1. Separate UI and Installation for touch vs. non touch devices
This will make life simpler. I have been looking to upgrade all my corporate laptops and desktops on Windows 8 and the response from the pilot that I did with few users, was not that great. The tile based UI is a killer in terms of real enterprise productivity. For the IT Pro team, installing Windows 8 is superfast but setting up the user id through AD requires a round turn approach. The team is wasting time in setting a Microsoft Login Account than setting user and accounts from the control panel to give it the enterprise feeling. Here are few simple tweaks that could help Microsoft win hearts of users from both enterprise and consumer world:
1. Allow Users to install Windows 8 for non-touch devices same as Windows 7
95% of the enterprise users will be using desktops/laptops which are not touch friendly. It is not wise to expect all the users to shift on a touch friendly hardware. In some cases it is just not feasible whereas in some cases it is not required.
Microsoft should provide option to install Windows 8 with the older look & feel to enable enterprise users to use Windows 8 in the same way as they are using Windows 7. This alternative allows organizations to maintain a low learning curve and use the existing hardware. Windows 8 has the core improvements that make the user experience a win-win situation for organizations.
2. Add Windows Tile User Interface as a feature
This will be a handy feature for those who want to use the tile interface. At present, from an enterprise user points of view there are some challenges that make it difficult to use the current interface:
- Desktop view doesn’t have start button
- Very difficult to find installed program.
- Flipping through tiles may be good for contacts/photos/video BUT it is painful to search programs.
- The notion of mouse click doesn’t gel well with the Tile theme. You need 3-4 clicks to get what you need as opposed to just 2 clicks when
3. Remove the Windows ID requirement during setup
Most of the machine setups are done by IT Pro and they won’t know the Hotmail/live/windows ID of the people. This may be a good option for consumer devices like tablets and phones but definitely not for PCs and laptop notebooks.
2. Provide Windows Media Player as an option during installation
When I got my machine with Windows8 recently, I found that Windows Media player was not installed. After so many searches, I found the link for Windows Media Feature Pack to install Windows Media Player in my notebook. This was really annoying and time consuming. As a consumer I would expect a media player installed with the OS and if Microsoft has obligation to provide Windows installation without media player, I would expect the installation to give me an option to choose if I want to install Windows media player. This may apply both for consumers and enterprise users.
While Windows 8 is making headlines for all good and bad reviews, I still believe this could be the disruptive force behind having a single OS on all your devices (Phone, Tablet, PC, and Notebook). However, Microsoft need to act quickly on the user experience and provide freedom of choice on what users wants to use. The age of forcing user behavior is over and we are living in an age of science where consumer behavior is driving enterprise products. I sincerely hope Microsoft will make some of these changes before they launch this to wider audience in Oct 2012.