Hidden features, reduced discoverability, cognitive overhead from dual environments, and reduced power from a single-window UI and low information density. Too bad.
With the recent launch of Windows 8 and the Surface tablets, Microsoft has reversed its user interface strategy. From a traditional Gates-driven GUI style that emphasized powerful commands to the point of featuritis, Microsoft has gone soft and now smothers usability with big colorful tiles while hiding needed features.
The new design is obviously optimized for touchscreen use (where big targets are helpful), but Microsoft is also imposing this style on its traditional PC users because all of Windows 8 is permeated by the tablet sensibility.
How well does this work for real users performing real tasks? To find out, we invited 12 experienced PC users to test Windows 8 on both regular computers and Microsoft's new Surface RT tablets.