This weekend I got a curious text message from my mother: "I’m watching a presentation of Windows 8 on HSN".
I quickly tuned into the Home Shopping Network channel and to my surprise they were actually doing a pretty decent job of explaining Windows 8 (and offering PCs for preorder). They demoed various benefits of the new OS from the apps to the fact that if users are confused by the new interface, the old legacy desktop is a button press away (the windows key).
Microsoft's plan to only let a few key developers into the Windows Phone 8 Preview Program SDK, understandably upsets many developers. For a plaform with only about 3 percent market share, Microsoft needs all the supporters it can get, or so the presumption goes.
Why lock out most of the people needed to develop apps that take advantage of your new platform? I think there could be two possible answers: (1) a new marketplace strategy based on the quality of apps, and (2) major unannounced features.
Last in a series. If you read tech blogs as much as I do I am sure you have seen a number of articles criticizing Windows 8. Among these are articles that focus on the overall design of the Modern UI and its numerous inconsistencies. I saw a forum post on one website claiming that visual designers hate Windows 8?
The reason, hold on to your seat because this one is a doozy: the Modern UI design language has done away with drop shadows and realistic looking icons; in other words, the interface looks nothing like the skeuomorphic interfaces of Apple and to some degree, Google.
Second in a series. Most, if not all, the reviews of Windows 8 focus on the intuitiveness of the user interface. As a designer/developer I think lots about creating good UI and user experience (UX). What's seems important to product reviewers or techies is meaningless to Microsoft's target audience of Windows 8 users.
I’m here to tell you that there’s more to the analysis than intuitiveness. UI designers who are really serious about designing compelling user interfaces know that intuitiveness is not the only aspect to consider, there’s also learnability and discoverability that are essential to UI design and development.
First in a series. Over the past few months I’ve seen several articles and forum postings negatively criticizing the design of Windows 8; from the flatness of the UI to design inconsistencies on the desktop. I’ve also seen articles asserting how difficult the operating system is to use because it’s not instantly intuitive.
While I think there are some valid concerns in these articles about Windows 8, I personally believe that most of what has been written is shortsighted. I hope to prove this over three articles.
As Nokia reports its earnings, I can’t help but feel bad for the company's efforts here in the United States. To me, 600,000 units in North America (and supposedly that includes other devices besides Lumia 900) is not exactly what I would call a win.
But that’s just me. I’m a Windows Phone user. It’s a fantastic platform. The interface is gorgeous, and the OS is fast. I haven’t had issues with Windows Phone that I have had with Android. So in my opinion, the platform deserves a spot at the table with Android and iOS. So why hasn’t it been very successful?
It’s the biggest product launch of the year so far for Windows Phone and Nokia. The Lumia 900 went on sale April 8th and early reports suggest that sales are better than expected. They're nothing stellar but nevertheless some good news for a platform struggling to gain market share.
Earlier this week, I convinced my mother to purchase her first Windows Phone, the Cyan Lumia 900. Later that afternoon, I learned of a serious software bug causing devices to literally lose their data connections --an essential feature for any smartphone. So admittedly, I was pretty concerned. It turns out, I didn’t need to be.
February 29 is the day I waited for for a long time. I downloaded the Windows 8 Consumer Preview to test out the work Microsoft has done so far, and I am very impressed. There are still some rough edges, though, but I like what Microsoft is doing. Strangely, I seem to be one of the few people that actually "get it".
As a designer, I am perfectly on board with anything that allows print and digital to come together in interesting ways. Mike Kruzeniski, who is a Creative Director at Microsoft, gave presentation "How Print Design is the Future of Interaction" at SXSW 2011 discussing this convergence. In interactive, content is important. We are quickly moving to a time where the lines between print and interactive content are blurring. And herein lies the problem with Windows 8. I refer to Metro, Windows 8's new motif that is receiving mixed reaction from testers.
I was surprised Apple announced the developer preview of OS X 10.8 yesterday. There is something curiously odd how they went about this, and I believe it has everything to do with the company everyone loves to hate on -- Microsoft.
Anyone following Apple for any length of time should know they are the king of secrecy. Products are announced when they're ready (there are few public betas), usually during invite-only media events. But not this time. Apple claims they did not want to overdo the whole "announcement event" especially having just hosted the iBooks event. That sounds like a pile of crock to me.
In late November, I opined why Microsoft is in trouble. A couple of conversations I had over Thanksgiving led me to believe there are tons of misconceptions about Microsoft consumer products, such as: Windows Phone is dead and Windows PCs are nothing but junk.
But I think the company can correct these problems by aggressively taking action in several key areas: Windows 8 hardware requirements, Windows 8 and Windows Phone marketing, synchronization and natural user interfaces.
I am a new Windows Phone user -- HTC Titan -- and I cannot be more excited about it. As a UX developer it is very apparent that Microsoft has paid some serious attention to detail in ways I have never seen before. In my opinion, Windows Phone really is the best phone people aren’t using.
Every day, hundreds of thousands of consumers make smartphone purchasing decisions and every day most of them choose Android or iPhone? Why? Because they think they're better since most sales technicians at Verizon and AT&T will push Android or iPhone over and above Windows Phone.
From a technology perspective, Thanksgiving 2011 ranks as one of my most insightful and frustrating holidays ever. I'm an enthusiast who wants to see Microsoft make a strong comeback among consumers. Unfortunately, three Turkey Day incidents left me disheartened.
Microsoft has got a big perception problem.
Android is hot from a device sales perspective -- 550,000 activations per day. However, even though apps for Android phones are surging in the marketplace, it does not yet appear that the same is true for Android tablets. As popular as Android is, it is my personal opinion that iOS and Windows 8 should be the focus of future development.
The sheer popularity of iOS and the beauty of Apple's hardware make iOS a prime candidate for app development. I'm not saying developers shouldn't target Android at all, but I believe iOS and Windows 8 offer (or will offer) the best user experiences going forward.
Has it only been a week since Hulu Plus came to Xbox 360 via Xbox Live? It seems so much longer. I'm more than just a little excited about it, if you can't tell.
A friend of mine recently bought a Roku player, and I asked him what he thought about the Hulu experience. He wasn't very happy about it, citing the lack of previous seasons for some of his favorite shows -- then there is the number of commercials. I personally didn't really see those as negatives, and so when Hulu Plus finally arrived on Xbox 360 I was anxious to try it out.
In November 2009, I purchased my first Xbox 360. A year later I bought the Kinect bundle, and I have been more than pleased with my purchase. Recently, PlayStation Network outages got me to reflect about my decision to choose Microsoft's game console -- to appreciate how important Xbox 360 and Xbox Live are to my TV watching habits.
It's by no means picture-perfect entertainment, but awfully good. Here, I share what three things make Xbox and Xbox Live a central element in my living room, and what three things I think Microsoft should change.