Windows 8 has been out for about a year and a half now, and it is common knowledge that Microsoft’s newest operating system has received mixed reactions. The new start screen (I still have to stop myself from calling it Metro!) is a jolting departure from the user interface that Windows users have been accustomed to using since 1995. One unique thing we do here at Puget Systems, is we reach out to nearly all of our customers after they have had a chance to use their new PC. We ask them how it is working for them, and what we could have done better. We learn a LOT. So, what do our customers have to say about Windows 8, and what is Puget Systems doing to respond?
Windows 8 launches this fall, on October 26th to be precise, and it is shaping up to be the most controversial Windows edition ever. Past versions like Vista and Millennium Edition were underwhelming, certainly, and others like Windows 95 and XP changed the face of Windows dramatically – but each new version has generally been an attempt to improve the user experience. Some focused on better performance, others on a newer and sleeker interface… and while there were both successes and failures Microsoft has managed to maintain dominance in the PC operating system market.
The latest version of Windows, however, has a lot more to it than just a shiny new taskbar or updated applications: it represents a shift in the whole interface from a traditionally mouse-centered approach to a touch-centric design. The last time that Microsoft tried to add an interface option to Windows was Media Center, which was introduced part-way through the life-cycle of Windows XP and brought a ‘ten foot’ interface designed for use in a living room. That was simply an added interface option on top of the normal Windows UI, though, while Windows 8 has completely removed large parts of the traditional interface that PC users have become accustomed to.