Jakob Nielsen: Windows 8 Usability Disappointing

Wow, I haven't read an article by Jakob Nielsen since my early days at Amazon, when he was one of the few usability gurus of any note. Some senior folks at Amazon held him in high regard so I often received links to his articles from them.

As more and more designers made their voices heard online and as user interface design became an exalted art form, one to which companies ascribed serious competitive advantage, I lost track of Nielsen. Many designers wrote harsh rebukes of his ideas, some legitimate, others seemingly out of glee in taking down the guy with the biggest name at the time.

I stopped reading his articles one day and just never started up again as happens with so many sites. He isn't linked or mentioned much among people I read and follow online, and in the attention economy, a lack of people distributing your ideas leaves you out beyond even the margins.

But a few people have linked to Nielsen's latest article about Windows 8 usability, and it makes some good points about Windows 8's usability shortcomings, one of which I noted before from my 30 minutes playing with a Surface. Nielsen points out some fundamental problems with the Metro interface style.

As a footnote, and to anticipate any arguments that he's a Mac zealot, Nielsen notes that he switched from Mac to using Windows years ago and is still using Windows 7.

I'll have to flip through a few of the articles he's written in the years I stopped following him, if for nothing else than for nostalgia's sake. Considering how much sites have evolved over the years, his site still looks exactly the same as I remember it, a fair representation of his design philosophy: usable if a bit plain or even ugly.