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Is Windows 8 too tablet-friendly?

by David Needle

March 14 2012

A former Microsoft employee and user interface designer says the software giant has gone overboard in making the new Windows 8 work with tablets at the expense of non-touchscreen desktop PCs.

Michael Bibik, a former Microsoft program manager and currently a senior user interface designer at Amazon.com, launched the blog site FixingWindows8 earlier this month with a post critical of Microsoft's new Windows 8 software. 

“Windows 8 is a radical leap forward and may be a phenomenal tablet OS. Unfortunately, 99 percent of Windows users don’t have a touchscreen. I’m a UX designer and want to help Microsoft improve Windows 8,” wrote Bibik. 

In his initial “rant” March 2 Bibik complains about a number of user interface issues with the new OS starting with” “Windows 8 just dumps you into the Start screen. No tutorial, no help icon on the main screen, nothing. This will be fixed by launch or Windows 8 will fail.” 

Windows 8 is currently available in a test version called Consumer Preview and is expected to ship on new tablets and desktop computers later this fall. Major computer manufacturers like HP and Dell have already committed to bringing out new Windows 8 tablets. 

In more recent posts Bibik's blog has lived up to his name as he’s detailed a number of  ways Microsoft can improve its new OS before launch.

For example, for non-touchscreen computers he suggests: 

“Windows 8 boots into the Desktop.  The Start screen and Charms menu are combined into a single window, not full screen.  The Start button is restored and pressing the Start button reveals this combined Start/Charms screen.  The combined screen isn’t quite fullscreen, some of the most recent app is seen behind the combined screen.  The taskbar is visible no matter if a Desktop or Metro apps is running, keeping global navigation visible at all time.  All apps, Desktop and Metro, appear in the taskbar.” 

While it’s not clear if Microsoft will take any of Bibik’s unsolicited advice, the software giant might be well-advised to check out the video of a first time Windows 8 user on the site who’s frustration trying to navigate his way to access any usable features is palpable.  At one point after finding out the software is from Microsoft he exclaims: “They trying to drive me to Mac?” 

 

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