Windows 8 is Hard to use? What does that really mean?

How a Windows 8 user will react

How they want you to think a Windows 8 user will react

How they want you to think a Windows 8 user will react

This may be harsh, but it is something that has been annoying me lately. I've been seeing these stories about Windows 8 being too hard to figure out. Some stories say "It's complicated," "hard to navigate," or "jarring". While people can have their own opinions, I think that what is being overlooked by these statements is that these bloggers underestimate the intelligence of the average person. Or, maybe they are right, the average public is not smart enough to understand simple concepts.

For example this CNET article, references a study where 14 people tried using Windows 8. What is interesting about this is that the things they have problems with make me feel that intelligence levels are dropping. Maybe in order to get some headlines, they exaggerate the true usability problems.

For comparison, let's take the iPad. This is a device in which a new way of doing things was required. Back in 2010 when the iPad was released, to me, there were numerous usability differences between it and the PC everyone was used to.

For one, there was no file system and you had to use the iTunes program on a desktop computer to load files onto the iPad. This feature was a little tough to find at first, it was buried in the app section when you connected your device to the computer. So if one wanted to open a document, they would have to figure out how the hell to get it onto the iPad. After a few google searches I'm sure they got the answer, either use iTunes, email the file to yourself, or go set up DropBox. 

While I am aware the iPad is not a full computer like some of Windows 8 devices, this comparison was for the Windows 8 Tablets. But when you look at the desktop there really is only one change. The start menu is no longer a bunch of folders, it is a screen of apps. This screen, to me, is much more intuitive because instead of looking through folders for the apps you wanted to use, they are all on this start screen. And like the start menu just start typing and the app appears...magic.

I know there were also complaints about the new gestures and the way to access the start screen, but as you set up the computer there is a graphical description of how to do these few new things. It's really not that much to learn. After a couple of minutes people will get the hang of it.

It feels like these bloggers think the rest of the world is just a bunch of idiots, and they may be right. But that does not negate the fact that Windows 8 isn't hard, or isn't confusing. They pretty much spell it out as you wait for the computer to set up: Bottom left hand corner gives you the start screen, push your mouse to the right side of the screen, the charm menu pops out. Maybe the bloggers who say Windows 8 is hard to use just don't really have the capacity to comprehend simple concepts? I don't know.

As will all new things, you must sometimes learn new ways to use them. Nobody hates using the iPad because they had to relearn a few things. Look where it is now. Apple just announced they sold 100 million iPads and all those people had to adapt to a new device and new operating system. The same is going to happen with Windows 8. After a few minutes, everything is figured out and it starts becoming natural again.