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Xanather

Microsoft's "Modern UI (Metro)"...

26 posts in this topic

Am I the only one who thinks this new UI style looks unappealing and annoying?

Not only that but they have fully integrated it into VS2012, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 (wtf?). When I saw the new VS2012 UI I was like "Hmm this is alright I guess" but when I compare it to VS2010, VS2010 just looks so much better.

In my opinion, the metro UI just looks like colored squares and rectangles.

Does anyone else agree?

Edit: the most votes in the Visual Studio microsoft connect program is, you guess it, [url="http://visualstudio.uservoice.com/forums/121579-visual-studio/filters/top"]about the style of visual studio 2012[/url]
And the tool to change the theme has [url="http://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/366ad100-0003-4c9a-81a8-337d4e7ace05"]a whopping 130,000 downloads[/url]

I hope Microsoft kills the metro style, especially for desktop and goes back to aero. Edited by Xanather
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When it's good it's very very good, but when it's bad it's horrid.

It actually works quite well in Office 2013 - the Ribbon interface really suits it well (even all-caps looks good there), and although it shares the same bland flat monochrome look as what most of us have seen to date, it's very well laid out and easy and clear to use. The VS guys could certainly learn a thing or two from looking at what the Office guys have done.
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IMO the concept of having a back-to-basics sleek and modern UI is great, but it just wasn't really executed all too well.
This is what it should have been in my opinion: http://www.digitaltrends.com/web/the-re-imagined-windows-8-metro-concept-that-you-wish-was-real/
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Yeah, Microsoft's Modern UI is a bunch of coloured boxes. It's supposed to be. They thought it through, and designed it to be a bunch of coloured boxes.

Where I work, we decided the existing UIs weren't good enough and had many flaws. We spent a few years designing a better UI from the ground up, with interaction research and usability studies and field testing. We had several interim prereleases. Then we made it the default, and there was a lot lot of loud vituperative hate from a small segment of the usual crowd who vowed loudly in public that the new UI suxxord teh big one and they would never try it and why did "they" force a change on people. A lot of other people turned on their computers and got to work, barely aware there was a change because other than where they had to click at startup, the browser was the browser and email was email and the world didn't end after all.

Fact is, haters gonna hate. There's going to be people who hate the new Microsoft UI and will be very loud about the fact. The vast majority of folks will just use whatever their computer came bundled with, emailing jokes to their friends and browsing pictures of kittens, and life will go on.

If you use the new UI for a reasonable while (a couple of days is not a while) and go back to your old UI, you'll probably find it clunky and weirdly layed out. Try it. Give it a reasonable chance.
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I like the UI but I do agree that its strange that the metro ui came with windows server 2012, maybe thats MS way of telling us the desktop model is dying.

Transitions are never easy, remember the UI complaints vista or ms office got (among other things), I dont actually use windows 8 yet, but from what I have seen in windows server, things are criticised far too much
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[quote name='Bregma' timestamp='1356028995' post='5012876']
Yeah, Microsoft's Modern UI is a bunch of coloured boxes. It's supposed to be. They thought it through, and designed it to be a bunch of coloured boxes.
[/quote]

They thought it through? They looked at the interfaces on smart phones and tablets and, in their infinite wisdom, deemed that all PCs would use touch screen interfaces within a few years. What they neglected to do was to understand that the interface is based on the available input tools and those tools are designed with the user's intent in mind. It is kinda hard to hook up a mouse to a smart phone or a tablet and keyboards take up too much space. Touch screens are the perfect choice for those devices and these devices are not intended to replace PCs.

Has anyone at Microsoft ever actually used a touch screen with a PC? If they had, their frustration level would have had them chucking the screen through a window. Just try to select a single character out of a block of text with your finger. Want to draw a line in a graphics program with pixel-perfect accuracy? Good luck! But, hey, at least we'll be able to touch the square to open the graphics program, right? Edited by MarkS
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[quote name='MarkS' timestamp='1356032454' post='5012892']
They thought it through? They looked at the interfaces on smart phones and tablets and, in their infinite wisdom, deemed that all PCs would use touch screen interfaces within a few years. What they neglected to do was to understand that the interface is based on the available input tools and those tools are designed with the user's intent in mind. It is kinda hard to hook up a mouse to a smart phone or a tablet and keyboards take up too much space. Touch screens are the perfect choice for those devices and these devices are not intended to replace PCs.

Has anyone at Microsoft ever actually used a touch screen with a PC? If they had, their frustration level would have had them chucking the screen through a window. Just try to select a single character out of a block of text with your finger. Want to draw a line in a graphics program with pixel-perfect accuracy? Good luck! But, hey, at least we'll be able to touch the square to open the graphics program, right?
[/quote]

I think you severely underestimate the amount of testing MS does on their UI changes.
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[quote name='way2lazy2care' timestamp='1356033077' post='5012895']
I think you severely underestimate the amount of testing MS does on their UI changes.
[/quote]

Possibly.
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[quote name='MarkS' timestamp='1356032454' post='5012892']
Has anyone at Microsoft ever actually used a touch screen with a PC? If they had, their frustration level would have had them chucking the screen through a window. Just try to select a single character out of a block of text with your finger. Want to draw a line in a graphics program with pixel-perfect accuracy? Good luck! But, hey, at least we'll be able to touch the square to open the graphics program, right?
[/quote]
I've never worked at Microsoft (can't say I'm very familiar with their products at all) but I've done a lot of touch development. My guess is that they tried using a mouse-based UI with touch and ran screaming, because that's exactly what happens. See, you can't use a mouse-oriented UI with touch, but it's pretty simple and straightforward to use a touch-oriented UI with other input devices.

I've been around long enough have been there when people scoffed at and ridiculed the idea of using a pointing device and a graphical UI (it was fine for kids in school but it certainly had no place in a business setting). Heck, before that the outrage was directed at computer that supported colour displays. IBM had machines that ran rock solid 24x80 green-on-black MS-DOS, no colourful childish games machine would ever be profitable.

I think Microsoft may just be doing it right (although obviously not as right as my stuff, but I'm clearly biased). Where they're going to fail is in marketing a tablet with a keyboard and a touchscreen: people will see an underpowered undersized laptop running Windows that makes you use gorilla arms and can't really cope with the copy of Photoshop they brought home from the office. I'm afraid [i]that[/i]'s going to be a mistake.
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[quote name='Bregma' timestamp='1356033538' post='5012899']
I think Microsoft may just be doing it right (although obviously not as right as my stuff, but I'm clearly biased). Where they're going to fail is in marketing a tablet with a keyboard and a touchscreen: people will see an underpowered undersized laptop running Windows that makes you use gorilla arms and can't really cope with the copy of Photoshop they brought home from the office. I'm afraid [i]that[/i]'s going to be a mistake.
[/quote]
I think the problem I'm seeing so far is definitely more power than form factor. I've been wanting a transformer-like form factor that's powerful enough for art for quite some time, and while there are a bunch of great form factors now, not many of them are hitting the power level needed. I have a fujitsu T900 that I'm using right now, and the touch with keyboard problem isn't quite as big an issue as not having enough power to be taken seriously. I've been using touch a good amount on and off actually; I'm surprised how much I've been using it since putting Win8 on this.

The transformer book is pretty close to perfect, but it has no stylus, which sucks. I'm not sure if I want to hold out or settle for the Samsung series 7 is the closest runner up with a good stylus, but lacks power (idk what it's called now, ativ something).

edit: What are you working on, Bregma, if you don't mind my asking? Edited by way2lazy2care
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[quote name='MarkS' timestamp='1356032454' post='5012892']
Has anyone at Microsoft ever actually used a touch screen with a PC?[/quote]
According to my mates over at Microsoft, a pretty good cross-section of the company is running touchscreen(s) on their PC - in addition to the traditional keyboard and mouse.

Anything new always garners hate. Remember the last time Facebook changed it's UI? Or the time before that?
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[quote name='MarkS' timestamp='1356032454' post='5012892']
[quote name='Bregma' timestamp='1356028995' post='5012876']
Yeah, Microsoft's Modern UI is a bunch of coloured boxes. It's supposed to be. They thought it through, and designed it to be a bunch of coloured boxes.
[/quote]

They thought it through? They looked at the interfaces on smart phones and tablets and, in their infinite wisdom, deemed that all PCs would use touch screen interfaces within a few years. What they neglected to do was to understand that the interface is based on the available input tools and those tools are designed with the user's intent in mind. It is kinda hard to hook up a mouse to a smart phone or a tablet and keyboards take up too much space. Touch screens are the perfect choice for those devices and these devices are not intended to replace PCs.

Has anyone at Microsoft ever actually used a touch screen with a PC? If they had, their frustration level would have had them chucking the screen through a window. Just try to select a single character out of a block of text with your finger. Want to draw a line in a graphics program with pixel-perfect accuracy? Good luck! But, hey, at least we'll be able to touch the square to open the graphics program, right?
[/quote]

The idea is to blend touch with mouse & keyboard, not to do everything through touch. I've used Windows 8 on a Windows Surface and guess what... it works. Whenever I go back to Windows 8 on my Macbook Pro I find myself touching the screen to try to interact with some of the UI elements.


[url="http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-57557191-75/windows-8-touch-pc-demand-strong/"]Windows 8 touch PC demand strong[/url]
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Oh wow, many posts in one day.

 

I understand they may be doing it right, only because they actually need to do something. I still completely disagree on how Microsoft has affected desktop in such a way just so it can blend in with the new tablet they are creating.

 

Even though I dislike apple I think the layout on their iPhone/iPad looks much richer and more "modern", that combined with retina display is amazing, why cant Microsoft do something like that? Even the image that Radikalizm linked looks amazing, and windows 8 should look like that. If it did id buy it the day it came out.

 

Also why should desktop need touch screen monitors? I thought the mouse is a perfect input device, i don't have three arms.

Edited by Xanather
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I understand they may be doing it right, only because they actually need to do something. I still completely disagree on how Microsoft has affected desktop in such a way just so it can blend in with the new tablet they are creating.

They haven't really thought; aside from the new start screen the rest of the metro effects are mostly cosmetic on a colour level and, honestly, having used it for a few weeks now on my desktop (not using the new start screen, I admit) I find myself prefering the colour scheme/style on my Win8 machine at home to the Win7 machine at work and I spend more time on the latter during the week.
 
Even though I dislike apple I think the layout on their iPhone/iPad looks much richer and more "modern", that combined with retina display is amazing, why cant Microsoft do something like that?

Because Apple haven't "done" anything; take a step back from the hype, decouple 'screen rez' from the idea and look, I mean REALLY look at what you are using. If you are at all honest what you'll realise is that on the iPad all you have is a grid of icons. Very pretty icons, maybe, but a grid of icons all the same which looks very much like the desktop on Windows if you remove the taskbar/start bar.

That's it.

Over the last few years I've been using a Galaxy S phone and a iPod Touch in day to day life; just recently I got a Nokia Lumia 920 and I can honestly say the Modern UI on the phone is the best UX I've had on a device; the tiles are clear, deliver extra information and all the animation and smooth 'flow' of the device is borderline perfect.

Apple, and Android, have just moved the desktop to the touch screen and made it usable.
Even the image that Radikalizm linked looks amazing, and windows 8 should look like that. If it did id buy it the day it came out.

I find this funny because if anything I find those screen shots to be more washed out and harder to see the difference between UI elements than I do with the Modern UI apps/desktop as it stands on Windows 8. While those screen shots might look pretty I suspect they would become VERY old VERY quickly in day to day usage.
 
Also why should desktop need touch screen monitors? I thought the mouse is a perfect input device, i don't have three arms.

Who said it has to have one?

As mentioned I'm running Windows 8 at home, most of my time is spent in the desktop mode, I use a mouse with no touch screen elements and even when I do, on rare occasions, run a Modern UI application it works fine with a mouse - mostly it's a matter of learning the muscle memory for the charms but things like click-drag to close Modern UI apps work very well with a mouse (if anything I've found it quicker than having to play 'click the x to close' on desktop apps as you can do it from anywhere in the top section of the app.

Amusingly however last night I installed Win8 on my laptop in preperation for heading back to my parents for Xmas and found myself WANTING a touch screen on it. The screen is so close to the keyboard that for scrolling/panning the Modern UI apps the idea of reaching out to flick the screen is natural. Heck, even app launching has me thinking 'awww man, why don't I have a touch screen device?' as reaching up a few inches to touch the screen to run a program FEELS like the right thing to do.

I'm not talking about putting a keyboard on it, or doing all the interaction via the screen, but for some things it FEELS right and it would be faster than using a trackpad to do much the same thing. I wouldn't want an onscreen keyboard to type, for example, but for kicking off VS before a coding session it makes sense.

This is all different to my desktop experiance where, despite the same UI, I don't feel compelled to reach forward and touch the screen because it is too far away and the mouse works fine.

I have to say that having spent some time with the Modern UI and Win8 in general I now 'get' it - the Modern UI works fine in both mouse and touch (Phone + tablet) setups. It could probably do with some tweeking and I do wish that, on my desktop at least as I'm running the laptop in Modern UI mode as an experiment, I could have elected to have a start menu and boot to desktop without throwing Stardock some cash for Start8, but as the first try at a new way of doing things its a very good stab.
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[quote name='way2lazy2care' timestamp='1356035310' post='5012916']
What are you working on, Bregma, if you don't mind my asking?
[/quote]

I work on touch-friendly alternative to Microsoft Windows.  We're familiar with how the internets react when you change things.

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I like the new UI style, I liked Vista & 7 over XP and I like this over 7. It's not annoying for me at all. I would not want to go back after using it for a while, but then I like change sometimes, and I like variety. The feeling of modern styling can be grating for some but it's something that is always changing. I really like VS2012 now as well. I wouldn't enjoy going back to VS2010, it's so XP, I'm glad they're shaking off the last vestiges of that old UI.

[QUOTE]In my opinion, the metro UI just looks like colored squares and rectangles.[/QUOTE]
Well this could be said about any interface, because that's all they are for the most part, with words and icons to distinguish them. The XP UI (which carried on right into W7 in some parts) can look cluttered, the flat look now looks fresh to me. The new style should perform better than aero as well. I liked aero, don't get me wrong, but I think Microsoft are taking performance more seriously now with RT, Direct X integration, Async, they seem to be focusing on getting everything working faster. And that's a good thing. I might argue that options are always good, and maybe a skinning system would be nice, or aero as an option. But then if you want that so badly, you can get software to do that for you anyway cant you ? But those systems have an effect on performance. Overall, the user experience is getting better. It's the nature of the  beast that life is a living experiment. The medical and pharmaceutical industries have known this for a long time. Sometimes the best way to try something is just to use it for a while. IMO the start-menu was clunky! And desktops and UI cannot stay the way they have been for the past 10 years. Nested menus are not that great, and it's certainly not the only way to run a program.

When I read about WinRT I was hoping that Win32 was going to be made legacy in favor of WinRT, but it's a little more complicated that that. Maybe that will happen in the future which would be great, but it's not ready yet. If RT moves onto the desktop then maybe we will see more work on the UI, because the improved performance will give more breathing room. But I say this with the expectation that RT will eventually have features it doesn't have now, such as supporting desktop style windows. I haven't programmed for it much yet, but from what I understand, it's a better system than Win32 and allows faster inter-op.

[QUOTE]its strange that the metro ui came with windows server 2012[/QUOTE]
Well actually, Microsoft recommend using the core installation option in most scenarios, which doesn't have much of a GUI at all, and rather, use Remote Tools to manage the server.

I don't think the desktop is dying, and I don't think Microsoft think that or are saying that. Think of all the people that work at a desktop ! But there are new kinds of computers now, this is the future we all dreamed of, but hey guess what, our dreams didn't come with market decisions and disgruntled consumers and confusion about what these devices are used for. But there are some hard realities, you can't have XP forever, or even W7, because they start looking old, and they don't work on these new computers.

 

There is actually two topics in all this .. WinRT style and new Win32 UI style. But the discussion is kind of a mish-mash. And the start-menu / start-screen is a topic in itself I would say.

I got to play with a Surface RT today, Microsoft finally agreed to allow retailers to show them. It looks and feels good, although I'm yet to try out a stylus on one, which is a feature I want. So I can wait a bit longer. But WinRT for tablets is an essential OS if Microsoft want their software on these new computers that everyone's buying. Traditional Windows has no place on these devices, it doesn't work properly in that setting. But it must be confusing for the non-technical folk out there trying to understand the difference between RT and desktop, and why does Windows 8 have access to RT, but RT devices don't have access to desktop (except it does, but only for office !) ... what the ... I have friends that would have no idea what all that means, that's a really confusing aspect to this roll-out. We now have 2 operating systems in one which is a bit of a problem. It's good for developers because we have access to both, but for the average home user .... I'm not sure it's a good thing.

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but RT devices don't have access to desktop (except it does, but only for office !)
This one truly confuses me. Would it really have killed them to put a team on building an RT-native UI for Office?
 
Office-on-tablet could have been their killer feature in the business space, and instead it's a bit... meh.
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but RT devices don't have access to desktop (except it does, but only for office !)

This one truly confuses me. Would it really have killed them to put a team on building an RT-native UI for Office?
 
Office-on-tablet could have been their killer feature in the business space, and instead it's a bit... meh.
 
 

I feel like this is at least a good part of the reason Sinofsky left. It sounds like a major part was how he tried to keep the windows team separate from the other teams (or more likely the opposite) at a time when it should have been more integrated than ever. That's just my opinion, but it's the impression I got from his leaving.

I'm curious to know how this develops over the next year; whether they will continue keeping office separate or develop new RT versions and hopefully getting rid of the desktop on RT devices.

Just to point out, another really odd thing is that Outlook doesn't integrate well with windows 8 at all. Outlook should be the one program that does integrate well with everything, but a lot of it's functionality is duplicated and totally separate inside of windows 8. Edited by way2lazy2care
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I got windows 8 on my new laptop. Its alright. Although I still dont see the point, I hardly ever see or even use the "tiles/start" screen. Windows 7 would still seem to be easier to use (less mouse clicks to get to places - to get to control panel I have to type in control panel in the search of the tiles screen just to get to the control panel).

 

Meaning Win8:
- open up the start screen

- type control panel

- click on control panel in results

 

Win7

- click start

- click control panel

 

If microsoft made windows 8 as a improved windows 7 with the new task manager/other desktop features I would be very happy, even if they used the "metro" style for windows n such (metro is ok).

Edited by Xanather
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I got windows 8 on my new laptop. Its alright. Although I still dont see the point, I hardly ever see or even use the "tiles/start" screen. Windows 7 would still seem to be easier to use (less mouse clicks to get to places - to get to control panel I have to type in control panel in the search of the tiles screen just to get to the control panel).

 

Meaning Win8:
- open up the start screen

- type control panel

- click on control panel in results

 

Win7

- click start

- click control panel

 

If microsoft made windows 8 as a improved windows 7 with the new task manager/other desktop features I would be very happy, even if they used the "metro" style for windows n such (metro is ok).

 

 

i do that all the time in windows 7, simply hitting the window key, and typing "contr" brings me to the control panel, personally i find it to be leagues faster than if i had to click it.  although going to the control panel directly is rare, usually i just type in w/e panel i'm looking for(such as networking and sharing, mouse, folders, etc.)

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I got windows 8 on my new laptop. Its alright. Although I still dont see the point, I hardly ever see or even use the "tiles/start" screen. Windows 7 would still seem to be easier to use (less mouse clicks to get to places - to get to control panel I have to type in control panel in the search of the tiles screen just to get to the control panel).

 

Meaning Win8:
- open up the start screen

- type control panel

- click on control panel in results

 

Win7

- click start

- click control panel

 

If microsoft made windows 8 as a improved windows 7 with the new task manager/other desktop features I would be very happy, even if they used the "metro" style for windows n such (metro is ok).

 

I don't use the start screen on my non-touch laptop either. That being said, things are much easier for power users now in Windows 8. If you use control panel often for instance, learn to love Win + X.

 

http://www.hanselman.com/blog/Windows8ProductivityWhoMovedMyCheeseOhThereItIs.aspx

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I got windows 8 on my new laptop. Its alright. Although I still dont see the point, I hardly ever see or even use the "tiles/start" screen. Windows 7 would still seem to be easier to use (less mouse clicks to get to places - to get to control panel I have to type in control panel in the search of the tiles screen just to get to the control panel).

 

Meaning Win8:
- open up the start screen

- type control panel

- click on control panel in results

 

Win7

- click start

- click control panel

 

If microsoft made windows 8 as a improved windows 7 with the new task manager/other desktop features I would be very happy, even if they used the "metro" style for windows n such (metro is ok).

While on the desktop you can just bring up the charms bar, go to settings, and then click Control Panel.  That way you don't have to search from the start screen.

 

I just don't like how separate the Modern UI and Desktop are. 

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