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Former Microsoftie launches 'Fixing Windows 8'

Former Microsoftie launches 'Fixing Windows 8'

Mike Bibik, former Microsoft programme manager, claims that Windows 8 is fundamentally broken - and suggests ways to fix it.

A former Microsoft employee has launched a website dubbed 'Fixing Windows 8,' in an attempt to convince the company to address what he claims are major issues with the user interface on non-touchscreen devices.

Mike Bibik, user experience designer for Amazon and erstwhile Microsoft programme manager, is so bemused by the decisions taken by his former place of work that he's registered FixingWindows8.com in an attempt to convince the company to rethink its approach to Windows 8's user experience.

'During the MWC keynote, Microsoft made it very clear that Windows 8 will work fantastically if you are using touch, mouse or keyboard' Bibik writes on his site. 'Unfortunately, that's not entirely true.'

Bibik then launches into a thorough deconstruction of Windows 8 and its Windows Phone-inspired Metro UI, detailing the key points which he claims makes the system a disaster on any device not equipped with a touchscreen interface.

Problems range from the Start Screen, which Bibik points out contains numerous shortcuts to applications which simply won't operate until you've signed up for a Microsoft Account, through the Metro UI's lack of window controls and the invisible Start Button. Bibik also rails on the lack of search functionality in the Store, which for some reason has been relegated to the Charms Menu.

'All of these issues were uncovered in my first hour of using Windows 8 Consumer Preview,' claims Bibik. 'Power users should be able to figure out how the mouse works in Windows 8. Novices and new users will be completely lost.'

Bibik isn't alone in his belief that Microsoft has taken a wrong turn with the design of Windows 8, blinded by the success of Apple's iPad tablet range and the clean lines of its own - small-device centric - Windows Phone platform. A video recorded by Chris Prillo showing his father trying and failing to use Windows 8 offers a key insight into how the vast majority of users will be exasperated by Microsoft's changes.

As its name suggests, however, Bibik isn't just complaining. As well as highlighting what he claims are the key failings of the design, Bibik has drawn upon his UX designer experience to offer potential solutions to the issues raised by the blog.

Sadly, at this late stage, it seems unlikely that Microsoft will be paying much attention. The Consumer Preview represents a near-final look at the software, and any of the overhauls suggested by Bibik would require that the launch schedule be delayed for implementation, testing and a second Consumer Preview cycle.

At the time of writing, Microsoft had not responded to a request for comment on Bibik's blog.

42 Comments

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Whirly 13th March 2012, 12:28 Quote
For me it just highlights the big problem Microsoft has: how to sell an upgrade that nobody needs.

Windows 7 works very well for most people so why pay (yet) again for windows 8? Answer: because it makes your PC look a bit like an iPad! Yaaay! Because every right thinking person knows that Apple is trendy and trendy is obviously better.
r3loaded 13th March 2012, 13:36 Quote
I really hope Microsoft are reading this guy's feedback closely. He echoes the sentiment of many, and his voice carries much more weight than the average commenter due to his experience in UX design, and he actually has good solutions to the issues instead of just "Metro sucks, I want Windows 7".
wuyanxu 13th March 2012, 13:44 Quote
about time!

Metro simply does NOT work on desktop, anything higher than about 1600x1000 will mean massive amount of wasted space.
GeorgeStorm 13th March 2012, 13:49 Quote
Watched that Dad trying to use W8 yesterday, loved it, hope Microsoft pay attention.
KidMod-Southpaw 13th March 2012, 14:20 Quote
It's just a shame that it has had to be left so late to really show the issues, even if Microsoft do anything, it's not going to be major. That's why I'm glad that they've extended the lifetime of Windows 7.

Actually, I'm sure Microsoft are listening, all they will do is add an off button for metro. That's good enough for me!
fingerbob69 13th March 2012, 14:23 Quote
Win7 is to Win8 what XP was to Vista.

And here's something for any M$ exec to read, should he wander by...

I am NOT going to upgrade from win7 to an OS PRIMARILY design for a touchscreen (interface) I do not have and do not want on my desktop.
wuyanxu 13th March 2012, 14:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by KidMod-Southpaw

Actually, I'm sure Microsoft are listening, all they will do is add an off button for metro. That's good enough for me!

call it Windows 7.5, cheap upgrade fee from Win7. all i want is under-the-hood speed improvements and the new file copy box.

this Metro UI just doesn't work on desktop. im using a 2560x1440 monitor, not a 1024x768 tablet!
KiNETiK 13th March 2012, 14:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
this Metro UI just doesn't work on desktop. im using a 2560x1440 monitor, not a 1024x768 tablet!

If they are designing around 1024768 tablets then it will be out of date (compared to the competition) before it even launches given the fact that the new iPad and latest Asus tablets have extremely high resolution screens!
Snips 13th March 2012, 14:53 Quote
So why does this guy no longer work for Microsoft? sour grapes by any chance?

Calling this "Win7 is to Win8 what XP was to Vista" is very premature. Some people just want to hate on Microsoft.

What do you think they release the Beta for?
manowarrior 13th March 2012, 15:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
all i want is under-the-hood speed improvements and the new file copy box.

You should install a program called Tera Copy... It replaces the Windows copy box and has more information and a pause button, it also queues up multiple copies so only one will happen at any time.

I have been using it for years and am very happy, it's FREEWARE too.
kenco_uk 13th March 2012, 15:16 Quote
I agree with a lot of the problems that have been introduced with trying to move the interface to floating/invisible bars. The trouble is that they are not intuitive to use. Most people multitask from the taskbar at the bottom of the screen. I'd suggest rather than there being a scrollbar down there on the start menu that there be something a bit more traditional, i.e. the time at the far right, a windows logo at the far left which launches the charms menu perhaps. The rest of the bar would be used primarily for seeing/previewing running apps/programs - it works so incredibly well in Win7 - why has it been swept under the carpet?

The charms menu sort of works but is also partly broken in that it's not immediately obvious what the options actually do. The search icon needs to work universally the same wherever you are. As it is at the moment, switching between apps (particularly if there are more than two) is a real ballache - it's just not intuitive at all and what should be a quick move, click turns into a game of move, move argh! move, move slower argh! ok, move, move, oh I see right-o, what a bloody pain that is. Even on a touch screen I can envisage that is going to cause major issues.

There needs to be a 'help me out here, bud' option when you're first starting off that overlays the hotpoints on the screen and either persistent or whenever you draw your mouse nearer to one, they need to have labels pop up saying what each of them does.
captain caveman 13th March 2012, 15:27 Quote
The Metro UI is just going to destroy Microsoft, and it would be so easy to fix if they take a leaf out of some of the older Linux distros like Bodhi ( I think ), basically right click on the desktop and you get a launch pad for all installed programs.
schmidtbag 13th March 2012, 15:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snips
So why does this guy no longer work for Microsoft? sour grapes by any chance?

Calling this "Win7 is to Win8 what XP was to Vista" is very premature. Some people just want to hate on Microsoft.

What do you think they release the Beta for?

probably because he kept opposing their ideas. my programming professor in college used to work for MS, but he quit due to how much he disliked vista. now he's a linux developer.

personally, i agree with Bibik. I tried windows 8 and thought it was the worst computing experience i ever had - i'd rather use vista without it's service packs, which says a lot since i never kept vista installed on any of my computers.
r3loaded 13th March 2012, 15:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by manowarrior
You should install a program called Tera Copy... It replaces the Windows copy box and has more information and a pause button, it also queues up multiple copies so only one will happen at any time.

I have been using it for years and am very happy, it's FREEWARE too.
The file management changes they've made in Windows 8 are pretty awesome - they make stuff like TeraCopy/FastCopy largely redundant through the improvements they made (unless you have a specialised need like scheduled batch copies or something).
Waynio 13th March 2012, 17:28 Quote
Now who's put this out? - Microsoft - They trying to drive me to mac? enough said I think. :D
Fizzban 13th March 2012, 17:48 Quote
hahahahahaa I love it. Another broken Windows. I will wait until W9..that stands a chance of being worthy.
edzieba 13th March 2012, 17:55 Quote
Quote:
Sadly, at this late stage, it seems unlikely that Microsoft will be paying much attention.
Why not? They made a load of fixes and changes after the Developer Preview, I don't see why they wouldn't listen to feedback. That's what the Consumer Preview is for. Microsoft doesn't want another Vista.
Quote:
The Consumer Preview represents a near-final look at the software, and any of the overhauls suggested by Bibik would require that the launch schedule be delayed for implementation, testing and a second Consumer Preview cycle.
Microsoft have not announced any subsequent previews (or a lack of previews) so there may be an additional round planned anyway.

Looking at his 'fixes', I can't stand any of them (or the attitude that keyboard shortcuts should only be a secondary mode of interaction, rather than a primary). They're all awkward kludges of Metro and the start menu, with an unnecessary persistent taskbar and start button. Fixes are needed (mainly beating developers about the head with stick to prevent needless start screen clutter, and a method for dealing with folders of legacy app shortcuts), but trying to squeeze Metro into the desktop sounds like it would just cause more problems than it solves to pander to those who fear change. And this coming from someone who still uses Firefox (well, Palemoon) 3.x skinned to look like 2.x!
Aracos 13th March 2012, 18:01 Quote
Am I the only one who actually dare I say it, LIKES the metro UI? This is coming from a Linux loving, Mac hating, Vista hating, 7 loving user. Yeah it has some problems but it would only take someone a second to show that guy that there is a WINDOWS key on just about every keyboard these days that brings up the menu. I just see everyone going crazy over this as they've took away the one thing they've had for 17 years, with a replacement that isn't actually that much worse. Though the all programs section is FAR too big in terms of icons which makes it harder to read than it should be.
Krazeh 13th March 2012, 18:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aracos
Am I the only one who actually dare I say it, LIKES the metro UI?

You're not alone. I like it, even if I am using it with the apparently inferior method of KB+M.
rollo 13th March 2012, 18:17 Quote
Well I installed it on a laptop that I have spare it ran fine and works well enough for me, however I put the same laptop in front of my computer illiterate parents ( they can turn a computer on send emails basic tasks basically ) and they could not even get to the web browser, Which in turn means i get asked for help so I give them the windows 7 one back and left em to it.

The UI works great on a touchscreen that most don't have and don't want.

General consumer is gonna take some convincing that this is a great idea 1million sales to geeks and nerds as people call us would be a disaster for Microsoft.
Nexxo 13th March 2012, 18:56 Quote
It's a risky move by Microsoft. Whether it proves to be a balls-out brave or dinosaur-stupid one remains to be seen.

Apple went about things in a different way: it developed iOS and the mobile devices it runs on in parallel with its established desktop and laptop computers running OSX. It didn't matter whether iOS was going to be a huge success or not; it had the PC market covered with an established product. It used iPod and iTunes to leverage the iPhone and iPad. Now these are a huge success, far overshadowing what Apple makes on PCs running OSX, so it can merrily experiment with that next without worrying too much about the financial consequences.

Microsoft has gone the other way. It had Zune, which begat Metro, but failed to leverage that excellent device to its full potential, focusing instead on their bread and butter income generator of the PC market with Windows OS. Then it developed Windows Mobile 8, which anyone with half a brain can see would have been excellent for tablet devices. But no: instead Microsoft dicks about with Windows 7 on the HP Slate, which doesn't even make it off the launch pad, while Apple occupies nearly the whole Tablet market. Now Microsift has decided to cram Metro into the full-blown Windows OS to try and cover all the markets. If they can marry up two such different GUI's into one coherent package, it will be the coup of the century. But equally likely they may fail. The problem is that Microsoft cannot let go. It cannot make a clean break with what has been its main source of income for the last decades, so it cannot just redesign one OS to rule them all from the ground up. It tries to pull the same trick it did with Windows over DOS, but that was a GUI substituting for a CLI, not one GUI superimposed over the other.

It would have been wiser to develop Metro on a Windows Mobile OS in parallel with the established Windows desktop OS, and see which one takes off best before gradually shifting focus as devices start to converge. Right now it is putting all its eggs in one basket, trying to hang on to it's established market while cashing in on a totally new, different one with the same product, and that is very risky.
PingCrosby 13th March 2012, 19:19 Quote
Installed and used Windows 8 consumer for a week, found majority of software I use wouldn't work with it and missed the Start menu, gone back to Windows 7.
rogerrabbits 13th March 2012, 20:03 Quote
Why can't you just press a button and toggle between touch screen interface, and a traditional tried and tested windows interface?
shanky887614 13th March 2012, 20:29 Quote
personally im not fused about any of the new features in windows.

they should slow down and do a new os every 5 years or so

personally i dont understand why they did what they did. some smart people managed to disable metro so it looked like win7


but this is way beyond what most pc users can manage
SpAceman 13th March 2012, 20:47 Quote
I still haven't figured out how to launch things like Windows Update without navigating to the control panel. On Win7 its faster to hit super then type "wu" and hit enter. It should be possible to control a PC quickly without the use of a mouse.
leslie 13th March 2012, 22:42 Quote
I have a sneaky suspicion that Microsoft knows this will fail on the desktop, but wants to get it out onto phones and tablets. This would explain the Windows 7 extension, they haven't even replaced it and they are already extending it, that should tell you something.

By extending Win7, they can take a bit more risk on Win8 and take on the Phone and tablet market. Then come back and merge them better with Win9. I think they fear they are losing too much ground in the mobile market and that Win7 is strong enough to hold them over.
Bogomip 13th March 2012, 22:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by manowarrior
You should install a program called Tera Copy... It replaces the Windows copy box and has more information and a pause button, it also queues up multiple copies so only one will happen at any time.

I have been using it for years and am very happy, it's FREEWARE too.
I dont know why, but changing something as fundamental to windows such as the file copying box feels... unclean :P
edzieba 14th March 2012, 05:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rogerrabbits
Why can't you just press a button and toggle between touch screen interface, and a traditional tried and tested windows interface?
You can. It's the Windows key.
ketchie 14th March 2012, 06:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by edzieba
Quote:
Originally Posted by rogerrabbits
Why can't you just press a button and toggle between touch screen interface, and a traditional tried and tested windows interface?
You can. It's the Windows key.

My windows key is currently broken. Other then buy a new keyboard is there a way for changing the interface.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpAceman
I still haven't figured out how to launch things like Windows Update without navigating to the control panel. On Win7 its faster to hit super then type "wu" and hit enter. It should be possible to control a PC quickly without the use of a mouse.

So far running everything i can from the cmd prompt so i don't have to navigate
liratheal 14th March 2012, 09:59 Quote
...I was under the impression you could turn the Metro UI off?

Am I under a false impression?
RedFlames 14th March 2012, 10:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by liratheal
...I was under the impression you could turn the Metro UI off?

Am I under a false impression?

You can't in the two previews, though that doesn't mean you won't be able to in the final version.
liratheal 14th March 2012, 10:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedFlames
Quote:
Originally Posted by liratheal
...I was under the impression you could turn the Metro UI off?

Am I under a false impression?

You can't in the two previews, though that doesn't mean you won't be able to in the final version.

Ah, no, there's no "off" button as such, but there's a reg edit you can make to turn it off and get the "normal" taskbar system back.

Hopefully they make it a choice on install/setup if there's enough protesting to metro being on regardless
fingerbob69 14th March 2012, 10:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snips
So why does this guy no longer work for Microsoft? sour grapes by any chance?

Calling this "Win7 is to Win8 what XP was to Vista" is very premature. Some people just want to hate on Microsoft.

What do you think they release the Beta for?

How many machines (in business especially) are still running XP/Vista and ever increasingly Win7? How many companies do you think want to fork out for Win8 training days? How many people want things to be contained in "floating/invisible bars." and a need to relearn how to turn the damn thing off?

A UI should just be simple, obvious with the role of being the gateway to another programme, be it browser, office or game. It is not the UI's role to be the final destination!

Throw in the fact that M$ have joined Apple in trying to push yet another app store while trying to kill off Flash and you can't help thinking that the rich and largely free computer/'net experience we enjoy today will soon be history.
Shirty 14th March 2012, 10:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by leslie
I have a sneaky suspicion that Microsoft knows this will fail on the desktop, but wants to get it out onto phones and tablets. This would explain the Windows 7 extension, they haven't even replaced it and they are already extending it, that should tell you something.

By extending Win7, they can take a bit more risk on Win8 and take on the Phone and tablet market. Then come back and merge them better with Win9. I think they fear they are losing too much ground in the mobile market and that Win7 is strong enough to hold them over.

^ This, in a nutshell.
rogerrabbits 14th March 2012, 10:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by edzieba
You can. It's the Windows key.

But I mean why can't they just make it so you press a button and it becomes like Win7, or you press it again if you have a touch screen and it has the big boxes or whatever.
Nexxo 14th March 2012, 10:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fingerbob69
Throw in the fact that M$ have joined Apple in trying to push yet another app store while trying to kill off Flash and you can't help thinking that the rich and largely free computer/'net experience we enjoy today will soon be history.

Remember the good ol' days? I do. Living on the edge of town, my friends and I would ramble for hours over the local fields and forest land, climbing over barb wire fences around pastures, wading through streams catching frogs and climbing trees. I got myself stung, electrocuted (those barn-wire fences often had a mild current running through them to keep the cows in), falling out of trees and in murky lakes countless times. The things we got up to! In hindsight it is a wonder I didn't get myself killed.

Most parents now would balk at letting their child wander miles away from home and not seeing it for hours, not quite knowing where it is or what it is getting up to. They want a safe space --like a playground. Playgrounds can be fun, but they need fences. And because someone is responsible for running them and keeping them safe, they need all sorts of safety features, and rules and restrictions. They cost money to build, maintain and supervise. They are undoubtedly safer than the places my friends and I explored, but it is harder to have fun in a creative way, to learn and discover things about the world and to learn to assess risk and how to keep yourself from getting electrocuted, stung, bitten or drowned.

When I got into computing, in 1986, and you young'uns got into it at the birth if the World Wide Web in 1995, the land of computing was like the wild fields I roamed in with my friends: full of exciting possibilities, discoveries and also dangers and opportunities to get hurt. Now computers and the Internet have gone mainstream, and the land of computing is like a collection of playgrounds. They are fun, colourful and above all, safe spaces, but with little opportunity for creativity and exploration, and none for learning to assess risk. And of course they all have fences and rules, and cost money to maintain and supervise.

If you don't like the playgrounds, then you'll have to explore the spaces in between, where the wild things are: the land of Linux, hackers, original and creative home-brew software and hardware, but also of viruses and malware. Have fun but accept the scratches and bruises. Explore, but also assess risk and keep yourself safe. It's not for everybody. Most people nowadays prefer the playground.
impar 14th March 2012, 11:06 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by liratheal
Ah, no, there's no "off" button as such, but there's a reg edit you can make to turn it off and get the "normal" taskbar system back.
No longer works in the CP.
phuzz 14th March 2012, 14:59 Quote
I didn't notice the metro screen being that big a part of Win8, I only used it for the couple of seconds it took me to open a program, and then back to the normal desktop.
Mind you, I will be picking up Win8 when it comes out, but then I'll be expected to support it (and Server 8) one day so familiarity will be useful.
liratheal 14th March 2012, 15:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by impar
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by liratheal
Ah, no, there's no "off" button as such, but there's a reg edit you can make to turn it off and get the "normal" taskbar system back.
No longer works in the CP.

Well that's unfortunate! Thanks for the heads up.
Redbeaver 14th March 2012, 17:59 Quote
somebody buy Mr Bibik a cold beer on me!
Blademrk 15th March 2012, 10:53 Quote
I think someone at MS took offense to Win7 being likened to a "Fisher Price" OS and decided to actually make a FP OS :D
Nicho133 15th March 2012, 13:34 Quote
The things I don't like about Windows 8 Consumer Preview is the lack of a Start Menu which means no clicking on the Start Menu to search for Programs. In the Metro interface It won't be easy for novices to find the hidden menu on the right side of the screen, I find it a bit annoying keeping the mouse in the right spot. In the Metro interface there's also a hidden bar on the left side of screen which shows all the apps. The only way I could figure out how to quit a metro app is to ALT F4 it. It does boot up quite fast on my PC though. I don't think I'll be using the metro interface very often.
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