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  1. #1
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    Microsoft Winning the War Against Visual Elegance - Why?

    Here's what I want to know:

    Why is Microsoft wining the war against visual elegance? Just as important, why did they start the war in the first place?

    They have reduced the interface to a flat, and visually boring place where menus shout at you and the color pallet has been dumbed down to something only barely above the CGA pallet we had back in the early 80s. Anyone remember the good old Color Graphics Adapter?

    Everyone seems to be falling in line, just like lemmings to a cliff. KingSoft Office now has a flat interface. Foxit Reader is now following Win8. And this morning I got an email from the Evernote folks with a "See What's New" link that took me to a page with a video which explained to me how hard at work the team had been on Evernote 5 for Windows. The spokeswoman stated they had given Evernote 5 "a really modern, flat design," and that "our goal was to minimize the distractions of the interface while really letting your content shine through."

    I'm sorry, my content will be what it will be, but I have to drive the interface to get to it where it will be. And I have to drive the interface across many different applications, so it's pretty much inescapable.

    Look at it this way. When you go on a tour by bus, you can take a School Bus or you can take a sleek, modern Tour Bus. Both will get you reliably to your destination, but would you prefer to get there in a vehicle that comes in only a primary yellow paint job, has no A/C, no bathrooms, and only straight-backed non-reclining bench seats? Or would you rather travel in the full luxurious opposite of these?

    I just don't get it! How is Microsoft winning this war against visual elegance?

    Oh - well - it takes a lot of processing power to draw all those visual elements and it slows down the whole machine, some would say. It used to be a good argument, but video hardware has far surpassed where we were when Vista/Win7 first came out that there is plenty of GPU to spare. I somehow doubt the dumbing down of the visual experience is yielding oodles of extra speed.

    Others would say it's because of Microsoft's bid to standardize the interface across all platforms. Last I looked, Android was the predominant smartphone platform. The iPad is pretty much synonymous with mobile/tablet computing. Windows8 Phone? Everyone I've heard who's tried it has gone back to either Android or iOS, whichever was their original penchant. I don't know, are the Windows8 Surface devices making any headway at all? I don't think I've ever heard a good word about them, and the only place I've ever seen one is at Best Buy or some other club store. Haven't seen a one at a local coffee shop.

    Why is Microsoft winning this war?

    Now that major software authors are re-designing their user experience around Win8, is it just a lost-battle? Even if Microsoft suddenly recants and Win9 gives us back a more 3D experience with a rich color pallet, what does that say for all the software authors blindly following the leader right now? They will have to redesign AGAIN?

    Or am I really just some sort of curmudgeon who refuses to take his head out of the sand and get with the program?

    Will we actually look back a decade from now and say, "Wow - look how stupid Windows 7 looked! All that 3D crap! All those colors, rounded corners, and mixed-case menus. Computing sure was ugly as sin back in those days!" Really? Is that where this is going?

    I know I'm not saying anything new; this has all been said before. But now it seems a relentless march to a flat, square, shouting, limited color world all at the hands of Microsoft who seemed not to hear the initial cries of disgust, much less give a crap. Is it fair to characterize this as all-encompassing as my last sentence did? After all, I used the word "world" not just "computing." Have you seen the advertising campaigns that seem eerily similar to the new Win8 motif? Campaigns that have absolutely nothing to do with computers, tablets, phones, or Windows itself? WOW. OMG. Really?

    Whatever.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    I think the only reason they are winning is because they are the 800 lb gorilla! Actually, not a laughing matter.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  3. #3
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    It's a bit of all you mentioned in addition to fat fingers and clean recognition/separation of touch borders. The one size fits all approach instead of a richer device aware/ask approach baffles me as well.
    Sent from Windows ME thru Opera 10.63...just before they crashe

  4. #4
    WS Lounge VIP access-mdb's Avatar
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    It's called fashion. Everyone wants to be called fashionable, so they all follow the fashionistas like lemmings. It's like cars - when someone brought out a car which looked like an 800lb gorilla had jumped on the back, instead of everyone saying 'how ugly, I wouldn't want to sit in the back', all the other car makers produced their own models like it. Indeed, car makers follow fashion indiscriminately. But on the other hand, even old farts like me (and you?) look at older models and think they're old fashioned (always in some indefinable way).

    And DJmot's example of the coach isn't really to compare a school bus with a modern coach, but an old coach with a modern coach. We might like to see an old coach, or travel on it for a small distance, we would definitely choose the new one for a tour.

    Which isn't saying all this is good however.

  5. #5
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Some of us actually enjoy the minimalistic approach. I do not like the gaudy colors that some desktops have. It's more difficult for my eyes to see what I'm looking at. Just saying!
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  6. #6
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    It would be nice to have options, though, wouldn't it?
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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  7. #7
    4 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbearren View Post
    It would be nice to have options, though, wouldn't it?
    Ahh, yes, a company that listens to its customers and gives them REAL options.

    Rich

  8. #8
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Hey Y'all,

    Now don't get me wrong I'm not defending MS but Options = Higher Support Costs. From a business perspective I understand that. I don't like it but I understand it.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbearren View Post
    It would be nice to have options, though, wouldn't it?
    Exactly, ironically, I mean REALLY ironically, I really like the flat, vanishing perspective oriented "Metro" start button Classic shell uses...and was told to stop using.
    Sent from Windows ME thru Opera 10.63...just before they crashe

  10. #10
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by F.U.N. downtown View Post
    Exactly, ironically, I mean REALLY ironically, I really like the flat, vanishing perspective oriented "Metro" start button Classic shell uses...and was told to stop using.
    StartIsBack allows changing the start button, and the flat, vanishing perspective oriented "Metro" start button is available for download independently.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

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