Not long ago I embarked upon a quest to give up using the desktop as much as possible in favor of a Metro-focused PC experience. In this experiment I wanted to go at least a week using Metro for at least 75% of my daily computing tasks. So how did I do overall? I’m proud to say that I lasted a little over a week before I decided to end the experiment.
Overall I found that between online solutions like the online MS Office app and the use of the apps within Metro I was largely able to abstain from logging into the desktop except when I had articles or work that needed me to enter. It was an interesting experiment to see how well Metro could fit into my daily life.
I knew it wouldn’t be a perfect experiment thanks to the lack of apps, something that I’m sure will change after Windows 8 become a commercial product.
It wasn’t that hard to get used to using Metro for most tasks, but honestly I found that this article’s focus shouldn’t be on the week or so that I used Metro – what about the time since?
In the many days that have followed, has my Windows 8 Metro/Desktop ratio changed from the days before I forced myself to primarily use Metro? The answer to that question is actually no. Before the experiment I used Metro less than 25% of the time I was in Windows 8. Now I find myself going into Metro primarily because most of my desktop programs have shortcuts there, but in reality it is still only about 25%, maybe even less.
Metro has become nothing more than a fancy start menu replacement for me. Rarely do I use any Metro apps beyond the highly addictive game, Cut The Rope, and I’ve completely abandoned daily use of Internet Explorer.
So why didn’t Metro have a longer lasting effect on my computing habits? It boils down to this: Metro is a faster, more minimalistic experience than what you find on the desktop. For many users this is going to be a part of the appeal. For a power-user type though? Metro is pretty and as it gets more apps I’m certain I will see my use of Metro go up, by I’ve also decided I like the complexity, and control, that desktop brings to the equation.
No matter how many improvements come to Metro, such as high-quality apps, I am almost guaranteed to find myself drawn to the old-school environment that is Windows 8 desktop. So does this mean that Microsoft failed to create a product that is appealing for power-user (old-school) types and the more casual crowd? Not necessarily.
I really believe that Metro will appeal to casual users, once they become familiar with it. If Microsoft can give them reason to adjust to it like I did with my experiment, these types of users will likely find little reason to return to the complex desktop world.
As for power-users, the draw in Windows 8 isn’t Metro and probably never will be (at least not for the majority). Sure, some of us will use it on occasion but the real beauty I find in Windows 8 is the speed. Its faster and rather stable (though I’ve had some minor beta-related issues).
I’m also a very impatient man and the other day I had to use our Windows 7 desktop. Upon start-up I became annoyed at how long it was taking. This is because Windows 8 has me spoiled. On most start-ups, from complete shut-off, it takes only around 9-12 seconds… this is impressive no matter how you look at it.
So if Microsoft can market Windows 8 to power-user types as a “speedier experience than Windows 7” and market it as a “Easier to use, no-nonsense solution compared to Windows 7”- well than it can in fact appeal to a wide range of users despite its many changes when compared to traditional Windows.
What do you think? Will Microsoft be able to market Windows 8 effectively to show it has mass appeal to everyone, despite its new Metro UI? Share your thoughts below.