You’ve likely heard the news… and if you’ve been using 8.1 preview, there’s not really much “new” in that news. At any rate, Windows 8.1 has made it’s official release which – more than anything – is supposed to be “the big change” that ends Windows 8 hatred… yet I’m still face-palming.
Before we delve, I’m going to get a bit personal. I just recently passed what was the toughest course I’ve had in my entire college career: Macroeconomics. I note the tough-ness of this course because I study multiple programming languages, burn through those classes with ease yet this one actually gave me a run for my money. The professor of question was tough and his sense of fairness even tougher… but during a specific lecture he told me a profound story that revealed a LOT about human nature.
His story included a long series of trips he’d make to other countries that faced agricultural problems. As a farmer-grown boy, he had a lot of insight to offer that – if taken into tow – would increase the productivity and outcome of their harvest. He’d spend weeks upon months trying to instill them with this knowledge to optimize their work-effort-outcome, and do you know what they did? Dis-regarded it to return to “what they’re used to”.
Regardless of what people have been socially programmed to believe, Microsoft’s Windows 8 is an operating system that is not only faster and better at resource management, but it’s also WORLDS more efficient than Windows 7 or anything prior. I put quite a lot into understanding Windows 8… and have learned it so well that I really had no need for that desktop start button or it’s labyrinthine flood of menus/submenus. Why? The Start Screen environment of Windows 8 brought something that was faster and more efficient to use… and it made my productivity in both professional work and college soar while making my leisure fun and easy-access. But even better is that they solved a problem that’s plagued Windows since it made GUIs mainstream; user-friendliness… Windows 8 is the first version of Windows that I can easily teach my grandma and other non tech-savvy users how to understand.
With that being said, Microsoft made a miscalculation… human nature doesn’t typically opt for the optimal solution or the most efficient. The exceptional people definitely are willing to abandon their old ways when something more efficient surfaces… and you will see that those exceptional people were merrily praising Windows 8 long before “Windows Blue” was revealed as 8.1, and the same exceptional people refused to install Classic Shell to “Make Windows 8 like Windows 7” because there was no logical or rational reason to after learning how many steps Windows 8 takes out of any given process… but those exceptional people are a niche – and most people outside of that niche just want to see something that is familiar.
The truth is sad, but Microsoft has to be very aware and sensitive to the fact that human nature will favor familiarity over efficiency because they; as a business, are at the mercy of the consumer body. While Microsoft may like to carelessly pride themselves on their sales and profits, they have to be very careful about what catches fire in the grapevine. With that being said, those who were upset by Windows 8 may actually find themselves insulted by 8.1.
There’s a plethora of changes made in 8.1 ranging from menus to button placement and customization – but the most hard-hitting is easily the ability to bury the Start Screen environment and boot to the legacy desktop where users will now see that the start button has made it’s triumphant return. Once they click it; however, they’ll find that it’s just a toggle-switch for going back to the Start Screen. Now this can be changed a bit further so that its Applications that show instead of the Start Screen… but this isn’t the de-facto standard Start Menu that people are used to seeing… and as long as that is the case, Microsoft is proving that they don’t want the criticism to end.
Microsoft, I understand you… I get that you want to offer the more efficient, faster option to people. And as someone who understands Windows 8, I agree with that the Start Screen environment is superior even for mouse and keyboard users… and as you can discover on YouTube, everyone else who understands Windows 8 agrees as well. But if it’s not familiar enough for the change-resistors to recognize, you’ll continue to have a small niche of people paying attention to the facts that Windows 8 operates faster, more securely and with better resource management than Windows 7.