Windows 8 Usability Disappointing, says usability guru Jakob Nielsen

Windows 8 Usability Disappointing, says usability guru Jakob Nielsen

By | November 20th, 2012
4 Comments on Windows 8 Usability Disappointing, says usability guru Jakob Nielsen

Jakob Nielsen, a leading usability consultant claims Windows 8 UI to be

disappointing for both novice and power users.


														               
							 	 						

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Windows 8 after its recent launch, has elicited mixed reviews from experts and users alike. However, on November 19th, Usability guru Jakob Nielsen expressed one of the most awaited opinions about the usability of Windows 8 User Interface. In his website, Nielsen voiced his opinion via a Windows 8 usability study ‘report’, with a fairly revealing title: Windows 8 – Disappointing Usability for Both Novice and Power Users.

In his report, the usability expert has summarized the Windows 8 UI as “Hidden features, reduced discoverability, cognitive overhead from dual environments, and reduced power from a single-window UI and low information density. Too bad.”

According to Nielsen, the new design is obviously optimized for touchscreen use, where big targets are helpful, but Microsoft is also imposing this style on its traditional PC users. He has particular concerns about the ‘duality’ of the User Interface, which requires the users to remember where to go, having to switch interfaces, even when they don’t want to and making the whole experience very inconsistent.

According to him, the other con that probably kills it for power users, is the lack of multiple windows. The lack of multitasking inside the Modern UI makes it almost impossible for power users to get real job done, as complex jobs require information to be elicited from multiple sources or views. He humorously suggests that the OS should be renamed “Microsoft Window“, as the main UI restricts users to a single window!

In the end, Nielsen believes that Microsoft has focused on tablets with Windows 8 to the detriment of PCs. He argues that while Windows 8 is “weak on tablets,” it’s “terrible for PCs.” To put the seal on his ‘verdict’, Nielsen wrote “I happen to think that Windows 7 is a good product and that Windows 8 is a misguided one.”

He does soften his stance in the end by stating “One great thing about Microsoft is that they do have a history of correcting their mistakes.”

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Ketan Singh
Ketan is passionate about computer science, physics and music. Currently, he's busy trying to get his hands dirty with the latest developments in both physics and computer science. He tweets
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