Microsoft has absitively to accommodate the Ribbon UI into Windows 8, authoritative the bequest breadth of the OS added complicated as it tries to abridge it in others. Can Microsoft auspiciously cull Windows in two adverse directions?
In June, Microsoft showed us a fresh eyes for its old operating system. Windows 8 debuted with a absolutely overhauled interface, able to be touch-friendly and to accommodate claimed computing, bridging the bisect amid the apple of smartphones, tablets, laptops, and our old friend, the desktop PC.
The fresh interface (learn about it here) was alien as the approaching of Windows computing, but with no compromises. Microsoft told us that the abutting adaptation of the OS, acceptance absolutely new, would appear with a affinity access that would acquiesce Windows 7-like applications run as well. This seemed odd, as Windows 7 and the Live Tiled Windows 8 couldn’t be added different, but in the name of astern compatibility, bequest applications, and Photoshop, such a accommodation seemed acceptable. After all, who says you accept to achieve a complete breach with the accomplished to move forward?
Unfortunately, by giving Microsoft an inch, we may accept aloof accepted it a mile. In the aftermost two weeks, Windows 8 lead, Steven Sinofsky, has been blogging about the fresh operating system, autograph diffuse posts about fresh appearance and changes to the affection teams that achieve Windows. The problem: There accept been eight posts now and not one of them discusses the fresh interface. Every column so far has discussed small, incremental tweaks to the Windows 7 interface. Microsoft is authoritative changes to things like USB support, artful and pasting, book name collisions, and the way buttons attending aback you attainable up a binder window. What’s amiss with improvements, you ask? Well, annihilation would be amiss with them if it was 2008 and Microsoft was discussing its fresh Windows 7 operating system, but it’s 2011 and the “compatibility” access of Windows 8 is alpha to attending like it is Windows 8. Why is Microsoft putting so abundant time into architecture out abstruse appearance like accessing VHD files in an interface that is declared to be on the outs? The avant-garde fresh Live Tile interface is alpha to attending like its the accessory player. It will be nice for some blow tablets, but not alike Microsoft is continuing abaft Live Tiles as a austere backup for Windows 7.
Instead of alive against marrying the anytime complicated barter of an OS that is Windows 7 with the bunched Windows 8 Live Tile Alpha screen, the aggregation looks like its developing a Live Tile bureaucracy that may be too simple, and a archetypal Windows access that’s acceptable added circuitous than ever. Microsoft is activity to extremes area it should be authoritative compromises. What’s the deal?
Making Windows alike added complicated
In a contempo post, Sinofsky capacity why the aggregation has absitively to accommodate the “Ribbon UI” from Microsoft Office 2007 into the Windows 8. I don’t accept a botheration with the Ribbon UI in Microsoft Office. It didn’t absolutely advance the Office acquaintance abundant for me, but it did not abuse it either. Adding the Ribbon UI to the basal charlatan would abuse Windows, and is a assurance that Microsoft isn’t abashed to achieve Windows 8 added complicated than Windows 7. The basal book Charlatan (file & binder window) does not charge to be adapted into a big, thick, four-tab, 100-button Ribbon UI experience.
Windows 7 Explorer
Proposed Windows 8 Explorer
How is this an improvement? We’ve gone from a somewhat simple 4 button Charlatan to a hulked-out Ribbon Charlatan with a bafflingly ample cardinal of icons. There are 19 icons on this tab abandoned and 5 tabs, acceptation there could be added than 100 buttons in this fresh menu. In the post, Sinofsky and his aggregation accept that the “top 10 commands are 81.8 percent of Charlatan commands used.” So why are there 19 buttons on this page? There should be 10 and the blow should be hidden. Sinofsky argues that there are added than 200 commands in Charlatan and they, presumably, appetite to achieve these added accessible. To that I ask: Why are there 200 commands in Charlatan in the aboriginal place?
Why does Microsoft feel the charge to advance avant-garde appearance on everyone? If geeks like me appetite to do article and it’s not in Charlatan by default, we’ll acquisition an appliance or add-on that does it, or achieve an add-on or application. There’s no acumen why Windows has to do aggregate for anybody appropriate out of the box. (Check out Joe Wilcox’s bluster on BetaNews for added on the Ribbon UI.) Sinofsky seems to disagree, citation “telemetry data” larboard and appropriate in best of his posts, acquisitive to advance amount appearance for ability users, but acceptance that best of them will still use add-ons. So what are we accomplishing here, really? Not much.
Is this how Microsoft angle the approaching of Windows? If Sinofsky and his aggregation plan to baby to ability users, why put on a appearance with the fresh Windows Phone-like alpha screen? Who is Microsoft aggravating to please? Windows computers accept been molded for a actor altered purposes in the aftermost three decades. Does Microsoft absolutely anticipate it can achieve every abstruse user happy?
Windows can’t be aggregate to everyone
To move forward, sometimes you accept to lose some weight. In June, it looked like Microsoft accepted this truth. By creating the Live Tile Alpha awning of Windows 8, the aggregation accepted that Windows is big, anytime complicated, and has never been absolutely accepted by a majority of its users. (It continues to candidly accept as abundant in blog posts while it adds to the problem.) The fresh Live Tile interface attempts to abridge Windows, aspersing buttons and putting affluence of use aloft all else. Sadly, the added we apprentice about Windows 8, the added we’re acumen that Microsoft may not cull this off, abrogation us with a fresh PC acquaintance that’s alone accessible for abecedarian tasks. If you appetite to do annihilation complex, you’ll be booted aback into the old Windows world, abounding with added buttons and options than anytime before.
In the aftermost area we discussed Charlatan windows. Best Windows users acceptable accept no abstraction what an Charlatan is. If you ask, they’ll apparently anticipate you’re talking about the Internet. The all-inclusive majority of bodies who are now affected to use computers (most every job requires them) will never absolutely accept how Charlatan directories work, what a disciplinarian is, or how to administer their assignment processes — nor should they accept to apprentice such things. I grew up appliance Windows. I’m a about avant-garde user and alike I get confused. Microsoft has always tacked on added and added appearance to Windows, but seems clumsy to appraise what’s of absolute accent to a abundant cardinal of people. There are a dozen means to achieve annihilation in Windows and 10 dozen means to blow and over-complicate the simplest of tasks.
Smartphone operating systems like iOS and Android accept fabricated accretion easier for bodies with blow interfaces, easier appliance management, accessible accessory connection, and the abreast abolishment of directories — amid abounding added improvements. (Windows Phone 7 is additionally a baton in carrying these kinds of user-first features, acceptance its bazaar allotment charcoal minuscule.) Users are already clamoring for computers that are as accessible to run as a smartphone, if not easier, and Apple and Google accept already amorphous ascent up their smartphone platforms to beyond touchscreen book devices. Anon these simpler operating systems will run on laptops, desktops, and televisions, with fresh appearance added as they are demanded. No, they aren’t yet able to multitask and book administer as able-bodied as Windows 7, and they apparently can’t attainable an ISO file, but they’ll be abuse abutting in the abutting year or two. For 90 percent of people, an Android or iOS powered laptop will anon become a actual adorable offer.
Microsoft’s better botheration is that it seems absorbed on demography the adverse approach. Instead of architecture up Windows Phone 7, which is a absolutely able fresh platform, Microsoft is aggravating to carve Windows 7 down. Sadly, Sinofsky and Steve Ballmer abridgement the adventuresomeness to abridge or cut anything. The Redmond behemothic has created a absolutely fresh interface for Windows 8, but it doesn’t assume to apperceive how to apparatus it in a way that satisfies the needs of a majority of its users.
Windows Business or Windows Touch?
Twin identities didn’t assignment for the Nutty Professor, and they won’t assignment for Windows. If Microsoft doesn’t accept it can finer actualize abundance applications and accoutrement appliance the fresh Windows 8 interface, why acquaint it at all? I’ve heard some tech pundits say the abstruse of Apple’s success is that it builds its fresh interfaces so that 90 percent of users will adulation it 90 percent of the time. If Sinofsky and his aggregation are aflame about the fresh interface, and assured that it can do abundant to amuse 90 percent of users, 90 percent of the time, again why does it charge to be tethered to Windows 7 at all?
If Microsoft is too afraid to leave bequest Windows behind, why not absolution a simpler adaptation of Office and added abundance apps for Windows Blow and accumulate the complicated clutter in Windows Business? Achieve these operating systems separate. If you appetite to achieve added money, action them as a array in a Windows Ultimate edition, meant for crazy bodies who acceptable all of the problems and inconsistencies I’ve laid out. If that doesn’t complete like a acceptable idea, well, neither is accepting two absolutely abstracted user adventures in one box that’s advised for the accepted public. Every time a fresh Windows 8 user encounters the Windows 7 interface they are acceptable to get confused, and every time an old Windows user encounters the fresh blow interface, they’ll apparently get frustrated. And you apperceive what will apparently happen? They’ll accept one or the other. Anybody will draw a action band in the sand. That’s no good. If either of the two abandon of Windows 8 are to succeed, they’re activity to charge to abide about absolutely abstracted from one another. The added users are affected to about-face amid them, the added annoying Windows 8 will be.
Tough times, adamantine choices
Windows has served us able-bodied for a division century. It’s enabled our agenda apple and after it, smartphones and tablets acceptable wouldn’t exist. But now we’re entering a fresh era area the computer begins to booty on an astronomic cardinal of fresh sizes and functions. The success of the iPhone, and now Android, are dispatch this alteration up. For years, aggregate was about added ability and added features. Now we accept a added assorted set of concerns. Battery life, speed, and artlessness are king. There is still a abode for Windows in the future. After all, we charge an operating arrangement that can handle a lot of tasks at already and do aberrant fresh things, but we may not charge it to attending or act like Windows of old.
I accept that Microsoft wants to baby to ability users and achieve an operating arrangement that is aggregate to everyone, but it needs to be willing, like Apple, to booty absolute risks and not barrier every bet. Microsoft bet big with Windows Phone 7. The action hasn’t paid off yet, but if it holds steady, the OS will acceptable bolt on. (I’m because a Windows Phone 7.5 ‘Mango’ accessory myself, bold it can attempt toe-to-toe with Android Ice Cream Sandwich and iOS 5 on features.) Fortunately, clashing the smartphone market, Microsoft hasn’t yet collapsed abaft in the PC space. Apple charcoal its alone accurate competition, but that is alteration fast. If it hopes to avoid off Android and added smartphone players from absolutely entering the PC space, Microsoft needs to appearance that it can stick to its guns. Windows 8 needs to be added than a archetype of Windows 7 with a bright fresh Alpha screen.
We should apprentice added about Windows 8 in the advancing months. Microsoft, amuse prove me wrong. I’d adulation to be wrong.