The Problem of Windows 8
Let me start by stating that I've been using Windows as my primary OS ever since I built my first PC in 2001. WIndows98 SE started it all. And it was good by then standards. For all the things I did back then, the OS was perfect. Crashes were (surprisingly) few and far between. And most problems were mostly sorted out by "turning it off and on again".
Then came the Super OS called WindowsXP, but I held out with 98 as long as I could. Because what I had now did everything I wanted to do. But back in 2003, I finally caved and upgraded to the new OS with a little extra dab of RAM.
And my God it was the best decision ever. The new Start Menu, the new Alpha Blended windows with rounded corners. the awesome support for new hardware (SP1) while keeping most compatibility for older hardware was truly a revelation of what the OS can be. And I haven't even got to new redesigned Windows Explorer, massive improvements in Networking, Security, Direct X, Internet Connection Sharing, Remote Desktop, Hibernation, User Switching, Windows Media Player and the list goes on and on. Also the new Windows Restore was something of a godsend saving me countless times. And ClearType Text meant that everything you read is easy on the eyes. Truly I took to reading a lot more on the screen after XP.
Microsoft delivered. Almost every aspect of the old OS has been updated, streamlined and made easier to use. And old users took almost no time at all to accustom themselves to XP. Really, the changes under the hood and the changes to User Interface never seemed to conflict each other and instead, complimented each other. And it shows. XP is still alive today.
How could Microsoft improve on this awesome OS? The tried to, but as we all know, the Next OS was a bit of a bit of a damp squib. Vista wasn't bad. Just had some questionable decisions going along with it. To be fair, it had much better security and it has only crashed twice on my poor quality Lenovo laptop. It had this awesome looking Aero UI and even more improvements to UI, security and usability. But as time wore on I realized that for the hardware I currently had Vista couldn't keep up with XP and so one fine day I switched and haven't looked "forward". I personally have no ill will towards this except for the STEEP hardware requirements and I don't get what people hate about it but it did move Microsoft to speedily release the next best thing: Windows 7.
7. A lucky number. And it was good. But I still resisted. XP served me fine. And then one day, I build my second PC and installed Windows7. And I was left openmouthed. I was the true successor to Windows XP. Usability has again taken a massive step forward with Aero Peek, Aero Snap, Jumplists, Taskbar Thumbnails, while keeping old users in mind (it only took me a little more time to find the "Show Desktop" button). Speed improved, every aspect of the OS seemed to focus on getting things done. My faith in Windows has been restored.
And today I come to the mess that is "windos" 8. Truly a remarkable feat when you consider that all the good things Microsoft did with Windows 7 has been undone in excruciating detail.
After 12 years Windows had a new "refreshing new look" and I wanted to be a part of it. So I upgraded, and have been unhappy ever since. Windows 8 has the shittiest UI ever made. Drunk lowlifes could design a better way to do things than the current Windows8. Almost everything I liked about Windows 7 has been undone by this abomination. And after a month of usage I think I'm going back.
I welcome new design, but it should never be at the cost of usability. What we have here are huge amount of stupid. And its list time:
1. File/Folder/Print Sharing: Earlier me and my room mate had shared folders in our PCs and we could share files to our hearts content. Not just between PCs we could access files using our phones inside my Home network. Windows 8 just cannot. I had specific folders shared to "Everyone" with no password required. Now every time I boot up I have to share to everyone all over again. FAIL!
2. Windows Media Player: Windows Player served me fine for music and video playback. It had a good amount of features and you could get by if you had codecs installed. Windows8 Video Player? After a month of usage I cannot find out how to raise or lower the volume in the app. And no, I don't want to use the System Volume Control. Talk about grossly oversimplified. Screenshots:
No volume control, whatsoever. FAIL!
3. Offline User: We live in a connected online world. And I am fine with being online all the time. But there are times I need to log into my PC in offline mode. In Windows 8 you cannot create an offline User having the same username. You need to create a separate User having a separate username. Annoying, but not FAIL.
4. FLAT DESKTOP UI: Gone is the Aero look and replaced with a flat boring looking window borders and ui element which are so flat its had for me to tell if something can be interacted with. Labels and Textboxes look the same and you have to look harder to distinguish between them. Older people will definitely feel frustrated on this one.
5. Cleartype Text: Windows 8 fonts look like garbage both in Modern and Desktop UIs. Period. Maybe its my 1366x768 resolution but Windows 7 had VERY good Font rendering. Windows 8? I don't want to read anything on it. The fact that IE has a different font renderer is probably for this very reason. Screenshots:
6. Built in Apps: Microsoft, if you want to push a new UI paradigm to users of your software, you should make sure that the experience is better than the one you want to kill off. The new Modern Apps are the worlds worst designed apps and functionally they are an even greater FAIL. Built in Apps have extremely obnoxious amount of white space while at the same time has excruciatingly little amount of functionality. Starting with the Volume control of the media player as described above. Mail app has NO SORTING/LABELLING functionality. Music App is a mess too. You have to do a whole lot of digging just to seek the currently playing track. Calendar app is limited too. Date and time format does not correspond to System Settings. There's NO SEARCH for Calendar! Screenshot:
The list goes on and on and on. You could even have a competition to see who can find the obvious flaws/idiotic design whatever.
Also if Microsoft is actively pushing the new UI why does essential windows apps like Calculator, Paint and a whole other bunch bump you into desktop mode? My take is if it hadn't been for the desktop mode, Microsoft would have overwhelmingly deep shit right now. And then they decide to just not include the Windows Orb so that you have to move your mouse to an invisible location on the Bottom left corner just to get back again. Why not just let the user choose whether he/she wants to work on the Desktop UI or Modern UI. Surely that couldn't be that difficult? EPIC MONUMENTAL FAIL!
And there are countless other areas where Microsoft Windows 8 falls far far behind. Even Android seems to be a better OS for the PC than the Modern UI. Sure, under the hood improvements are well and good and may be a strong point for upgrade. But the general experience is unpleasant and stupefying and has no place in today's Computing world.