Why Did Microsoft Redesign Windows

In an interview with Julie Larson-Green, the question of why Windows was redesigned came up.

One certain answer bugged me. Yes, it’s a bit out of context, but it is still somewhat a step backwards in my opinion. The emphasis is mine, but it’s very interesting to me. They didn’t want you to have to make a choice. Yet, the majority of users that I hear from (online, offline, forums, etc.) say they WANT the choice of the Modern UI touch style interface or the classic Start menu. In fact, many are resorting to freeware or payware alternatives to return to the classic Start menu. They have chosen to go elsewhere for a solution.

Can touch coexist with a keyboard and mouse interface? Some people have said it doesn’t feel right to have both the newer, touch-centric elements and the old-style desktop in Windows 8.
It was a very definite choice to have both environments. A finger’s never going to replace the precision of a mouse. It’s always going to be easier to type on a keyboard than it is on glass. We didn’t want you to have to make a choice. Some people have said that it’s jarring, but over time we don’t hear that. It’s just getting used to something that’s different. Nothing was homogenous to start with, when you were in the browser it looked different than when you were in Excel.

They assume people are going to stop complaining about it being jarring. I’m sure they will stop complaining (people don’t like shouting at brick walls all day), but it won’t make the issue go away. The people complaining about these things are very vocal, and with some of the points, I really do agree with them. Windows 8 is not a bad operating system at all. It has a lot of new features. The Start Screen isn’t bad, either. But, there is a few issues with the implementation of the Start Screen and the desktop application that really need some work.

Consider it constructive criticism, and not just bashing of the OS. I’m a Microsoft fanboy, but I’m not blind to the areas that need some work. The Windows 8 team made some piss poor decisions when it came to the new OS. There are businesses that don’t want to rely on a big learning curve with a new OS. They want the ability to retain the classic Start menu. There are businesses that were waiting for Windows 8 for a refresh from XP. Now, they are just going with Windows 7. A step backwards, just because of the lack of choice.

Mrs. Larson-Green, your users DO want to make that choice. Windows gained a lot of respect by allowing the consumer to have choice – in customizing various aspects of the OS (now third party tools are needed to customize the Start Screen).

Will I go back to Windows 7 or switch to Mac? No way. Windows 8 is a step forward in a lot of ways. Microsoft just needs to listen to the consumers that are buying the product instead of assuming what they will want and forcing them to use it that way. Give the consumer back the choice. Don’t make it for them.