Windows 8 fails the 'dad test'

A couple of YouTube videos show 'normal' Windows users tackling Windows 8 for the first time. The results are sobering

Hats off to Lockergnome's Chris Pirillo for a brilliant post.

Pirillo taped his dad -- a moderately experienced Windows user like, oh, about a billion people worldwide -- as he tried Windows 8 Consumer Preview for the first time.

Looking at the Metro Start screen, he clicked a tile he recognized: Windows Explorer. Windows dutifully flipped over to the Legacy Desktop and displayed Windows Explorer. And then he was stuck. He tried and tried: "I'm trying to find out how to get back to all of those boxes."

Then he tried to run just any old program, but failed again, "There's no Start menu," he noted in a searing stroke of insight. "I'm looking for a hidden menu that will just come up." Four minutes into the video, Chris' dad delivers the coup de grace, "They're trying to drive me to the Mac?"

Emboldened by the Pirillo pere experience, YouTube uploader brigwy taped his dad's first experience with Windows 8 as well.

He's a longtime Windows user who "upgraded from Vista to XP." He found out that hitting the Esc key would clear the lock screen, then clicks the Metro tile for the Desktop. "I don't see any programs with this. How do I get to the Start menu?" It seems that searing insight is common among normal Windows users -- wish that it were so for telemetry programs.

"Well it's anything but intuitive, I'll tell you that. There's nothing intuitive about this," says dad. At seven minutes: "I give up. You guys win... I don't know what else you can do." At 13 minutes he says, "I'll stay with Windows XP. I'm too old and life is too short."

Granted, an experienced user armed with a touch-sensitive tablet would experiment in different ways, and probably discover more. But how many Windows 8 customers are going to start with a touch-sensitive tablet?

At the risk of belaboring the point, I can tell you firsthand that an 18-month-old can figure out the iPad interface in a few minutes and master most of it in an hour.

The ball's in your court, Redmond.

This story, "Windows 8 fails the 'dad test'," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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