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Windows 8 Designer Offers Candid Explanation of Metro and Why Power Users Hate It

by Maximum PC | March 1, 2014March 1, 2014 6:00 am PDT


Metro is the antithesis for power users

To put it bluntly, “Metro is shit for power users.” Those are the words of Jacob Miller, a UI designer for Windows 8 who lunged into a Reddit bash fest of Windows 8 that began with a discussion of how many licenses have been sold to date. To be clear, Miller’s intent was not to pile on the Windows 8 hate, but to clarify why Metro exists. To do that, he wanted to start from common ground before going down the rabbit hole, hence his opening comment.

To sum it up, Miller said Metro exists as a content consumption space. It’s for casual users who are really only interested in doing things like updating their statuses on Facebook, viewing photos, and “maybe posting a selfie to Instagram.” He tossed out examples of your computer illiterate little sister and your mom who only wants to look up recipes.

“That is what Metro is. It is the antithesis of a power user,” Miller explains. “A power user is a content creator. They have multiple things open on multiple monitors — sometimes with multiple virtual machines with their own nested levels of complexity.”

Miller then explained how before Windows 8, casual users and content creators had to hare the same space, kind of like a one-size-fits-all tuxedo that isn’t tailored towards any specific group. As a result, many features were cut from previous versions of Windows.

“So why make Metro the default? And why was there no way to boot to desktop in Windows 8.0? The short answer is because casual users don’t go exploring,” Miller said. “If we made desktop the default as it has always been, and included a nice little Start menu that felt like home, the casual users would never have migrated to their land of milk and honey.”

The good news for power users is that the casual crowd now knows about their new home, so now Microsoft can “start tailoring.” Miller admits it will take some time for power users to see the benefits and that there’s a lot of work left to do, but over time, the desktop will become more advanced and have things added to it that Microsoft couldn’t add before, perhaps even multiple desktops like OSX and Linux have.

“Things will be faster, more advanced, and craftier than they have in the past — and that’s why Metro is good for power users,” Miller concludes.

Check out his full (and surprisingly candid) explanation, and then let us know in the comments section below if it affects how you view Metro. Also, kudos to Daily Tech for digging this up onReddit.

Image Credit: Flickr (Ceo1O17)

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