Windows 8 to get usability makeover

7 May 2013
Ben Logan

Author: Ben Logan

Passionate about improving services and experiences for the people that use them.

Microsoft have announced that an updated – and significantly different – version of its Windows 8 operating system will be released later in 2013.  The software giant has admitted that users are experiencing some serious usability issues with Windows 8 and that change is necessary.

Windows 8 – too radical a change?

Windows 8 launched in 2012 and was intended to move Microsoft into the touchscreen era. Its user interface was, however, radically different to previous versions of Microsoft’s operating system and many users complained that they found it hard to use.  This should not come as any surprise to the usability community, who have long been aware that audiences can react negatively to radical re-designs of user interfaces, particularly if the audience has become very familiar with (and expert in) their use.

Praise for Microsoft’s decision to update Windows 8

Although there will be a fair amount of Microsoft-bashing over this decision (‘How could this happen’?, ‘Why didn’t they fix it sooner?’…), we think it’s worth praising Microsoft for listening to its users.  It’s never easy to admit that one got something wrong – especially when one has heavily (and publicly) invested in it.

As such, we should commend Microsoft for listening to its audience – and look forward to an improved version of Windows 8.

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