Win8: Interface is killing it for me
I'll preface this by saying I am not a troll; this post is my honest opinion as a long time MS product user. I've been a WP user for almost 2 years (Nov. '11) and been using Win8 since release on a 4-year old Lenovo W500 laptop (functionally it works fine, even w/ no touchscreen).
I've always been a Microsoft > Apple guy. I'm a 26 year old, grew up as a PC gamer with games like Rocket Jockey (way back), then later Half-Life, Counter Strike, Warcraft 1-3, Age of Empires, just to name a few..
I absolutely love certain things about Windows phone (i.e. speed, stability, ease of use, etc.), but the interface has never been one of them. WP does a lot of other things well though, so I stuck with it.
Of course, Windows 8 came out, and they decided to adopt this design langauge. I'm going to refrain from saying "Metro", because the interface is not 'hip', 'cool', 'stylish', or anything else IMO.
I'm now a 26 year old professional. I'm an electrical engineer. I have software like AutoCAD, MatLAB, ETAP, etc. that I use (at work). I also have hobbies I love, such as photography. I own a Canon Mk3 camera and use Lightroom and Photoshop. I also make electronic music using a midi controller and Ableton live. This is in addition to some light gaming, and whatever I do in MS Office, which is obviously the most powerful professional tool out there.
That's great that Windows 8 can still run all this stuff in addition to apps for touch. I think the concept of combining a super powerful tablet that can do literally everything (i.e. Surface pro) is an unbelievable idea if executed correctly. The advent of Haswell will allow for smaller and thinner devices to achieve this.
The problem I have with it, after using Win8 for months now, is this blocky, colorful, "fisher price" as some have called it, interface. It doesn't fit my personality. I like to "get shit done", and I like robust tools for "getting shit done". I take my professional life and my hobbies seriously. My favorite color is gray, not purple, pink, or lime green. I'm also not a "big square" or "big blocky" kind of guy, and I like information dense menus.
Why did Microsoft decide to ditch the concept of Menus in Windows 8? There is a reason why the Start Menu paradgrim worked so great for so many years. It could have been re-imagined, updated or facelifted to be more convenient for touch. Instead, it's been transformed into a blocky, flat, colorful puzzle which really does look like a Fisher price game (sorry to say, it's true).
I really wanted to like Win8. Win 8.1 appears to be a step in the right direction, especially with the fact that they are allowing the desktop background to be the same as the "touch environment" background, which does make a lot more sense. However, the interface is still just so polarizing. I do not know why they insist on turning icons into these square, flat blocks that are supposedly "live".
In addition, after buying an Android tablet for $200 and putting Cyanogenmod on it, widgets are a much more robust, attractive solution to the whole "live interface" idea than the blocky, limited live tiles on MS products. Not to say Android is more robust than Win8 as a whole, but just illustrating the point that live tiles are a gimmicky novelty feature that don't really offer any advantage and are not a selling point of the OS.
Wow, my live tile said it's raining outside. Thanks, Win8. You saved me the effort of tilting my head to look out the window.
I'm not about to create a concept in PS, but I do think there are a myriad of ways MS could have executed the touch interface on Win8 to absolutely blow Apple and Android out of the water and make them look like (toys). Instead, Win8 is looking like a toy atm.
With my 4 year old lappy, it's begging for an update.. and I really must say, the idea of editing my photography and creating music on a retina Macbook with Haswell and no gimmicky interface is looking better and better every day.