UI Fragmentation and Windows 8

Together with the release of the Consumer Preview and the expected launch date of Windows 8 closing in, chatter has been growing in the tech world. It seems to me that people really want this to be really good. I really want Microsoft to deliver an OS ahead of its time. There has been a lot of critique about usability of the Windows 8 from people that have used the Consumer Preview and Microsoft’s answer was that “people will quickly find the new paradigms to be second-nature” and that the final product will be much better than the Consumer Preview. I have no doubt that the final product will be better but I have to state that Microsoft isn’t famous for creating amazing user experience.

A unique feature of Windows 8 is, I think, the possibility for two different UIs. But of course there is absolutely no reason for this two UIs to be inconsistent. The idea was to bring the awesome Metro UI used in Windows Phone 7 and Windows 7’s UI, where most people feel at home, together. So if you needed to use the windowed UI you just switched to it from the more app-based Metro UI.

This, again, is a pretty cool idea since this would mean using applications you’ve been using for years in the same way. But the truth is even though they are different things, they look nothing like each other. They are  inconsistent. Windows 7 UI looks ugly compared to the dynamic, colorful, natural Metro UI. Yesterday, I’ve read that Microsoft revealed a new design for the windowed mode. And here it is:

Now this is no doubt an improvement but I really see some stuff missing, even though they state that this is a work in progress. Why did they continue to use the old font or the old buttons and icons? It’s not that hard to create new icons and put them there. And if they are planning on it why didn’t they make this reveal a week later so those things were ready.

Then, on the post I’ve read, I saw comments referring to a forum post about a much more beautifully designed UI. So I checked it out and I was like “YES. It has to be like this”:

These are incredibly beautiful, not to mention and really give you that feeling of the Metro. These are sadly not from Microsoft but from a guy who made them for fun. I think this should be what Microsoft is aiming for, not some rip off from Win7 UI. They should stop building stuff upon the old stuff and make something really new and make it count. This might seriously be the only chance for Microsoft to win once and for all. But they need to be patient, not rush things as they seem to be doing right now.


About Oraj Bodur

Suspected of having fibre cables instead of veins. Huh.

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