I miss the ergonomic design experience of Windows 8

Discussion in 'Windows 10' started by ptrkhh, Jan 23, 2015.

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  1. ptrkhh

    ptrkhh Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Before anybody complaint, Im not going to treat Windows 10 like a final release because obviously it is not. There are MANY bugs and broken visuals for sure. But here, Im going to talk about the core design, the usability, experience, and ergonomic. Something that is not going to, and should not change once the build goes beta. And quite frankly, from my perspective, they kinda screwed up the tablet experience.

    Here's the thing, its important, nobody complained about Windows 8 experience on a tablet. Yes, sure, people do complain about Windows 8. Lots of people do. But those people are using Windows 8 on their $500 HP craptastic laptop (okay, that's too much of a generalization, but you get the idea).

    Its not bad. Not bad at all. It is the driving force behind Windows 10 itself. It is the main reason why they built Windows 10. It is a slap to Microsoft to remind them that people are not just blindly following and buying what they throw.

    Anyway, Windows 8 was clearly built for a tablet, there is no debate. In fact, I find that Windows 8 was designed with tablet ergonomic in mind. It is the most ergonomic tablet OS that I could ever think of. Seriously, swiping from the right to open the start screen is very natural. Swiping from the left side allows us to switch between app without awkwardly moving my hands across the entire screen. What day is it? What time is it? A simple swipe shows everything for you, no matter where you are. It was super comfortable, none of those actions require you to move both hands on both sides of the tablet. I didn't realize how convenient and comfortable those were until I tried Windows 10.

    When a design goes so deep into your nature, you start forgetting that somebody actually thought of that. Somebody spent time to make it happen to you. And yes, somebody did it on Windows 8. And somebody else screwed all of that on Windows 10.

    But lets break for a moment from that, and talk about one other fundamental design. It is much much worse than that. Which designer thought that it is a good idea to put the taskbar next to a metro app, ON A TABLET? I dont know about you, but for me it doesn't make any sense at all. Maybe for working with Office or stuff, but that doesn't make any sense for using YouTube apps and such, on a tablet. See, tablet apps are designed with most controls on the side, because, once again, our hands are sitting on both sides of the tablet. Putting a taskbar on either side is not a solution for that reason. Controls are getting close to each other. Putting it down on the bottom? Forget it, its an ergonomic nightmare as I mentioned earlier where you need to move the hand from either side of the tablet. Moreover, the immersive experience is pretty much gone when the taskbar is there. After all, isn't the left-edge task switcher, introduced in W8, a task switcher designed with touch and tablet in mind? Why are we bringing back the two-decade-old task switcher back?

    I do realize that theyre trying to blend WinRT and Win32 apps together. But, quite frankly, theyre not meant to be. Lets talk about the fundamental SOP of WinRT apps: open it, when youre done, go to the start screen, open something else, then forget about that app forever. It will stay in the background consuming practically zero resource. You can open it again and continue right where you left off. In fact, metro apps are optimized in such away that it will be more efficient if you dont close it every now and then. It will close itself when more space in RAM is needed. On the other hand, Win32 apps are not designed to be like that. Its designed to stay persistently on the memory. It stays open until you close them. When you have it in the background, only god knows what will happen. Perhaps it will consume some CPU cycle, perhaps it will leak the memory, perhaps it will nuke North Korea. Nobody knows.
    In short, Win32 apps need more care. Metro apps dont. Putting Metro apps on desktop environment (Windows 10 non-tablet mode) doesnt make an issue, since giving more care for something that doesnt need care is not a problem. But when you do it in the other way around, you start giving less care on something that does need one. And when it happens, bad thing could happen.

    All in all, I do now appreciate the ergonomic design that I took for granted in Windows 8. For me, Windows 10 feels, really feels like Windows 7 with all the apps, desktop or metro apps they don't really matter, forced to be maximized. If anything, Continuum on Windows 10 actually feels like a stop-gap update between Windows 7 and Windows 8, and that's not a good thing.

    If there is anything I could recommend to Microsoft, it is to keep Windows 8.1 and its ergonomic design for tablet mode in Windows 10. Let the core features of Windows 10, like Universal Apps or Cortana, shine through Windows '8.1', but we dont need them to reinvent the wheel every year. Let the current Windows 10 be awesome on a desktop, as it was designed to be, but please don't ruin the most ergonomic tablet experience in the world.

    Don't get me wrong, I am not judging the visual aspect of Windows 10. Its for sure going to be fixed, but I was talking about the fundamental design, the core experience. Something that's not going to change once the build goes beta. And, once again, that is not a good thing.

    EDIT: UserVoice page
    https://windows.uservoice.com/forum...ss-the-ergonomic-design-experience-of-windows
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2015
    chevypad, Kumabjorn, JoeS and 2 others like this.
  2. Mesosphere

    Mesosphere Geek. Senior Member

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    Lol.
     
  3. JoeS

    JoeS I'm all ears Senior Member

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    Just having sat down with Win10 for an hour or so in tablet mode, I do agree that it's not a great experience. Having said that, I don't have an obvious solution to this. Ideally thing would roughly keep working the same in the two modes.

    Initial thoughts:
    - swiping up on the brightness quick toggle should bring back the slider adjuster as in Win8.1.
    - while in PC mode, setting an app to full screen should keep that app in full screen even after a task switch. If they do this, I may never enter tablet mode, because I want my desktop to behave as a desktop..
    - maybe in the task switcher they can make the entire left side above the win button activate the start screen. That way you wouldn't have to move your hand off the side to go to start.
     
  4. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    This is all quite discouraging. I have not yet tried W10. My first experience with W8 was W8.1 with Startisback so I,

    a) didn't have the shock of going from W7 to the "Live Tiles and,

    b) never went through "I hate Windows 8" tantrums because I knew what to expect given all the commentary I had read by the time I adopted it. I do now, and did then, agree with the point of view expressed by ptrkhh (above) that Windows 8 is a pretty good tablet OS and by adding utilities like startisback/start8, one could use desktop mode, say, for laptops (or desktops!) and pretty much feel like you were using Windows 7 which, in my experience is still often the best user experience for tablet or laptop applications and there are no major impediments to using W8.1 as a "refresh" of W7 with, among other benefits, much faster boot times, some faster and more convenient ways to operate control panel type functions and some pretty cool/fun touch-optimized apps.

    I kind of always wondered why the big fuss over W8/8.1 when to me it seemed - in commercial release version - like an interesting move in some new directions while preserving all that was good -and there was plenty of that - from W7.

    I do hope that the final commercial release version of W10 will remedy some of the flaws observed by beta users of it as represented by comments above in this thread. Regardless I have a hunch that much like W8/8.1, there will be "workarounds" to enable users to encounter W10 in a way that's little changed from W8.1 with even better fidelity back to W7 which is hard to find fault with.

    Am I missing something here?
     
  5. WillAdams

    WillAdams Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Windows 8 tablet interface issues:

    • No gestures --- flicks are not an acceptable substitute
    • Writing area not configurable / resizable (small is huge on a 1280x 800 display) and wastes space- -- why is there a hide keyboard command when there's already an x to close button?
    • stupidly changes correctly interpreted words -- -if it was wrong, I'd've tapped on it to correct it.
    • writing area doesn't pop-up when clicking in a text field. (and if it does is obnoxiously large and in the way)
    • No option to not have pop-up keyboard/ writing area not be over windows.
    • why does the keyboard waste a button on emoticons when it doesn't have room for @?
     
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  6. dceggert

    dceggert Owner of a TabletPC Museum Senior Member

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    Well, just like most Windows releases, you may want to keep 8.1 until 10.1 or SP1 is released. Maybe by then the pendulum may have come back a bit on some of the features.
     
  7. ron2k_1

    ron2k_1 calibuchi Senior Member

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    I think I'll keep my SP3 on Win 8. However I'm heavily debating whether I should update my x230t grin Win 7...

    Swiped from my Galaxy Note 4 using Tapatalk
     
  8. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    Good points. If you can't live with these issues there isa handful of third party popup keyboard apps that fix them all. I find I can get around all of them with the secondary OSK available in W8 Accessibility options with the exception of the keyboard automatically popping up when you point to a text field. W7 and XP both had that and I can't imagine why it was eliminated in W8. Several of those third party OSKs restore that operation.
     
  9. JoeS

    JoeS I'm all ears Senior Member

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    As I continue trying the latest TP, I'm still wondering how they could make true full screen apps work in desktop mode in a way that won't confuse users. Right now you can set an app to full screen, but the moment you left swipe to see the task switcher the app becomes windowed again. That's annoying.

    For me I think the following 'desktop mode fixes' would work:
    • When an app goes full screen, keep it in the task switcher and on the task bar, but don't show it on the desktop.

    • A full screen app should close on swipe down from the top, even when a device is in 'desktop mode'. Swipe up should show app commands, rather than the taskbar as it does now.

    • In the task switcher, include a 'restore window' icon on a full screen app's thumbnail. Alternatively in the task switcher they could group by 'full screen apps' and 'windowed apps', and allow people to drag between the two.

    • On the taskbar, the fullscreen apps could get a small visual cue that they are full screen. Maybe a tiny up-triangle on the underline.
    If they implement these, I don't think I'd ever have a need for tablet mode.

    Edit: I made a mockup of a refined version of these thoughts here.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2015
  10. ptrkhh

    ptrkhh Scribbler - Standard Member

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