Design guru: Windows 8 is 'a monster' and 'a tortured soul'
Aaagh: 'Dozens of carnival barkers yelling at you'
US usability guru Jakob Nielsen has rubbished "disappointing" Windows 8, savaging the Microsoft OS's signature Live Tiles and its complicated gestures.
"Windows 8 encompasses two UI styles within one product," he said in a post on his useit website. "Windows 8 on mobile devices and tablets is akin to Dr Jekyll: a tortured soul hoping for redemption.
"On a regular PC, Windows 8 is Mr Hyde: a monster that terrorises poor office workers and strangles their productivity."
Microsoft's Live Tiles have "backfired" with "hyper-energised" tiles that have far too much going on, according to Nielsen. He got 12 novice and expert Windows users to try out the new OS and they couldn't recognise which applications were represented by which tiles.
"The theory, no doubt, is to attract users by constantly previewing new photos and other interesting content within the tiles," he said. "But the result makes the Surface Start screen into an incessantly blinking, unruly environment that feels like dozens of carnival barkers yelling at you simultaneously."
The new more complicated gestures also presented problems, requiring users to be highly accurate and learn a bunch of new sequences off by heart.
"The worst gesture might be the one to reveal the list of currently running applications: you need to first swipe from the screen's left edge, and then immediately reverse direction and do a small swipe the other way, and finally make a 90-degree turn to move your finger to a thumbnail of the desired application. The slightest mistake in any of these steps gives you a different result," Nielsen said.
The style formerly known as Metro has been cleaned up and streamlined, but that has also resulted in "flat" icons. There's no shading or 3D effect to let users know what's clickable and what's a text box.
"Icons are flat, monochromatic, and coarsely simplified," Nielsen added. "[W]e often saw users either not relating to the icons or simply not understanding them."
On the Surface tablet, he said, Microsoft failed to take advantage of the screen real estate and instead kept apps clean and simplified to the detriment of users' scrolling muscles. He added that on both the fondleslab and the PC, it is too difficult to find generic commands such as "search" and "share".
"The underlying problem is the idea of recycling a single software UI for two very different classes of hardware devices. It would have been much better to have two different designs: one for mobile and tablets, and one for the PC," Nielsen concluded.
"I understand why Microsoft likes the marketing message of 'One Windows, Everywhere'. But this strategy is wrong for users."
You can read the full review here, along with Nielsen's disclaimer that he is neither an "Apple fanboi" nor a "Microsoft hater". ®
A CPU clocked at 2 Ghz (or any speed) will always use the same amount of power. Unused processing cycles go into something called the "Idle" process.
And what this "Idle process" does is issue a halt/sleep instruction (HLT on x86) which basically shuts the CPU down until it receives an interrupt, thus reducing drastically its power consumption (and heat production too). Contrary to what you claim, even a CPU with a fixed clock speed will have its power consumption that varies wildly depending on its actual load.
Please get your facts straight before "educating" people with inaccurate information.
Re: What's new?
If his guidelines were followed the WWW would look like it did in 1995.
You say that as if that would be a bad thing.
He is right.
Jakob Nielsen is very very good. This is really bad for MS.
I have been reading his "common sense" approach for years. He tells it like it is. He has no axe to grind other than usability.
Essentially the GUI formerly called Metro is derived from Zune. It's best for a phone, mediocre for a larger than 6" tablet and useless for a Keyboarded device at desk. They also appear to have over-complicated interaction and dumbed the visuals what was a quite good UI on Zune.
This is exactly to opposite and equally bad as putting the win95 style desktop on a 3.5" phone or PDA. I don't agree with Nielsen though. Two interfaces isn't enough. You need four. One for smallest screens, one for medium tablets and one for mainly Keyboard + mouse desk machines (Notebooks, Ultrabook, laptop, Large tablet with keyboard and fixed Desktop machines).
HDTVs without a keyboard but added "smart features" beyond TV, inc Internet. Try using a true "Media center" [sic] interface designed for Remote control on a Laptop or Desktop, or a regular "desktop" GUI on settee on a TV.