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Windows 8 design to radically depart from Mac OS X Lion

post #1 of 154
Thread Starter 
Microsoft has started to leak details of its plans for the upcoming release of Windows 8, highlighting a very different design philosophy compared to Apple's existing Mac OS X Lion.

A new blog entry by Steven Sinofsky, Microsoft's president of its Windows Division, indicates that one key element of Windows 8 will take the new release in a very different direction than Apple's outline for Mac OS X.

Sinofsky detailed his thinking behind changes planned for Windows Explorer, which is roughly analogous to Mac OS X's Finder.

A history of Windows file browsing

The Windows file system manager originally appeared as "MS DOS Executive," which exposed DOS commands in a graphical environment with little similarity to the icon-centric Mac desktop.

As Windows began to grow in popularity, Microsoft created an embellished graphical representation of the file system with File Manager. Then, as web browsing became popular, Microsoft brought a browser-like interface to the file system, renaming File Manager as Windows Explorer, complete with a URL-like address bar and prominent back button.

Microsoft has incrementally incorporated Mac-like interface elements in Windows Explorer, with icon-centric file browsing that links documents to their preferred application. Particularly since the release of Mac OS X, Microsoft has incorporated a similar user environment focus that presents the user's documents, pictures, music and videos rather than just a raw window into the root file system.



Windows 8 Ribbonized

However, Microsoft's biggest changes in Windows 8 will be an Office-like Ribbon that presents all the major functions in a tall, window-wide control bar. This marks a radical change in thinking compared to Apple's increasingly minimalistic interface in the Finder, which limits the default buttons to a grouping of view options, a new sorting feature in Mac OS X Lion, a Quick View button, an Action button, and a search field.

Microsoft's Windows 8 Explorer presents 19 visible buttons in five categories, and that's just the Home tab. The Ribbon also supplies four other tabs, which function similar to the Mac's main Menu Bar. Sinofsky explains, "The Home tab is the heart of our new, much more streamlined Explorer experience. The commands that make up 84% of what customers do in Explorer are now all available on this one tab."



Microsoft's Office Ribbon design is so different from the Mac environment that the company had to create a hybrid version of Office for Mac to adapt portions of the Ribbon concept into a window that Mac users could relate to. Apple's own design for iWork similarly takes a very different design path to present a limited number of default toolbar buttons. along with a strip of contextual controls (contrasted below).



Outside of the graphical interface, Microsoft's design goals for Windows 8 also mark a new era of computing centered around mobile devices such as tablets. Existing Windows 7 apps won't run on future ARM-based tablets, but a new secondary environment of web-based apps will, something Microsoft hopes will enable Windows to remain relevant even as the conventional PC market has plateaued and begun to shrink globally.

Apple sandboxes the file system

Apple's design direction for Mac OS X has opted to incorporate a variety of design elements originally created for iPad, including a simplified, window-less Full Screen mode for apps; limited and simplified control buttons in toolbars; an increasing use of touchpad gestures; and a new security model that encapsulates apps and their documents in a private sandbox.

Apple's iOS originally appeared on the iPhone without any "file browser," and even the latest version works hard to avoid any exposure of the underlying file system, despite supporting document-centric apps like iWork. Apps on iOS simply can not present a global view of the underlying filesystem, because all they can see is their own sandbox.

Apple's iCloud similarly reduces the exposure of file system, replacing MobileMe's iDisk with a new Documents and Data feature that secures an app's files and data from access by malware while making the user's files (and any changes) easier to manage across various devices.

Future versions of Mac OS X will likely continue along the same path, focusing upon self contained apps that create files, rather than a wide open file system (and the security issues related with having any piece of user-level software capable of accessing or wiping out any files in the local user folder).

Apple has demonstrated a mechanism for Mac OS X and iCloud that will allow apps to access other files, but only with the explicit permission of the user, adding a new level of per-app security that goes beyond the last decade's user-level security permissions.
post #2 of 154
I love the title.

Not depart from Windows 7, depart from OS X.

I love the contrast in simplicity between iWork and Office.

Oh, and CultOfMac mentioned that the buttons on the new Windows Explorer, according to Microsoft's own research, will be used by less than 50% of users. And they're still putting them on there.

Originally posted by Marvin

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Originally posted by Marvin

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post #3 of 154
Microsoft took the "get out of user's way" approach. Then they turned it inside out, and tadaaaa (yes, like the old Win 3.1 login sound with the trumpet)
post #4 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Oh, and CultOfMac mentioned that the buttons on the new Windows Explorer, according to Microsoft's own research, will be used by less than 50% of users. And they're still putting them on there.

Research on Windows 7 button usage contains no information about buttons they've added in Windows 8?

Shocking!
post #5 of 154
god! it all looks like share point. quite possibly the worst interface EVER!
...but i guess that's okay. i don't use windoze--on any regular basis enough to matter.
post #6 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaim2 View Post

Research on Windows 7 button usage contains no information about buttons they've added in Windows 8?

Shocking!

So what makes you think it's Windows 7 research?

Originally posted by Marvin

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Originally posted by Marvin

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post #7 of 154
i havent read this article yet...just wanted to post a nice feature in lion. If you wanna launch apps in fullscreen and not use launchpad...move the mouse to the bottom of the screen, pause, and move it down again. BAM...up comes the dock.


also, im reading MS's article on this and they make a few mistakes. They say that vertical realestate is really important in modern computers yet they add a huge ribbon interface. prbably optomised for touch. They also note that the majority of people right click, some people use hotkeys and few people use the menubar of an app and yet theyre making that take up half the screen? very strange way theyre developing.
post #8 of 154
They're getting even closer to Windows RG:


http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/winrg


It's amazing how Microsoft can take something really bad and make it worse.

the rev
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the rev
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post #9 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

So what makes you think it's Windows 7 research?

Because they say they're using Windows log data from millions of customers in the blog post.
post #10 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaim2 View Post

Because they say they're using Windows log data from millions of customers in the blog post.

Oh, okay.

That's pretty stupid, isn't it? Windows 8 is in the hands of people who matter; why wouldn't they just track their usage of the interface they've pushed out to see just how terrible it is?

Originally posted by Marvin

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Originally posted by Marvin

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post #11 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by derev View Post

They're getting even closer to Windows RG:


http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/winrg


It's amazing how Microsoft can take something really bad and make it worse.


Wow... Awesome!!! LOL
post #12 of 154
This has got to be the funniest headline, ever.
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post #13 of 154
While I have few usability issues with ribbon, such as header text offering little clarity yet occupying precious space, if properly applied, ribbon can be (1) an effective way to discover new features that users may otherwise not be exposed to and (2) provide context sensitive options that are relevant to selected items at hand.

Unfortunately, Windows 8 is an example of ribbon abuse.


  • The whole "clipboard" section is unnecessary and adds to confusion. Although clipboard can be used to copy, delete, and move files and directories, using clipboard for file management is ambiguous and made redundant with "organization" section that immediately follows.
  • What's the difference between "open" and "edit"?
  • "Select" section is also after thought. If they care about usability, learn from how email clients handle selection and put checkbox next to each file and directory.

Ultimately, Explorer/Finder are supposed to do just one of two functions: (1) helping users organize and (2) helping users find stuff. Apple is moving towards the direction of nixing Finder altogether (on iOS, you don't worry about organizing files... it just works). But Microsoft is choosing to stay in the past.
post #14 of 154
...leaving a blazing pair of skid marks ending at a telephone pole.

That's just god-awful.
Snarky Mac commentary, occasionally using bad words.
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Snarky Mac commentary, occasionally using bad words.
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post #15 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMacadvocate View Post

...leaving a blazing pair of skid marks ending at a telephone pole.

That's just god-awful.

Hey, you're making it sound like a good thing.



What could be more awesome than a time-traveling DeLorean?

This is what Windows 8 is like:

Originally posted by Marvin

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Originally posted by Marvin

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post #16 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I love the title.

Not depart from Windows 7, depart from OS X.

I love the contrast in simplicity between iWork and Office.

Oh, and CultOfMac mentioned that the buttons on the new Windows Explorer, according to Microsoft's own research, will be used by less than 50% of users. And they're still putting them on there.

I just enjoy the comparison between XP and Lion. Not really very fair
post #17 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by acslater017 View Post

I just enjoy the comparison between XP and Lion. Not really very fair

You're right. XP should be compared to something from its time period.

Mac OS 10.0 beta.

Originally posted by Marvin

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Originally posted by Marvin

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post #18 of 154
Well done Microsoft. You've managed to take the cluttered Aero interface and somehow make it even MORE cluttered.

Are Microsoft's UI designers asleep or just stupid?

... at night.

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... at night.

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post #19 of 154
The whole "Building Windows 8" blog is great reading if you want to see a train wreck. I think we're looking at another Vista. I have no idea why they're adding so much complexity to Explorer. It's starting to look like KDE's Konquerer.

That said, the Finder sucks too. Does anyone actually use any of those hideous looking mini-Cover Flow Arrange By views? Does anyone like them?
post #20 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by poke View Post

That said, the Finder sucks too. Does anyone actually use any of those hideous looking mini-Cover Flow Arrange By views? Does anyone like them?

That's the absolute stupidest thing about Lion. I CAN'T FREAKING SORT MY STUFF (other than alphabetically, which is how I have it by default, anyway) IF I WANTED TO. I CAN'T SEE ANY OF IT. I DON'T WANT TO SEE FIVE AT A TIME, I WANT TO SEE A WALL OF ICONS.

The rest is fine, though.

Originally posted by Marvin

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Originally posted by Marvin

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post #21 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by pooman625 View Post

They say that vertical realestate is really important in modern computers yet they add a huge ribbon interface. prbably optomised for touch.

How? Does it come with a pencil sharpener for your fingers? What has that confused, icon-bloated window got to do with touch?

As predicted, Windows 8 only pays lipservice to touch with an HTML 5 widget layer. I guess they get to tick two spec boxes though.

McD
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post #22 of 154
Should we be taking this as Microsoft is evolving Windows 8 so it continues to be easy for enterprise and their IT people to manage and configure........and Apple is evolving their OSX to make it more user friendly and less complicated for the average consumer?

Why does Apple bashing and trolling make people feel so good?

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Why does Apple bashing and trolling make people feel so good?

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post #23 of 154
I am liking Windows 7 and hating Lion so far. Win 7 can zoom with Res. Independence while Lion has managed to ruin Expose, Dashboard and Spaces...all the biggest advances in the last half decade for OS X at least for my personal use. Although in general OS X is vastly superior to Windows for my purposes so I'll probably just stay with 10.6 until perhaps 10.8.

The ribbon in Win 8 though, that'll go over like a lead balloon. I'm surprised anyone has upgraded office. I bet they wouldn't have without .docx. I hate the Ribbon. I don't know anyone who does not hate it actually. It's almost as retarded as the "hoppping" tabs that Windows dialogue boxes have always had, that move positions on you.

Why are interfaces getting worse and uglier!? From iCal and Lion to Windows 8. What happened to all the good interface people!?
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post #24 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by benanderson89 View Post

Well done Microsoft. You've managed to take the cluttered Aero interface and somehow make it even MORE cluttered.

Are Microsoft's UI designers asleep or just stupid?

At least for me, agree totally. Ribbon interface drives me nuts. Maybe that's their plan to drive the world crazy, create chaos.
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post #25 of 154
We got buttons. We got a lot of buttons. Buttons Buttons!!
Did ya see how many buttons we crammed onto that window.
Everywhere we got buttons.
Buttons all over the place.
F*cking Buttons on top of one another
Buttons F*cking everywhere...
Holy Sh*t we got buttons....

best buttons around. plus we keep moving them around.
Even better - moving buttons. We are now known as the button movers.
We specialize in button movement.

We are the kings of buttons...
post #26 of 154
No one can accuse them of copying Apple there. Yikes!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquatic View Post

...Lion has managed to ruin Expose, Dashboard and Spaces...all the biggest advances in the last half decade for OS X at least for my personal use.

So you don't like Mission Control which I think is brilliant. You still have Exposé windowing. What you don't have are big windows for Spaces, instead you have them neatly at the top in a row. And what's this about Dashboard? Mine is exactly how it was before, I even access it from the same Hot Corner as before.
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post #27 of 154
Wow ribbon is totally not needed in finder. Its a pro feature that works super well in office to make you super produxtive, but in finder it just takes up space. Its like using your web browser with developer mode open to siply find the nearest starbucks.

I think there will be a button to hide the ribbon, or have it be turned off by default.

File manager should feel like a folder, not like an app.
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post #28 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I love the title.

Not depart from Windows 7, depart from OS X.

I love the contrast in simplicity between iWork and Office.

Oh, and CultOfMac mentioned that the buttons on the new Windows Explorer, according to Microsoft's own research, will be used by less than 50% of users. And they're still putting them on there.

Then, you should check contrast in simplicity between iWork and NotePad. Amazing stuff

On a more serious note... To my knowledge, one will be able to minimise ribbon in Explorer and all the current keyboard shortcuts and right-key menu options will be available as well... so basically, everyone will be able to use it to one's liking.
post #29 of 154
So cluttered!
post #30 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beeman60 View Post

We got buttons. We got a lot of buttons. Buttons Buttons!!
Did ya see how many buttons we crammed onto that window.
Everywhere we got buttons.
Buttons all over the place.
F*cking Buttons on top of one another
Buttons F*cking everywhere...
Holy Sh*t we got buttons....

best buttons around. plus we keep moving them around.
Even better - moving buttons. We are now known as the button movers.
We specialize in button movement.

We are the kings of buttons...

You sir, are awesome!
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post #31 of 154
Understandable for Windows to go to that direction considering their target audience or more like their core users: old dinosaurs who can't go past without big obtrusive icons and clear-cut direction of what to do with it -- this icon do this, this one do that etc.
post #32 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

So what makes you think it's Windows 7 research?

Because... it is pretty hard to research on Windows 8 usage at this point of time?
post #33 of 154
I am a long term Windows user. I really lost something when these ribbons were implemented in Office, and not looking forward to Windows 8.

When they say " The commands that make up 84% of what customers" Why can't it remember what I want to do (it's repeated over and over). Get that up front, leave the 'remembering' where for everything else...

Come on boys, time to get it right.
post #34 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by poke View Post

The whole "Building Windows 8" blog is great reading if you want to see a train wreck. I think we're looking at another Vista. I have no idea why they're adding so much complexity to Explorer. It's starting to look like KDE's Konquerer.

That said, the Finder sucks too. Does anyone actually use any of those hideous looking mini-Cover Flow Arrange By views? Does anyone like them?

They are not adding, only exposing. Much as I can see, all of those features are already available in Windows 7 Explorer, from right-click menu or "Organize" menu. So people who don't like right-click (Apple converts? ) or menus will have everything on screen. Those who don't like clutter can use handy-dandy little arrow next to Help button to minimize ribbon.

There is not much doubt existing users will do it traditional way, through shortcuts or right-click... but I think it makes sense for new users. Time will tell.
post #35 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by poke View Post

The whole "Building Windows 8" blog is great reading if you want to see a train wreck. I think we're looking at another Vista. I have no idea why they're adding so much complexity to Explorer. It's starting to look like KDE's Konquerer.

That said, the Finder sucks too. Does anyone actually use any of those hideous looking mini-Cover Flow Arrange By views? Does anyone like them?

All I will say is "lots of images" with regards to the cover flow views.

... at night.

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... at night.

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post #36 of 154
The ribbon looks so ugly on windows but somehow I actually kind of like it on the Mac. but I wouldnt want it in the finder.

My favorite "pro user" finder mod is TotalFinder.
post #37 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beeman60 View Post

We got buttons. We got a lot of buttons. Buttons Buttons!!
Did ya see how many buttons we crammed onto that window.
Everywhere we got buttons.
Buttons all over the place.
F*cking Buttons on top of one another
Buttons F*cking everywhere...
Holy Sh*t we got buttons....

best buttons around. plus we keep moving them around.
Even better - moving buttons. We are now known as the button movers.
We specialize in button movement.

We are the kings of buttons...

That was HILARIOUS! Made me laugh so hard I cried. Couple a beers didn't hurt either
post #38 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

to present a limited number of default toolbar buttons. along with a strip of contextual controls

Apple's iCloud similarly reduces the exposure of file system

Latest DED typos - period in the middle of a sentence, and should say the file system.
post #39 of 154
More Microsoft focus groups. That ribbon is a clusterfu*k. Look at how much space is wasted and how displeasing to the eye it is.

The effort to consolidate all the user functions has actually had a negative effect. They eliminated the menu bar because most people didn't use it. Now they have text AND icons that take up 3x more vertical space on the screen than Windows XP.
post #40 of 154
OMG I spit out my diet coke! Cheers!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beeman60 View Post

We got buttons. We got a lot of buttons. Buttons Buttons!!
Did ya see how many buttons we crammed onto that window.
Everywhere we got buttons.
Buttons all over the place.
F*cking Buttons on top of one another
Buttons F*cking everywhere...
Holy Sh*t we got buttons....

best buttons around. plus we keep moving them around.
Even better - moving buttons. We are now known as the button movers.
We specialize in button movement.

We are the kings of buttons...
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