Ex-Microsoft Employee Launches 'Fixing Windows 8' Campaign

Hidden choices and the lack of a Start button are just a couple of the complaints

Not everyone is happy with Windows 8's sweeping design changes, including one former Microsoft employee who thinks the company can do better.

The former employee has launched a website called "Fixing Windows 8" with suggestions on how Microsoft could improve the user interface, particularly for a mouse and keyboard. According to Tom's Hardware, the website's founder is Mike Bibik, a user interface designer.

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

Among the site's complaints:

New users won't know how to navigate the interface because so many choices are hidden from view, including the Charms menu, master apps list and Start button

Metro apps don't have window controls, so users can't minimize or exit an app

The Charms menu hides vital functions such as searching within an app

"Power users should be able to figure out how the mouse works in Windows 8. Novices and new users will be completely lost," Bibik wrote. As evidence, he linked to a video posted by tech personality Chris Pirillo, in which Pirillo's father can't find the Windows 8 Start menu because Microsoft removed the Start button from the desktop.

Bibik says he's trying to be informative, not negative. As such, the website includes possible solutions for making Windows 8 easier to use. Those solutions include:

Combining the desktop task bar with the new Start screen

Combining Charms and the master apps list into a single menu

Adding a dedicated Charms bar to the bottom of the screen

Reinstating a Start button on the desktop

Bibik isn't alone in his criticism of Windows 8's drastic changes. In a PCWorld survey, half of respondents who installed the Windows 8 Consumer Preview said they wouldn't recommend the new operating system to a friend. "Windows 8 straddles the fence between being a touchscreen OS and a desktop OS, and anyone who's straddled a fence before knows it's rather uncomfortable," one detractor said.

Overall, I like Windows 8 for its ability to do double duty as a tablet or laptop interface, but Bibik's concerns about hidden functions are valid. Many of Windows 8's core commands are hidden from view, which means users will need a tutorial to figure out the new interface. Adding a tutorial presents its own challenges. (Remember Clippy?)

But Bibik's solutions aren't perfect, either. Adding a dedicated Charms bar or task bar take away screen real estate from full-screen Metro-style apps, and the more Windows 8 resembles the old OS, the less appealing it is for tablet users. Bibik suggests leaving the interface as-is when a touchscreen is in use, but that presents problems for touch-enabled laptops or desktops.

Windows 8 could use some fixing. Doing so isn't as easy as it seems.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

PC World (US online)

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?