Updates from QA Training

Windows 8 and Metro: the ramblings of Paul Gregory

There is a lot of talk about Windows 8, the new Metro user interface. I think it is important to say right at the beginning you cannot make the changes Microsoft are looking at without breaking a few eggs. These changes are going to affect more people than maybe any other single change in the history of the world. Will people like it? ‘YES’ some will. Will people hate it? ‘YES’ some will. There will also be a majority that will sit in the middle because the OS is not important it is their applications they care about.


Paul Gregory | 13 March 2012

There is a lot of talk about Windows 8, the new Metro user interface. I think it is important to say right at the beginning you cannot make the changes Microsoft are looking at without breaking a few eggs. These changes are going to affect more people than maybe any other single change in the history of the world. Will people like it? ‘YES’ some will. Will people hate it? ‘YES’ some will. There will also be a majority that will sit in the middle because the OS is not important it is their applications they care about.

The loudest shouters on the Internet are talking about Metro and how it is designed for touch and not mouse and therefore makes it unusable on computers without a touch interface.  I find this view very interesting for several reasons:

  1. This view is either been produce from people that used the developer preview version (which was not user optimized)
  2. It has been tested by IT Pros and they do not use computers the same way as users
  3. The sheep are all back again and are just repeating what somebody else has said
  4. We have forgotten what users do

It seems people have forgotten the primary functions for operating systems and how standard users (who are the very significant majority) use and interact with said operating system.  For most users they need a platform that allows them to launch and use the applications.  Metro does this as well if not better than a standard Windows desktop.  When a user logs into an OS all they really want to do next is launch their application(s) to start working.  Under a traditional Windows desktop that means either multiple clicks to navigate a menu or two or searching for those tiny, boring, unanimated, non-configurable icons on the desktop.  With Windows 8 the 'Desktop' is clean bright and big so the user once signed in will just click the icon to launch the application(s) they require, much simpler.  In time extra value will become available as the users applications become Metro apps, the icons will start to become active and this then might change the order the user chooses to start their applications, because the icons can alert them to what needs to be looked at first.  This is an alternative to today as the user has to start each application in turn to work out what is needed to be done first.

Will the UI evolve, I am sure it will and new navigation features will be added.  For system administrators there is a learning curve but again the Consumer Preview version has moved the navigation on a long way and to be honest the key element with Windows 8 navigation for IT Pros will be search.  I have been telling people since the release of Windows 7 use search do not navigate, and Windows 8 will confirm that view even more.  But today for users the interface works really well and reduces what the user has to do for everyday operations with both touch and mouse.


QA Training | Paul Gregory

Paul Gregory

Head of Microsoft Infrastructure

A Microsoft Certified Trainer since 1995, Paul has worked both for and with some of the world's leading IT Services organisations – including Unisys, Dell and Microsoft during the Microsoft Windows (TAP) Technology Adoption Programme. Paul specializes in delivering training around the Windows Operating system as well infrastructure and management solutions around System Center going right back to SMS 1.0. Paul is a frequent visitor to Microsoft's Global Headquarters in Seattle to attend early product workshops and for many years has delivered training courses around the world on behalf of Microsoft. In addition to being actively involved in Microsoft's Windows TAP programme, Paul has recently delivered both Microsoft's Private Cloud 2012 readiness training to partners in the UK and was a member of the Microsoft global training team delivering Windows Server 2012 early adopter training. During recent years Microsoft has requested Paul to deliver System Center training at both Redmond and The South American head office to Microsoft Partners.
Talk to our learning experts

Talk to our team of learning experts

Every business has different learning needs. QA has over 30 years of experience in combining the highest quality training with the most comprehensive range of learning services, ensuring the very best fit for your organisation.

Get in touch with our learning experts to talk about how we can help.