Just finished reading a fairly devastating review of Windows 8 by Jakob Nielsen. I have to wonder if some of the choices they made in designing the interface were forced because of patent considerations, considering all the air has been sucked out of the room in that regard by Apple.

Worth a read, if you are wondering what to expect of a tablet interface that has been shoehorned onto a PC. Perhaps it will make more sense if they start selling 70″ touch screen high-performance tablet PCs. We’ll all work standing up next to the wall or something, waving our arms. It will be better for our figures, at least.

Windows 8 — Disappointing Usability for Both Novice and Power Users
–Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox, November 19, 2012 http://www.useit.com/alertbox/windows-8.html

Hidden features, reduced discoverability, cognitive overhead from dual environments, and reduced power from a single-window UI and low information density. Too bad.

Some of the highlights:

  • Double Desktop = Cognitive Overhead and Added Memory Load
  • Lack of Multiple Windows = Memory Overload for Complex Tasks
  • Flat Style Reduces Discoverability
  • Low Information Density
  • Overly Live Tiles Backfire
  • Charms Are Hidden Generic Commands
  • Error-Prone Gestures
  • Windows 8 UX: Weak on Tablets, Terrible for PCs