Barely Legally

Confessions of a Moot Court Bailiff

Legacy As a Service

Lukas Mathis is a guy who knows how to put together software. He knows what makes a good user interface and what creates a lousy experience. He wrote a wonderful piece comparing Windows 8 (which he liked) and Windows 10 (which he calls “the most disappointing piece of software I’ve ever used”).

He takes a bit to get to the heart of his post. It begins with the reasons Windows has become what it’s become, as it slowly accumulates new features and refuses to excise outdated ones. It wants to be for a tablet, but it’s the same UI they’ve used since 1995. But then when Mathis gets going, he outlines his complaints very clearly and understandably.

See his site for the screenshots that illustrate his points.

The start screen is probably the worst offender. This is what it looked like in Windows 8. It’s simple, focused, looks good, and provides the features you want from an app launcher.

This is the start screen in Windows 10. This is the kind of designed-by-committee let’s-add-every-feature-we-can-think-of mess that made Windows terrible in the first place.

Instead of providing a clean, spatial, organizable, zoomable, user-configurable set of tiles, and a simple search field, Windows 10 adds everything. List of «places» you might want to access? Great idea! Automatically generated list of most used apps? Got you covered. List of recently added apps? Why not. Link to more apps? Sure. List of «Everyday apps»? Need that. Weird «Explore Windows» button? Let’s add it. Area for tiles? Why not. Power button? Weird star button? I’m sure we can find a place for that. Start button when you’re already in the start screen? Search field? List of running apps? Bunch of widgets? Current time? Eh, it’s already in the taskbar, so let’s throw that in, too!

Ouch.

I hope someone from Microsoft is reading this. Windows 8 was a solid tablet OS, but if Windows 10 is taking its user interface cues from Windows 95, there are some serious issues brewing.