Is Planet Earth ready for Windows 8? It appears not, according to some news reports.
There’s no doubt that Windows 8 was a bold move for Microsoft, but, as we predicted back at its launch last year, the big question was always going to be how long it would take for users to learn the new system.
It seems the answer was “too long”. Microsoft has confirmed that it is working on a Windows 8.1 release, codenamed Blue, to address “customer feedback” that they have collected.
We do not yet know the extent of the changes, but rumour suggests that the update is intended to address the problematic join between the new Windows 8 interface and the more familiar Windows desktop style. This is no surprise. When we asked typical users to try out Windows 8 last year, a major issue was the way that users were unexpectedly switched between the two radically different interface styles.
This can’t be seen as anything other than a major embarrassment for Microsoft, and provides a timely lesson to brands about good user experience design. We live in a highly-connected world where the impact of even the tiniest product flaw risks being greatly magnified via social media. Perceived problems in a product can gain an unstoppable momentum of negative publicity, with a direct impact on the brand reputation, and share price, of the world’s largest and most powerful corporations.
Many businesses continue to release new mobile apps, devices or websites that fail to meet customer expectations. User experience should be elevated to a strategic level by all businesses as a way of managing this risk.
User experience research and evaluation is the way to identify and address potential flaws as early and inexpensively as possible. It’s not just the sensible option for businesses who care about their customers, it’s an inextricable part of the design and development process and all businesses should be investing in it.
An effective UX strategy ensures businesses test their assumptions and correct significant mistakes before a high profile launch, and then continue to optimise the experience based on customer feedback.
View our original research here: ‘Is planet earth ready for Windows 8?’.
Author: John Waterworth