This is a guest post from Greg Buckskin, technology and pop culture guru at CableTV.com.
I must admit that I’m warming up to the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Like many of you, my first impression was a little too overwhelming to get a good handle on the details. I focused on the same major pros and cons that everyone else has covered in depth. After giving it some time, I found much to like but also a few things that started to bother me the more I ran into them.
I’m not talking about the frustration of navigating a touchscreen-optimized environment with a mouse and keyboard, or the mystifying removal of the Start button. Nope, these are the less-obvious criticisms that fall somewhere between missing features and bad design choices, some of which may be fixed by this autumn’s final release, and some of which we may simply have to learn to live with. Here are my top five frustrations with Windows 8 Customer Preview.
Top Five Frustrations With Windows 8
1. Live Tiles are a good idea: intuitive, attractive, and potentially informative. I suppose that it’s nice to be able to choose between the 1×1 and 1×2 sizes. And I like that you can arrange them into your own groups, but the ‘sliding puzzle’ means of rearranging tiles is really annoying. It’s a UI, not a Rubik’s Cube. Please let me simply pick up one tile and put it down right where I want it without displacing everything else.
2. As long as we’re right there, what’s the deal with the colors? Knowing that all human beings learn from a very young age to visually associate and group things by color, it’s simply silly to make (for example) Xbox Live and Calendar similar, or have the same color for Messaging, Music, and Maps. Please give USERS the ability to change colors as we see fit.
3. Quick question: what time is it? For the last 15 years, I could have answered in less than a blink while I was working at my desktop. In Metro, it takes an intentional movement, a potential concentration disruption. Oh, not so much that I can call it a ‘task,’ just enough so that something that I’ve always done is now a little less effortless. That’s not progress.
4. Having said that, progress isn’t always positive. From the dawn of time (i.e., the mid-1990s or so), there’s been a handy rule of thumb for software: free means ads, paid means no ads, this goes whether I’m browsing public web sites or downloading a free app from the Android marketplace (sorry, I mean “Google Play”). But Microsoft wants to sell you the cake and cover it with advertisements for frosting. Music, Video, Store, etc., they’re all putting products for sale before essential app functions.
5. I’ll give Microsoft some points for acknowledging that users might want to integrate third-party services into their unified Account experience, especially when it comes to social networking. But you’ll realize pretty quickly that this doesn’t mean that you can add all of your accounts. Whether you have a social network that isn’t on the list, or multiple accounts on the same social network, you’re still going to need to rely on your browser or separate apps; which kind of defeats the purpose of integration.