David Pogue Complains about Windows 8

David Pogue recently published an article about Windows 8/8.1 on how “jarring” it is to switch between Windows Store Apps (Which he so childishly calls “TileWorld”) and regular desktop apps. I will give him some credit though for some of the compliments he provided overall, but I think he is exaggerating how hard it is to use.

Here is his biggest complaint:
“The fundamental problem with Windows 8 hasn’t changed: you’re still working in two operating systems at once. You’re still leaping from one universe into another — the color schemes, fonts and layouts all change abruptly — and it still feels jarring.”

Apparently David hasn’t noticed that virtually every application we use, has a different experience. From the Navigation, Settings, Colors, Fonts, Structure and everything else from app to app is always different. I’d actually argue that Windows 8/8.1 actually provides users with a MORE consistent experience than iOS, OS X or Android apps.

David, which of the iPad apps below offers a consistent, non-jarring experience from an app to app experience? Seriously, which apps would you say offers the user a smooth, non-jarring experience as they switch from app to app?

90mm

The only consistent experience on an iPad is the screen above, iPad actually forces you to have a different experience when you want to do anything at all since you HAVE to go into an app to do anything. Once you tap on one of those icons, you have no idea what kind of experience you will get.

bbc_iplayer_ipad_app

Xfinity-TV-App-for-iPad

NPR_ipad

kobo-ipad

iPad-facebook

Flipboard-on-iPad

doodle_en

Here is a picture of a launch pad on OS X, below that is the start screen for Windows 8.
How can anyone possibly say that OS X launch pad is less jarring than the Windows 8 start screen?
launchpad

Win_8

Windows, OS X, Linux, Android every single one has several different ways of getting to the same settings, same files, same options.

“Now you have two Web browsers to learn.”
OMG, 2 browsers to learn – the horror? Because you know, learning Netscape, Opera, Safari or Chrome across desktop, tablet, TV, phone, Windows, Mac, Android and Linux experiences is so consistent.

“Microsoft, licking its wounds, spent a year trying to fix Windows 8.”
Licking their wounds? I’m guessing Microsoft has sold more than 150 million copies of Windows 8 in less than a year, I’d bet it’s closer to 200 million. Just because PC sales are down, doesn’t mean that Windows sales are down. Doesn’t Windows 8 have a larger market share than ALL of OS X throughout the years?

“The more you work with Windows 8, the more screamingly obvious the solution becomes: Split it up. Offer regular Windows on regular computers, offer TileWorld on tablets. That way, everyone has to learn only one operating system, and each operating system is suited to its task.”

Split it up? Are you serious? Maybe we should remove the Terminal from OS X? Why would anyone want to use that? Splitting up the two experiences into different operating systems would be flat out stupid, would cause even more “confusion” and it would actually create a much more jarring experience (like going from your iPad to your OS X desktop).

Whether you like it or not, Touch IS the future, it’s coming and it’s coming fast. You know who is making it happen? Microsoft. You know who is making the cloud happen? Microsoft with Skydrive. Know who is making Games, Voice and Home entertainment happen? Microsoft with Xbox, Kinect and Xbox Smart Glass. Know who is making a device that will replace your laptop and desktop, that also includes touch and mobility, and that truly showcases what a “post-pc” world looks like? Microsoft with Surface Pro 2.

Microsoft is the company who is making the big bets, pushing the envelop on design and experience. Microsoft is creating the new standard, Microsoft is being more innovative both in software and hardware than any other company. What did Apple do, they included a fingerprint scanner, made a gold iPhone and copied the flat, content focused design language that Microsoft has pushed across Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox and the Web.

Does Microsoft make big mistakes, yes. Will they continue to make big mistakes, yes. You know what though, it takes guts to fail, it takes guts to make big changes, it takes guts to make fun of yourself, it takes guts to admit when you are wrong, it takes guts to hold your ground when you know people will scream their heads at you for making a change.

I’ll put my money behind a company like that any day over a company that pretends to be perfect, magical or “the best”.

It’s Official!

It’s official, I recently decided to form a new company – this company is called nVision 42 LLC you can check out our current landing page while we wrap up our new site over here.

nVision 42 LLC

nVision 42 is a digital agency focused on designing and developing Line of Business (LOB) and Software as a Service (SAAS) based applications. nVision 42 believes that ALL businesses can save money, save time and become much more efficient using a unified software solution across multiple devices.

Please check us out and we can’t wait to launch our new site!

nVision 42

Windows RT is here to stay, learn to like it

Microsoft released their first, custom built tablet – the Surface RT running Windows RT nearly a year ago and since then bloggers and tech enthusiasts have been constantly bashing Microsoft for Windows RT and continually suggest that Microsoft should kill off the OS.

I have yet to read a single article actually providing a solid reason as to why Microsoft needs to drop Windows RT. Without Windows RT, Microsoft has a much more difficult time at keeping up with the iPad and Android devices, simply keeping Windows Pro isn’t going to cut it, here’s why:

  • Windows RT provides significantly longer battery life than Windows PRO
  • Windows RT allows for thinner, lighter and quieter devices
  • Windows RT will allows for much smaller devices
  • Windows RT doesn’t need a fan to cool it down
  • Windows RT gets for the most part gets rid of the desktop and provides the user with a more streamlined, consistent experience with Modern Apps
  • Windows RT will allow for lower cost devices

Those are the main reasons we’ll continue to see Windows RT devices, it has it’s place – Microsoft has given their users a choice, just as they have done for the past 30 years. I don’t understand why I’m seeing so many Windows users suddenly getting irritated by choice – that’s what makes Windows so flexible, powerful and important.

I am also hearing people say “Windows RT is hard to explain”, it’s really not that hard to explain – let me help:

  • Windows RT doesn’t run regular old desktop apps
  • Windows Pro allows you to run regular old desktop apps

It’s not any harder to explain than this:

  • iPad for Wifi
  • iPad for Wifi + Cellular

I don’t see anyone complaining about how “confusing” it is to pick which iPad to get, despite there being a rather large difference.

Windows RT is here to stay, it is a very good OS and competes with the iPad head-on and even allows for more flexibility than the iPad (USB port for one).

Yes, Microsoft had a very large write-off for their Surface devices, I’m not sure why anyone is surprised by this – that’s what happens when you take risks and go completely in a new direction. Go read Techcrunch for a week and you will see startup after startup who has burned through millions of dollars of investor money with nothing left to show for it. Fortunately for Microsoft, they can continue to spend their own money to continue building a really awesome line of devices.

Countless times over the years, I have said “Microsoft is a long-term company” – we are just on the tip of the iceberg in seeing how Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows Phone, Surface and Xbox One are going to play out. All of these devices can now quite easily talk to one another, they all share a similar interface, similar programming model and all connect with a ton of other Microsoft and 3rd Party software and services. 2014 will be the first time ever that we will see ANY ecosystem work in such harmony – the best of Microsoft is yet to come.

Ease of use and Usability of Closing an app on Windows Phone

Chad Campbell (@chadcampbell) and I were discussing the Usability and Ease of use of closing an Application on Windows Phone.

Chad argues it’s not easy or useable enough for people to learn how to close an app, I disagreed (Here is a super quick post on usability).

Here is the definition of Usability:
Usability is a quality attribute that assesses how easy user interfaces are to use. The word “usability” also refers to methods for improving ease-of-use during the design process.

Usability is defined by 5 quality components:

  1. Learnability: How easy is it for users to accomplish basic tasks the first time they encounter the design?
  2. Efficiency: Once users have learned the design, how quickly can they perform tasks?
  3. Memorability: When users return to the design after a period of not using it, how easily can they reestablish proficiency?
  4. Errors: How many errors do users make, how severe are these errors, and how easily can they recover from the errors?
  5. Satisfaction: How pleasant is it to use the design?

So let’s break these down:
1. Learnability: Microsoft is teaching their users that there is NO need to close an app, thus we see no little “-” button to close an app like you would see on an iPhone. Microsoft’s goal is that you learn to accept that it’s OK to leave apps open.

2. Efficiency: What is more efficient than NOT having to do something? On my old Android phone I was constantly NEEDING to close apps to keep my phone from slowing down or to prevent the already poor battery life from draining even faster. So from the first time you use a Windows phone you learned there is no need to close an app – thus making you more efficient.

3. Memorability: If you have to remember to close apps to keep your phone running well, then that is a poor user experience in my opinion. On windows phone, there is simply nothing to remember, there is nothing needing to be remembered. Just use your phone.

4. Errors: You can’t make an error, because there are no errors to make. On an iPhone you have to tap a small “-” in the corner. On Android you can close anything you want through the various task managers, if you are an average user this would be a scary place to deal with.

5. Satisfaction: I’m very satisfied that I never have to worry about closing an app, ever. I’m also very satisfied that if I want to close an app I can by simply hitting the back button (which is way easier to discover than learning to double press the home key on an iPhone to open up the list of running apps, finding the app you want to close, pressing and holding on that app icon until it jiggles then pressing the (-) icon). (http://www.gottabemobile.com/2013/02/10/how-to-close-apps-on-iphone/)

And he argues on how hard it is on Windows Phone is to discover how to close an app? Give me a break.

Soon…

I’m currently wrapping up my awesome new website, I’ll be launching it very soon!

For now, check out some portfolio pieces here.

:: Micah Iverson

Windows Blue Leaks: My Favorite New Features

If you are into Technology and specifically Windows 8, you have likely heard the code name “Windows Blue”. Over the past few days, Windows Blue was leaked to the public.

I’m sure Microsoft isn’t overly pleased about this leak, as it means when they officially announce this major update to Windows it will already feel like “old news”. With that said, I think with this being leaked, it will likely help convince people to move over to Windows 8 faster than they currently are.

All of the features we have been seeing in this Windows Blue leak are things that people have been saying were missing from the original release, often preventing them from wanting to upgrade to Windows 8. Now that people see that the features are coming, they might make the switch sooner and the positive reactions I have seen so far will push people even more to using Windows 8.

There are lots of new features shown off in the Windows Blue leak, likely some of which are rough and may possibly not show up in the final release. I’m not here to outline all of these new features, instead I want to highlight a few that I think that will really make Windows 8 more powerful.

Live Tile Size
First up are Live Tile sizes, currently in Windows 8 you only get two sizes, medium square and wide. What we are seeing in the recent leak is that there will be two additional sizes – small square and large square. This is awesome news!

Windows Blue Live Tiles

If you are a Windows Phone user, you are already used to the new small square tiles. There are numerous apps that simple don’t need something really large and wasting space. We’ll now be able to see significantly more apps on our Start Screen without needing to scroll.

Split Screen
Up next, we have the ability to do 50/50 split screen with Modern apps. Currently in Windows 8 you can only do full screen and 1/3 or 2/3 views of apps. With Windows Blue we’ll be able to run two apps side by side using half the screen for each. This is a big jump in usability across apps if you ask me.

Windows Blue Split Screen

A second bonus is that if you have multiple monitors, it looks as though you will be able to have metro apps running across both monitors. In theory you could have 4 metro apps displayed at once time, before I believe you could only run metro apps on one monitor at a time. I’m sure there are many more nice adjustments to running Modern apps simultaneously.

I’m curious to see how that works in portrait view.

PC Settings
One of the largest complaints I have heard about Windows 8 is the necessity of having to jump from the Modern UI Settings to switching to the typical Desktop Control Panel. With Windows Blue, it looks like Microsoft has decided to finally include significantly more settings in the Modern UI Settings area.

Settings

The UI looks like it is still in need of some polish, but at least it’s heading in the right direction. This new update alone will make a lot of people extremely happy.

SkyDrive
The last new feature I want to mention is the integration of SkyDrive deeper into Windows. There has been a major shift lately for people to start storing their files in the Cloud, having SkyDrive integrated deep into Windows will rapidly increase the adoption of the Cloud and hopefully get people more comfortable with doing so.

SkyDrive Integration

Saving files to the Cloud now can feel a bit dis-jointed compared to just saving to a local directory. Anything Microsoft can do to make saving to the Cloud more seamless will be well received.

I have been using SkyDrive more and more lately, and have found it to be very helpful as I travel from home, too work, to meeting with clients on the go. It’s fast, stable and quite powerful.

Wrapping Up
Those few features are my top favorite coming to Windows 8, there are many many more features that I haven’t even mentioned. I think we are on the edge of rapid Windows 8 adoption, Windows Blue will push it over the edge.

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Entrepreneur specializing in elegant and effective interface design and critiques for Windows 8 applications and brand identities.

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