Above, a partial screenshot from the Microsoft blog Building Windows 8, showing purported improvements to Windows Explorer. Some computer users might find the above display appealing, in the manner of a well-stocked kitchen. I’m reminded though of my first reaction to Microsoft Office 2007: looking at screenshots made me decide that I wanted nothing to do with the new Word, and I soon switched to Macs at work and at home. Right now I can imagine a Windows user looking at the future of Windows Explorer and thinking about making the same switch.
The Office-style ribbon of the new Explorer seems a spectacularly counter-intuitive design choice: Microsoft’s data shows that users access 86.7% of commands in Explorer by means of context menus and keyboard shortcuts. In other words, users do almost everything with right-clicks and the keyboard. So why fill screen space with a ribbon? Here is the Building Windows 8 explanation:
With greater than 85% of command usage being invoked using a method other than the primary UI, there was clearly an opportunity to improve the Explorer user experience to make it more effective — more visible and uniformly accessible.The reasoning here isn’t persuasive. If you can make dinner with most of your kitchen tools in cabinets and drawers, there’s no need to set those tools out on the table before you begin making dinner.
A related post
Word 2007 (Word-processing and its discontents)