The UX of Windows 10 (Part 1)

I’ve been using Windows 10 for a couple of months now. I have been a beta tester of every windows operating system since Windows 95. I am not an Apple Fanboy by any stretch. I have been a fan of Microsoft products include Office for decades. I think I can be fairly objective here.

In a nutshell, Windows 10 is an unfinished piece of shit operating system that is completely off base for the majority of its users.

I say this with all due respect. It’s a massive piece of software and the platform of choice for most businesses. It’s not easy to make it good. However, as a UX designer, my critique is pretty harsh. Here are some of my complaints:

Using Windows 10 on a Desktop
Like most people, I don’t use my computer at Starbucks. I use it at my desk at home and at my desk at work. I have a large monitor, a keyboard and mouse. Microsoft is making all kinds of decisions that look like they are optimizing for a tablet (finger) experience. Take this example of the uninstall a program interface.

Windows 7

Windows 10

Notice in Windows 10, I can’t skim the choices. The font is bigger and the information is stacked in a way that makes it annoying to look at. The scrollbar goes all the way to the top, so I can’t change sorting without scrolling to the top. No longer a one-click change, it is 2 to change the sort (after scrolling). Overall, this is a horrible screen designed for a tablet and NOT a desktop with a mouse.

Microsoft has to do a much better job of realizing that I am not on a tablet.

Graphic Design
Google is the reigning king of graphics right now with Material Design. Microsoft had a chance to take it to the next level with the operating system. Instead, what I have looks unfinished and lame.


Notice the complete inconsistent treatment of icons. It’s not too much to ask to have the windows explorer and the start menu match. Pick an icon collection and stick with it.

Disclaimer: My own house is not in order regarding icons, so I am being hypocritical, but it’s a mess nonetheless.

The dark charcoal color is also a bad idea. Why go dark? I think it’s just a mistake. Microsoft had a chance to at least MATCH material design if not improve upon it. This just looks worse to me. I know this topic is somewhat subjective, but I believe they didn’t get any WOW factor on the graphic design. Plus, the inconsistency is just objectively bad.

I hate when people say “Clean” and “Modern” to try and describe what they made. They are meaningless adjectives. What I see is a removal of functionality and a boring presentation. Take this sample screen regarding the background image.



From a design standpoint, I see many flaws. Notice how the background ON state (blue) goes to the edges, but the search boxes and the drop down boxes float with a border. I think mixing borders and flat design clashes.

But overall, the interface on the right does a terrible job of information architecture and space management. They have the picture and the fit taking up the whole space as equal choices with a massive preview. I hate the whole thing.

Confusing Functionality Architecture
You know they have two different control panels? You can actually uninstall a program from two different places. See picture below. They don’t look anything alike.



Microsoft, you have to decide on a graphic design and play it out 100%. Stop half-assing this. Pick ONE control panel and stick with it. Convert all of the functionality. Stop making me hunt around for what I need. I used to know where things were. Now it’s a mess.

I could keep going with critique:

  • Several programs stopped working
  • The cortana thing is confusing the shit out of me. I asked it to “Launch Microsoft Word”. It failed. It doesn’t really know how to do anything on a desktop. It’s designed for a phone.
  • I can never find what I am looking for in the search. Stop searching the web. I know how to Google things. Fuck off and default to searching local. If I want to search the web I will open a browser and go to Google.
  • The empty states are often completely empty
  • There is no personality anywhere that I can find
  • I don’t want any metro apps. Never, ever ever on my desktop. It’s not a tablet, stop acting like I want to touch my monitor.
  • Search is slow. I typed in “Word” (for Microsoft Word) and it never showed me the answer. I stopped counting after 60 seconds.
  • Multiple desktops is buried and I’m not sure why I would use it.

OK, I can’t go on. I am so angry with this operating system.

The core problem is that Microsoft thinks Mobile is more important than desktop and they are wrong. The vast majority of people in world using Windows 10 are sitting in a chair at a desk. I think they really screwed the pooch over this.

If I can take it, I’ll do a part 2. Grade so far: F

One reply on “The UX of Windows 10 (Part 1)”

I bought Molly a Dell XPS 18 Touch (It is a giant tablet that runs Windows and has a touch screen). Using that was the first time Windows 8 made any sense. Instead of using the keyboard, I started using the screen and the design was magically useful. Perhaps Microsoft is just a little ahead of its time. I can definitely image a office desktop with no keyboard, using voice interactions and the touchscreen. If that worked, it could actually lead to increased productivity. For me, it is all about productivity, and honestly the last several versions of Windows don’t make me any more productive. This is what I want that they currently don’t have, 1) A simple way to network computers that doesn’t crash, 2) functional desktop/network search, 3) plug and play for anything, 4) better global spell and grammar check, 5) optimization software that is top notch.

While I’m complaining about software, I use Adobe CS6 for a variety of things. I’m pretty good considering I never took a class and don’t know how to use 95% of the cool stuff. Anyway, I find myself switching between Illustrator, Acrobat, and Photoshop often (on the same project). It would be great if it was all one product and you could switch “skins” and bring up the options from the other program right there.

Whatya think?