Microsoft Employee Launches ‘Fixing Windows 8′ Initiative

imageIt seems that Microsoft’s latest version of Windows is receiving a mixed reaction: some people like it, and some people don’t. Naturally you can’t please everyone on the planet, but we really haven’t heard this much negativity since Windows Vista. The biggest issue thus far is that Microsoft seemingly caters to the new touchy consumer and brushed aside the old, making Windows 8 difficult to manage using the typical mouse and keyboard setup.

“During the MWC keynote, Microsoft made it very clear that Windows 8 will work fantastically if you are using touch, mouse or keyboard,” says former Microsoft employee Mike Bibik on his just-launched website fixingwindows8.com. “Unfortunately, that’s not entirely true.”

His initial rant, which went live on March 2, goes into a thorough deconstruction of Windows 8 and its blocky Metro UI. His first big beef was in launching apps that require the user to have a Microsoft account, essentially either a Hotmail account or Windows Live ID. He then complained that the scroll wheel — which for years allowed the user to scroll up and down on the screen — now moves everything horizontally.’

“Metro apps do not have window controls. How does a user know how to exit a Metro app? They can’t minimize, they can’t maximize, they can’t exit,” he wrote. “I’m pretty sure this is where 75-percent of first-time users will simply give up. This will be so frustrating, people won’t even try to fix it. We are going to hear a lot of ‘I just want it the way it used to be!’”

Most of what he found “broken” in Windows 8 were within the first hour of using the Consumer Preview. Granted things will likely change before the final version arrives on store shelves later this year, now is the time to throw complains out to Microsoft before code is etched in stone, hence the need for sites like fixWindows8.com to point out glaring design issues. Bibik is drawing upon his UX designer experience to offer potential solutions to these issues.

On his website, Bibik links to a video uploaded to YouTube recorded by Chris Pirillo which shows his father trying — and failing — to use Windows 8 Consumer Preview. As Bibik points out, power users should be able to figure out how the mouse works in Windows 8; novices and new users will be completely lost. As seen in the video, the “dad” couldn’t even figure out how to get back to the tiles after opening Windows Explorer.

“Who puts this out,” the dad says after four minutes. His son says it’s by Microsoft.

“They trying to drive me to Mac?”

In Bibik’s post called “Fixing Metro By Mouse,” he provides three possible solutions: Start+Charms, Apps+Charms, and an actual Metro Bar. The latter option would be visible at all times as a thin bar at the bottom of the screen. On the left would be a button for the Start menu and on the right would be a button for the Charms menu. When the Desktop is visible, the classic Start bar will need enough left and right padding so the Metro bar can fit on top of it.

At this stage, it’s highly unlikely Microsoft would even consider implementing his suggestions. Has Microsoft completely taken the wrong direction with Windows 8? Is Microsoft so intent on taking on Apple in the tablet sector that it’s completely lost track of the desktop consumer? We have a while before Windows 8 goes gold, so it will be interesting to see what will happen to the new OS before then.