Win8 vs Win7

Started Jun 10, 2013 | Discussions thread
theswede Veteran Member • Posts: 4,009
Re: stick with Win 7 if possible...

Sean Nelson wrote:

theswede wrote:

No cues is the key to my argument.

IMHO "no cues" is an argument that the UI is harder to learn or that it presents a barrier to upgraders.

And that it's harder to use intermittently. If I leave such a system for a few weeks and come back I will have a high cognitive load because the UI does not help me remember.

But there's a difference between that and whether it's a usable interface or not.

To those who immerse in it there is a difference. For example, a bash shell provides no cues and is very hard to learn. For me that is no obstacle, because I have learned it and use it nearly every day. When I have been away from it for a while I have a slight curve to get "back in the game", but since I've used it for decades I quickly feel familiar again.

That doesn't mean I would in any way consider bash a friendly UI suitable for everyday use by casual users who are interested in email and browsing and a few applications. Will it work for that? Eminently well! Will it be fast and easy to use once learned? Definitely. Is the learning period worth it for most users`Absolutely not.

The same goes, to a less extreme degree but for the same reasons, for Windows 8. It lacks cues which help casual users and those who intermittently use it, and that disqualifies it from serious consideration as a UI for the majority of users out there.

We all have to learn the interfaces we use - even the ones we're familiar with had to be learned at some point. For example, the classic Windows GUI makes heavy use of mouse right-clicks - yet there are no visual cues as to what's right-clickable and what isn't. We just "figure it out" (i.e., learn it) as we use each new piece of software.

My mother has never learned right click. Yet she has no issues using Windows and Linux for surfing, email and managing the occasional photo.

And this is key. The advanced concepts in previous UI's were for advanced use. You had to learn to become an administrator, or to solve problems in the OS, or to make changes. You never had to learn to do basic tasks.

In Windows 8 you can't even switch to another application from a Metro application without using what in previous versions of Windows was reserved for advanced use, and unknown to a huge chunk of users.

That is the disconnect. The key to the resistance against Windows 8. And of course power users who immerse themselves in the UI do not agree. Your arguments show that to you the issue doesn't even exist. But to most people it does. Including me, despite me having forgotten more UI's than most people know exist.

Touch UIs have similar, non-obvious gestures which frustrate a mouse user - but the touch UI is a new paradigm and "figuring out" things like swiping from the edges, long touches, or touching corners is something that comes with the territory.

No, it isn't. Real world analogs come with the territory. Touching corners most certainly does not. That's about as unintuitive as it gets. It's difficult enough to make people understand how the Kindle app works, with different "hot spots" on the page. Building a UI on that is *insane*.

If the UI provides easy ways to do the things you need to do most often, then it's usable. It may not be particularly obvious to learn, but that's a somewhat different issue, IMHO.

If the UI provides obvious and cued ways to do the things you need to most often, then it's usable. It doesn't much matter how easy or hard they are as long as they are obvious. Power users will adapt to anything - just like I use bash for many tasks people would think me crazy for using it for - but that is no good metric of usability. It's a metric of power. And power is useless if it's hidden to the user.


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