One of the many (many) reasons why I’m not a Windows user is that the user experience is just nowhere near acceptable. The good news for current Windows users however, is that MS are delivering a consistent user experience with their next release. This means that features that you’re used to such as information overload, crowded UI’s, small icons with hover-activated tool tips, and that familiar frustrating feeling, will be right there out of the box.
In this movie from the CES show (click image to link to the original), Microsoft’s Charlotte Jones gives a demo of the new Windows Live features. I found this shocking. The process of translating the language was far too complex, it’s activated by using a pop-up which is off another pop-up. Why MS, really, why? At 1 minutes 6 seconds into the video she has to say ‘I’m guessing the language is Russian’. We all know that if Apple would have done this, it would have identified the language for you, and highlighted others in your social network who can speak that language (all in a semi-transparent, rounded-cornered overlay of course). Seriously though, asking the user to identify a language that they don’t understand is almost pointless, shall we just work our way through the list? How many Westerners can spot the difference between Korean, Japanese, Mandarin or Cantonese (and that’s only a small list)?
You can tell she’s struggling using this herself as at 1 minute 13 seconds into the video she lets out a nervous laugh which I interpret as ‘this UI was built by our head geek, it’s awkward and I’m not likely to use it again’.
Microsoft are consistent if nothing else, they disappoint me every time.