Microsoft announced the Windows 10 and Windows Insider Program as a new revolutionary program. A program where they would be more open, share details with Windows Insiders and take feedback to avoid a repeat of Windows 8. For those who don’t remember, during the Windows 8 Beta days, many people complained about aspects of metro. They weren’t sure it was as usable as Windows 7 and made requests for changes which were ignored. The rest is history. Windows 8 tanked everywhere and became one of the most hated Microsoft OSes since Vista.
On Windows 10 for PCs, Microsoft made a similar disputed change with OneDrive and the way the OS handles Onedrive files, there was an almost immediate glut of negative feedback towards the change. Many testers saw it as for the worse but Microsoft had made their choice, feedback be damned.
The next opportunity for feedback came with the launch of the Windows 10 for Mobile preview. The UI for Windows 10 Mobile, hamburger and all, created a near instantaneous backlash from bloggers and users alike. A uservoice of over 17, 000 votes continues to raise more votes and detailed feedback by the day (I have yet to see anyone asking for the opposite).
A uservoice suggestion on the OneDrive hamburger menu was penned by Windows Phone user Peter Juhasz. He writes “The WP UI revamp is not done! We would like to see beautiful Modern/Metro style user interfaces on our Windows Phones and not stupid Android copies. Remove the hamburger menu and do not bring it back. It is in the farthest corner of the phone from my finger and I can not reach it. Furthermore, the flyout is ugly and lags on my 930…Do not forget the search button, the pivot view and all the missing parts.And do not introduce more bad UI practices and concepts like these ones in the future. Stick to the pertfectly designed Metro principles, what we love!(sic)”
Another Windows Phone petition reads as such “In Windows 10 Demo, it seems the MS is moving all the Menu/Navigation Buttons to the top of the screen. I think that’s a mistake, We need to keep these at the bottom of the screen , like the existing IE in the phones, to make it easy to use with one hand and also keep the original/innovative style take started with Windows Phone.”
While Microsoft has not replied to many of the UI threads, the Peter’s UI suggestion has since been shot down with the following response. “Thanks for the feedback. At this time, this is the UI pattern we’re adopting for account management. You’ll notice that a number of other Microsoft apps are shifting to using the hamburger and our work here is consistent with that approach.”
The user interface of Windows 10 as it is shaping up – is so far, a disaster. The hamburger menus everywhere pointing out the painfully obvious, the lack of swipeable elements in certain apps, the zoo that is the settings menu (fixed in 8.1 GDR2, destroyed again in Windows 10). None of these are features requested and even liked by users, yet Microsoft’s Interface team has seen them to be fit for purpose.
The question this- and the aforementioned OneDrive incident raise however, is this – “exactly what kind of feedback does Microsoft want from the Windows Insiders?” If they can casually brush off any and all criticism that goes against their plans, then exactly what do they want feedback on? The shape of the recycle bin? Squares vs circles?
If Microsoft is aiming for transparency, then they should be transparent in exactly what kind of feedback they want.
Microsoft’s Build is coming up soon, we’ll be able to know more about what their feedback is then. While I don’t doubt they are listening to the feedback, the real test comes with they’re doing with it. Summer is almost here, and time is ticking. Will Microsoft pleasantly surprise everyone with a workable UI and UX that surpasses both their previous efforts and those of their competitors – or will they play it safe? As the saying goes – We shall see.
Do you have any opinion on the Windows Phone UI? Let us know in the comments.
Postscript: There is a certain group of fans who will no doubt point out that the Windows 10 preview is in fact a preview. Those fans will inform us that when Microsoft is asking for feedback, they mean wait till they are done with the OS and then deliver feedback. They will then go on to tell us about how we’re seeing the building process and how we can’t judge until it is done. To those fans, I have a saying for you – “If you want to strike, strike now. No matter how skilfully a footballer strikes beyond the 90 minutes’ regulated time, he makes no influence. Strike now before it becomes too late!”