you dont like the modern UI you still can hit the desktop app and stay there forever! There is even an app that brings back the start menu. Also on the desktop mode, things have improved, its faster, it crashes less and still packs all the features of windows 7 ! it cant be that bad! On the other hand you can still jump into the modern UI and take advantage of all the new features and download applications from the store... it really gave my machines a new start. Now i have windows 8 runing on my desktop and on my macbook pro (bootcamp). I dont use OSX anymore since i installed windows 8 on my mac!
  • I will buy a win8 as a tablet. Its meant for entertainment and media consumption. But that's it. It will be like my iPad and won't replace my laptop.
    I don't find it confusing. Its more of an inconvenience. I'm a programmer and I prefer a traditional windows UI to work(creating folders, managing projects, moving files around etc..).
    I just think it should have been Microsoft's version of the iPad. Instead it seems like a product that's trying to achieve too many things at the same time.
    So tablet-yes win8 wins there. But laptop(for work specifically)- not quite.
    And I never said its confusing to use. Its very intuitive, fluid and modern but is trying to play two roles at once.
  • I don't understand this perspective. I am also an software engineer and spend a great deal of time in Visual Studio and the traditional desktop mode. I just don't seem to have the same issues you seem to.
  • +1 @outofelement
  • Plz explain why u can't do that same work on the desktop in w8
  • You realize that apple has slowly been shoving ios traits into its osx right?" Apps" and even their launch pad turns your screen into a giant iPad menu. I have a bootcamped MacBook pro. Good luck.
  • Yes I know that. I'm only switching to a MacBook pro because I like the experience. Windows 8 will replace my iPad though.
  • You're on the wrong site.
  • Lol. I guess you're right. I was just voicing my opinion on win8. This is a WP fan site not a MS one so I just thought I'd post my opinion.
  • your entitled to your opinion but you seem to be nitpicking elements of windows 8 to justify your leaving. If you prefer the mac experience say so, but dont make it seem like windows 8 is complex or an inconvenience to you when its pretty well stated at this point in time that you can work and do all of your legacy app work in desktop view. i have found that the universal search charm makes finding what your need exceptionally fast and thats a huge plus for me as i love not having to hit start/control panel/add remove programs etc etc.. windows 8 is undoubtebly much faster more productive, and much easier to use once you look past the obvious boundaries you think there are.
  • I somewhat agree. Windows RT tablets if sold wrong can leave consumers with a bad taste in their mouth. For all the complaining done by ms, the Surface doesn't really stop the issues. If I was in charge, rt would have been Windows Mosaic, and the other side would have been Windows 8 with Mosaic. Keep the Windows name still be different enough by name... Not RT vs. 8, the only difference in name.
  • Windows RT
    Windows 8 Pro
    hows that difficult to differentiate?
  • Yes, all iDevices run a version of OSX, which is pretty clear to everyone ( or should be ). iOS is basically the RT version of OSX, just without everything people love and need from a computer. Windows 8 couldn't be more simple, and everyone I know are extremely happy that they're not forced to use the awful search field the Start menu used to have and they couldn't love the gestures more. If it's impossible for you to understand that dragging to the left -> multi-tasking, dragging to the right -> app-specific menu, then you won't ever be understanding customization of the app window menu or all the difference customizable gestures in OSX that makes it hard for the average consumer to go from Mac to Mac. There's not much to learn about Windows 8, and when it comes to switching between tasks and getting from A to B, Windows 8 does a lot better than Mountain Lion.
  • Yes, all iDevices run a version of OSX, which is pretty clear to everyone ( or should be ). iOS is basically the RT version of OSX, just without everything people love and need from a computer. Windows 8 couldn't be more simple, and everyone I know are extremely happy that they're not forced to use the awful search field the Start menu used to have and they couldn't love the gestures more. If it's impossible for you to understand that dragging to the left -> multi-tasking, dragging to the right -> app-specific menu, then you won't ever be understanding customization of the app window menu or all the difference customizable gestures in OSX that makes it hard for the average consumer to go from Mac to Mac. There's not much to learn about Windows 8, and when it comes to switching between tasks and getting from A to B, Windows 8 does a lot better than Mountain Lion.
  • I see mobile nations passport is making it easier for the more trolls to hit up wpcenteal...
  • I think for clarity, you should say it is mainly a Mobile OS. I agree, this is TRUE, but it DOES let these high-powered machines run better. There's just too much nuance to this subject for definitive answers. We are at a crossroads now, I say go forward regardless. =/
  • All right guys enough. Too many comments. Have you heard of the phrase "too each his own..."? Most of you have replied with comments insulting my intelligence or saying I'm stubborn. Either way I'm unperturbed. To me win8 desktop is a downgrade. And yes even one or two extra clicks piss me off(sorry that's just the way I am).
    Oh and apparently people think I'm switching just because of win8. I was planning on switching anyway to a MacBook pro before win8 was announced but I decided to wait and see how win8 turns out. I didn't like it and am now switching as I had intended.
    Now give it a rest already. Most of you seem so butt hurt that someone is switching from windows.
    Its just tech, yet you guys seem to have associated your whole life to it as if its some best friend you're defending.
    Good day and I'm not commenting anymore since this is going nowhere...
  • I understand "to each his own..?" We all can agree to disagree and I would not comment more on you replies. But then you ended your comment with "butt hurt.." and "associated your whole life..." bla bla bla. That is uncalled for and unnecessary. To you Windows 8 is a downgrade, to others it is not. Other people have a completely experience than you. You say people are defending the OS, I guess you are doing the attacking then? I don't know who is the one that got butt hurt.
  • I am a Windows fan but I really don't have much use for the "metro" apps.  From the "metro" apps that I've played with, they really don't offer much in comparison with traditional desktop apps.  Yesterday I installed Start8 from Stardock and now my Windows 8 Dell XPS 12 is awesome.  It boots to the desktop, it has a Start menu, and it blows Windows 7 out of the water with its blazing speed.  I'm sticking with Windows 8.  I love it now that I tweaked it!
  • I like window 8 as a whole...but there some missing features that is very annoying. Like trying to save an email attachment into a new folder. They don't give you an option to create new folder. And where is the genres option in the music app?
  • I agree with you regarding apps, but that's something that can be fixed or addressed wth apps.  I made a nice lenghthy list of things I feel can be done better with things like the Music app and mail.  The OS isn't the blame in those cases, just the apps need to be better written. 
  • I'm one of those that likes change, but there are issues in Win8 that I could live without. For example, go try and connect to a vpn via pttp. 
    1. Type in VPN, and you get three options (if i remember correctly).
    2. Select first option and you'll go into desktop to establish a new connection.
    3. Go to start and retype VPN again.
    4. This time you can now select "Connect to VPN" or something like that.
    5. Now you need to go find credentials, so you go bring up email or some document, well, that closes the "Connect to VPN" screen.
    6. Retype VPN again in the start menu, and bring up the same "Connect to VPN" area, this time you paste the username, then you need to go copy password. Repeat this step again.
    7. Eventually, you'll connect, assuming your credentials were good, but if you screwed up, you'll have to retype VPN on the start menu a few more times.
     
    That right there, is quiet rediculous, there are similar "settings screens" that follow that same approach, normally these would be in floating windows, and you'd just toggle back and forth, but these slideout settings areas are just not well executed. They need to stay there, don't slide away...
  • Those are all valid criticisms - things that will likely (hopefully) get worked out and get better as the new paradigm matures.
  • Yea, I'm sure, i wouldn't give up on windows because of that, can't really work in anything else. But I think the actual "working" is made more difficult in this itteration, but with tweaking could be really helpful.
  • I expect it'll meet somewhere in the middle. There is no denying that Windows 8 is a different expereince. There IS an adjustment period, as people find ways to do the things they need to do in the new environment. With the experience improvment program, MSFT is gathering a lot of metrics and those will no doubt play a large role in the changes and tweaks we'll see as things move forward.
  • If I were Ballmer, I'd announce that there will be a service pack pushed out that will include enable/disable desktop and metro mode via a lock button in settings. And the glorious return of the start button! That would be a better transition for those in love with Windows 7 and/or don't need live tiles for an Office or gaming PC.
    Let's be frank. Keep RT for tablets and use Pro for desktops and slash pricing for ARM and increase it for PRO. Also, Sinofsky can take one for the team and be the scapegoat for all this. Homerun! Microsoft is back!
  • LOL that's not a bad idea.
  • I think that would be a distinct possibility with Sinofsky gone.
  • His comments are spot on. His website is poor, spartan in the worst way, which undermines everything he says. You'd think he'd connect the dots there.
     
    In any case, I fully agree that Win8 is a usability nightmare. Installing Start8 and ingoring the Modern start screen is the only way I can survive it on my desktop. 
  • Troll
  • The only way? Pin shortcuts and its just like Windows 7.
  • i dont understand the issue here.....its simple just learn..
  • Here is another designer's not-so-favorable take on what Mr. Nielson said:
    www.riagenic.com/archives/1000
  • That context bar on the start screen where you have "all apps" needs to have quick settings features or something useful because it is wasted space at this point
  • It actually changes if you select certain tiles for other choices...you did know that, right? =D
  • I've been using Windows 8 since the beta and I can find places both to agree and disagree with this article. I find that (as a power user) Windows 8 is incredibly simple to use. I don't find too many issues with doing the same things that I did in Windows 7. However, discoverability and hidden menus and multi-tasking in metro can all be individual disasters. Microsoft hides too many things in locations that users would not assume are buttons, and hides too many options away in the right click. The Music app is the perfect example of a clusterf#$k of hidden menus. You can't get to the "Now Playing" screen without first right clicking somewhere on the barren screen, then clicking on the album art of whatever track is playing. Bear in mind that nothing tells you to right click for more options, and absolutely nothing hints that something might happen if you click on the album art. Another big issue I have is that you cannot run two full screen 'Metro' apps on two different monitors. The only way to "multi-task" in 'Metro' is to do the 1/3 - 2/3 on a single screen and have the desktop on the second monitor. For instance, I was watching the Hulu Plus app on my main monitor and thought, why don't I get some email done while I'm watching this. I open the 'Metro' email app and it closes Hulu Plus. Multiple monitor support is garbage in the 'Metro' ui, however it is leaps and bounds better while only using the desktop ui. Quick launch and task bar on both monitors for one is huge, multiple wallpapers is another. So over all, this is a mixed bag of tricks and treats that Microsoft has brought us. Definitely a lot of improvements over Windows 7, but just as many UI disasters in Windows 8 that were not present in Windows 7.
  • My past experiences in windows continually tell me to "right click" I hazard that's not something you had to do a lot..? =)
  • Nielsen, hasn't used Windows as Windows and instead tried to use it as Mac....Im afraid, after that experience, ts gonna sound like that...I installed and cant get enought if it...on top of that my friend who uses a Mac, and iPhone and an iPad, is just so so with Windows 8 & Office 2013, that he put it on parallels virtual s/w....
    So nielsen U R Wrong..
  • Who?
    And for a guy proclaiming the virtues of ease of use, WYSIWYG is apparently completely foreign to him and his web site.
    Maybe he can redesign Windows 8 in Notepad. Lets see how well that turns out for him.
  • Coming from  Samsung Series 7 Slate which ran Windows 7 out of the box, and masked with Samsung's touch interface, you can imagine I could be nothing short of content with Windows 8 being here. Just sayin'....
  • Agree
  • I was one of the first people to point out at least some of those flaws. The best word I could find to describe Windows 8 was "unfinished". You don't see the same robustness and logical organization of Windows Phone on Windows 8.
    I think tiles work best on smaller screens. Even on Windows Phone I think Live Tiles shouldn't keep updating individually, as this creates a sense of haphazardness; (imagine how cool it would have been if a wave ran through tiles from top to bottom, turning them over and updating their info for example every 10 seconds!).
    Still, I can't call Windows 8 a flop since I remember reactions to Windows XP back in the day, and now look where XP is now. (Vista's problem was awful AWFUL performance)
    I wouldn't design Windows 8 this way. My approach would have been to give the desktop a cool flat look (not like what MS did to desktop on Windows 8 - "unfinished" - maybe something like http://blog.gsmarena.com/this-is-what-windows-8-on-desktop-should-have-l...), then create new desktops like on MAC, and allow the user to choose widgets in the shape of tiles on whichever desktop they want.
    On second thought, maybe the current Start screen should have been simply another desktop that you'd get to with a shortcut or a swipe, instead of it replacing the Start menu. Then you could choose which screen the PC should boot to, depending on whether you have a laptop or a tablet.
  • Actually, I maintain that Vistas problem was the pcs being so weak...but it was kind of silly for them to assume anyone had that kind of computer that could handle it. =[
  • He makes some good points - it's true, some clickable items could well benefit from looking more "button like" (but I don't think it needs 3D chrome or anything really.
    However, I disagree with his "Windows 8 UX: Weak on Tablets, Terrible for PCs" assertion. On my PC, I just "Start" the Desktop, and it runs like a cleaner, faster version of Windows 7. Sure, I dip into the new Start Screen now and then to launch things, but I can't imagine a user thinking that every single program on Win8 must run in "Metro"/full-screen mode.  (Actually... I can imagine it, and that's sad. But perhaps those people should be using WinRT instead... on a tablet, where it makes more sense)... 8)
    Microsoft probably should make it clearer that the Desktop in Win8 is not gone (nor should it go anywhere. There is value to having multiple windows open next to each other, and it'd be foolish to scrap it).  But big, full-screen apps do make prettier screen-shots in ads.
    I would, however, like to right-click a Tile on the Start Screen and have options like "Create Shortcut on Desktop" available (which I could use to populate my own docked Toolbar - it's a bit of a pain right now manually creating those links).  A lot of those "power commands" should be made available for those that need them, at least on Win8's "Metro-facing" UI.
  • I actually prefer the full screen use even on the desktop. I don't like clutter on my tech, I have enough clutter around me. Since 7, I have not kept anything on my desktop, all pinned to taskbar which is auto-hidden! Full screen my browser when I can...the aero switch was fun but that jazz isn't necessary. With HD screens we don't need all these micro details...and that kind of experience should never just be limited to smaller devices and small menus! =P
  • I work in computer sales and some customers feel like they have to argue with me that Windows 8 is not a PC friendly OS. But as part if my job I am usually successful in changing their minds about it. I show them the possibilities and a little crash course on it and even older folks like the new experience. I know I like it in my regular laptop coming from Windows 7 and I have never looked back.... :)
  • Hey, I would love to argue with them in your place so you can focus on selling to them! ;)
  • I love windows 8. I did t care for it at first now I prefer it over windows 7. You can do everything on desktop still its improved then you have the new metro environment which is a bonus. Things will just get better. I bought a 10 point touch and it works smooth just like windows phone. Even in desktop mode. I use bluestacks for some android apps. Everything runs smooth. Boots up in 8seconds on ssd. I wonder if anyone make a real game w multi touch intended for powerful PC gaming rather than tablet games like angry birds. I play dota and Diab