Chris Pirillo is a computer geek. His dad is not. As an experiment to see how an average, non-geeky user will react to Windows 8, Chris plopped his dad in front of the computer and let him try to figure it out by himself — which is how the vast majority of Windows users will learn this new OS.
Mr. Pirillo does just fine for the first few seconds. Then he gets stuck, and for the remainder of the video he cannot get unstuck. He can’t do a single thing. Microsoft clearly skipped the part of the design process where they actually test the UI on somebody besides coders and tech pundits.
The video is a bit slow for obvious reasons, but worth watching for Mr. Pirillo’s last question.
A quick prowl through the comments on Chris Pirillo’s blog revealed that his father’s experience is not unique. A sampling:
I’m very computer literate. I’ve been using computers nearly as long as I can remember (my first was an Osborne I running CP/M), I bought my first Mac in 1991, and have built homebrew PCs (in my misguided youth).
But when I installed the Windows 8 preview into Parallels to try it out, I had this _exact same experience_. I clicked a tile, got down to the “old style” desktop…and got stuck. I had no idea how to get out of it and back to the Metro tiles. It was aggravating, and eventually I gave up, closed down that Parallels virtual machine, and haven’t bothered to boot it up again since then.
This has nothing to do with Chris’s dad being old, or not tech savvy, or not getting any instruction from Chris. This is about horrible, obtuse, and confusing UI design.
I have been working in the technology industry for almost 20 years. I sit in front of computers 50+ hours a week. I am a Windows, Unix, Mac OS power user. I reverse engineer malware for a living. I hold certifications. I have written compilers from scratch. In short, I live and breath technology.
And my first experience with Windows 8 was shockingly similar to what was presented in this video.
But my absolute favorite:
You are a mean bitch of a son to do that to your dad.
What if this ends up on CNN or Fox?
All the viagra in the world won’t be able to pick him back up…
Actually I thought his dad was amazingly patient — and very typical of the average Windows user. Which is precisely why his final question should frighten Microsoft.