want you all to pause a moment or two.
I want you all to sit in front of Windows 8, and explore it some more and get to be intimate with “metro” as a user interface style. Really, immerse yourself in it and just stare at it, explore every pixel it offers up.
I now want you to imagine that this is going to be your user interface for the next 5 years.
I have been doing “metro” rinse/repeat designs for quite some time and it has long past bored me to the point where I wonder if I have metro-blindness now. That is I’ve stared at it for far to long that I really need a release valve, I crave something more interesting and has more depth.
This is the part where you respond with the usual metro rhetoric about content-first design, authentically digital blah blah the usual Microsoft Metro Zombie response that often the person at the other end of the conversation has no clue at what even it means, it just sounds smart to say and gives one a sense of authority over the conversation.
I am not saying the path that Microsoft has put the hordes of developers on is wrong but I’m not inclined to say it’s right either.
Who is the target audience?⌗
Today, a 50 something non-techy came into my work pod to talk about the new iPad 3, we talked about what it has and doesn’t have but then I tried to get an unbiased non-technical opinion on Windows 8.
Me: “Have you seen the new Windows 8 yet?”
NonTechGuy: “Nope.. is it out?”
Me: “Not yet, it’s still in beta, but here have a look”
I then watched his facial expression; it looked like he wanted to go to the toilet but was holding back on saying so out of politeness.
Me: “Cool huh!”
NonTechGuy: “is that the whole thing?”
Bottom line was that he was not excited by it and we soon retreated to the iPad conversation. My thinking here is not that well this user speaks for billions of humans worldwide; it was just interesting to see a virgin reaction to basically metro.
This person uses Windows daily and has no issue with it, but when shown Windows 8 front-start screen it had this jarring effect on his senses, as if to say – “this is not what I expected”.
This is the part where someone now responds with “give them time”, “users over time will get used to it”, “I have xyz friends who see the opposite to this view” etc. etc.
I get it, I just disagree with it.
Windows 8 is targeted at us, the tech crowd, the more I think about its practicality the more I contemplate that maybe the reason why Apple is much more successful than Microsoft at this space as they target the baby-boomer style crowd. Microsoft and Google target us and in turn they fail more than they succeed simply because we are much harder to please than the Apple audience.
When Steve Jobs said that they only make products that they would want to use, I think we all in the tech-scene assumed he meant us. He didn’t, I think he meant to say “no, I mean guys my age and people who aren’t preoccupied with engadget/gizmodo style blogs.. I mean me, you people aren’t invited”
The thing that struck a chord today was the fact that iPad3 has failed in the eyes of most tech bloggers etc., yet 50-something non-tech guy walks into the IT cubicle and asks “Hey, you seen the new iPad!”..
Think about that a bit more. Firstly, he has already heard about it from mainstream radio stations and secondly he did not say iPad3 he said “new iPad” (interesting choice of words to parrot).