A century ago the typewriter was invented, and because of a mechanical problem, the makers of the typewriter designed the keyboard to be hard for people to learn and use. A few decades later, the Dvorak Keyboard was introduced. designed to be much easier to learn and use, and yet people were so used to the old “qwerty”, has never gone out of style, because people are used to it.
Windows 8 was an attempt by Microsoft to change the way PC users use their PC. According to them, touch screen, is the wave of the future, and everyone should embrace it. While touch screens are a great way to ACCESS content on a TABLET. Nothing can beat CREATING content on a PC like the keyboard and mouse, and everybody knows this! Windows 8 has been by every definition, a failure because of this truth.
In trying to get people back on board, Microsoft announced Windows 8.1, the answer to everyone’s complaints about Windows 8. “We are bringing back the Start Button!”, and everyone cheered. Guess what: All the start button does is bring up the ugly start screen everybody hates.
I found this review of Windows 8.1 helpful, except two points that are incorrect.
After spending several hours with devices running Windows 8.1, it remains unclear to me whether a touch-based environment is what traditional Windows users want to accomplish the productive tasks for which they’ve come to rely on Windows.
It is not unclear, I can already tell you. a touch based environment is NOT what traditional Windows users want. It’s a Dvorak Keyboard: might be easier, but we are used to what we are used to.
The issue is that there are over a billion personal computers that use some version of Windows as it existed until last October, when Microsoft unveiled Windows 8. All those PCs are responsive to mice and keyboards, not the touch screens and other input methods like voice and gestures that represent the future of computing. Making it easier to cross that bridge is one of the goals of Windows 8.1, a preview version of which Microsoft released Wednesday.
Voice and gesture do not represent the future of computing! They represent marketing gimmicks that everyone is already sick and tired of. I have an xbox with kinect, I have tried using gestures to negotiate a screen. It gets old fast. If it is going to take longer than a couple of clicks to negotiate a menu, I grab my controller and do it that way. The best known voice interface is “Siri” on the iPhone. It is mostly a joke. It is kind of cool, but does anyone really use it except maybe in the car? According to a recent study, you should not even use it in a car.
Voice, gestures and touch screens on PCs are only useful for gaming. For actual productivity, especially in a work environment, the keyboard and mouse is never going to change. One hundred years of “qwerty” proves it. We went from typewriter and paper to keyboard and screen fairly easy, because it was an easy transition and an improvement in how we do our work. Voice, gestures, and touch screens will never be used in the work environment, and Microsoft had better figure that out soon, or we will all be using OS X and Linux.