MICROSOFT VISTA
            A USABILITY PROBLEM?
                            Cate Huston




Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Popularity
                 More than 20 million copies in the first month

                       Double XP

             ...
You Can Still Buy XP
                 HP, July 2008: Majority of Business PCs come with a
                 Vista Business ...
I’m a Mac, and I’m a PC
                 Microsoft concerned about Mac comparisons from
                 2005
            ...
Usability Guidelines and
                          Implications
                 Learnability: How easy is it for users to...
Taking a Broader View of
                        Usability
                 Strong business case for usable software

    ...
Quality Components of
                      Usability: Learnability
                 Training
                       Lengt...
Quality Components of
                       Usability: Efficiency
                 Businesses invariably want to increase ...
Quality Components of
                      Usability: Memorability
                 Should not be a big issue, except for...
Quality Components of
                        Usability: Errors
                 Does the average user know what the OS do...
Quality Components of
                       Usability: Satisfaction


                 Little impact on business costs


...
Quality Components of
                        Usability: Utility
                 An OS does not do what users need, i.e. ...
Quality Components of
                      Usability: Implications
                 Usability problems compounded in this...
Ubiquity
                 A computer in every home?
                 January 2007: 65% of Americans spent more time with
 ...
Home Users
                 What is an “average user”?
                 Basic level of computer literacy
                 ...
Home Users: Problems
                 “Complex” things

                 Error messages

                 XP

            ...
Gamers
                 Games

                 Performance

                 Graphics Intensive

                       G...
Power Users
                 “A power user is a user of a personal computer who can use
                 advanced features...
Power Users: Problems
                 Personalized set-up

                 Time consuming

                       Applic...
Businesses
                 Many types of user
                 Wide range of computer-literacy levels
                 Br...
Costs
                 December 2006: half the average business PCs would not run the
                 lower end versions ...
Pricing and Competition
                 Amazon

                 Prices down by an average of 17.9%

                    ...
Improving the User
                                Experience
                 Windows 95

                       Iteratio...
Not Improving the User
                           Experience
                 Software Protection Platform

              ...
Security
                 Secure Development Life Cycle
                 Conflicting reports
                 Norman: “The ...
User Account Control
                 “And take User Account Control (UAC), please. No
                 seriously, please ...
User Account Control
                                   Issues
                 Designed to “annoy users”

               ...
Conclusions
                 Many improvements, including in usability
                 Poor consumability
               ...
Back to the Average User


                 Do we know who the average user is?
                 Does Microsoft?




Tuesd...
References


                 Full paper and reference list available at:
                 http://vista.kitty.letterboxes....
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Microsoft Vista: A Usability Problem

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Presentation I gave on a paper I wrote on Vista. Was the disappointment due to usability issues?

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Microsoft Vista: A Usability Problem

  1. 1. MICROSOFT VISTA A USABILITY PROBLEM? Cate Huston Tuesday, October 13, 2009
  2. 2. Popularity More than 20 million copies in the first month Double XP Really? Market Share Counting July 2007: Revenue predictions downgraded 85% to 78% Tuesday, October 13, 2009
  3. 3. You Can Still Buy XP HP, July 2008: Majority of Business PCs come with a Vista Business License ... and XP Pre-loaded Dell, October 2008: “Windows Vista® BONUS” ... also known as XP (and option to upgrade) Netbooks ... can’t run Vista Tuesday, October 13, 2009
  4. 4. I’m a Mac, and I’m a PC Microsoft concerned about Mac comparisons from 2005 Apple capitalized on this with their “I’m a Mac, and I’m a PC” ads Microsoft created some “bizarre” ads featuring Seinfeld and Bill Gates himself in response Widely derided in the blogsphere Tuesday, October 13, 2009
  5. 5. Usability Guidelines and Implications Learnability: How easy is it for users to accomplish basic tasks the first time they encounter the design? Efficiency: Once users have learned the design, how quickly can they perform tasks? Memorability: When users return to the design after a period of not using it, how easily can they reestablish proficiency? Errors: How many errors do users make, how severe are these errors, and how easily can they recover from the errors? Satisfaction: How pleasant is it to use the design? Utility, Neilsen: “It matters little that something is easy if it's not what you want. It's also no good if the system can hypothetically do what you want, but you can't make it happen because the user interface is too difficult” Tuesday, October 13, 2009
  6. 6. Taking a Broader View of Usability Strong business case for usable software What about usability to the people who install and maintain? Consumability: “a successful product should provide value quickly and painlessly after its acquisition” Installation Migration Training Testing Tuesday, October 13, 2009
  7. 7. Quality Components of Usability: Learnability Training Length of time Number of trainers Big effect on cost-effectiveness Deployment and Networking Tuesday, October 13, 2009
  8. 8. Quality Components of Usability: Efficiency Businesses invariably want to increase productivity OS is not task orientated; difficult to measure and quantify the effect on productivity Likely to vary dramatically, e.g. Search Repair and Diagnosis Set-up Importance depends on stability of network Cost Tuesday, October 13, 2009
  9. 9. Quality Components of Usability: Memorability Should not be a big issue, except for: Long period of leave, sabbatical or maternity If running two OSes in parallel Increasing or fluctuating networks Installation Infrequent but rapid expansions Tuesday, October 13, 2009
  10. 10. Quality Components of Usability: Errors Does the average user know what the OS does? Errors are likely to intimidate them Support for errors, help desk etc Business costs associated with this Could cause delays in time-sensitive or business-critical tasks Installation, Networking, User Errors Tuesday, October 13, 2009
  11. 11. Quality Components of Usability: Satisfaction Little impact on business costs Tuesday, October 13, 2009
  12. 12. Quality Components of Usability: Utility An OS does not do what users need, i.e. it has poor utility if: Bespoke / non-standard software does not work Peripherals do not work It runs so slowly that productivity is impacted. Can the vast majority of users can do everything they need to do? Running a dual system Tuesday, October 13, 2009
  13. 13. Quality Components of Usability: Implications Usability problems compounded in this broader context Peripheral Drivers Running a Dual System Distinguish between Business Usability and Cost effectiveness Usability problems have implications to cost Tuesday, October 13, 2009
  14. 14. Ubiquity A computer in every home? January 2007: 65% of Americans spent more time with their home computer than their spouse By 2011 every 7-19 year old in England will have access to broadband internet at home Broad spectrum of users Hard to categorize Tuesday, October 13, 2009
  15. 15. Home Users What is an “average user”? Basic level of computer literacy Read and send email, use the web, write papers Mostly used to access the internet Cloud computing Netbooks Tuesday, October 13, 2009
  16. 16. Home Users: Problems “Complex” things Error messages XP DRM Need a new computer to run Vista UK Times, 2006: “fewer than 5% of UK households would have a sufficiently powerful PC to run the full version of Ultimate” Alternatives Tuesday, October 13, 2009
  17. 17. Gamers Games Performance Graphics Intensive Graphics chip, video card, processor(s) Modding Sound and performance issues Alternatives: consoles Tuesday, October 13, 2009
  18. 18. Power Users “A power user is a user of a personal computer who can use advanced features of programs which are outside the expertise of "normal" users, yet is not capable of advanced, non application-oriented tasks like programming and may or may not be capable of system administration.” Chris Pirillo: 52 minutes Lots of software Specific needs and expectations Computer is “crucial” to work Tuesday, October 13, 2009
  19. 19. Power Users: Problems Personalized set-up Time consuming Applications and peripherals, not a programmer Pirillo: “I can't live in Vista if the software that I use in my life for productivity does not work” Feedback ignored, Pirillo: “Microsoft Windows completely abandoned its power users, period” 5 years of XP Alternatives Tuesday, October 13, 2009
  20. 20. Businesses Many types of user Wide range of computer-literacy levels Broad set of problems Problems compounded Bespoke or industry-specific applications The person who sets up the computer is not the person who uses it. Tuesday, October 13, 2009
  21. 21. Costs December 2006: half the average business PCs would not run the lower end versions of Vista 6% would run Vista premium RAM upgrades Continental: configured to look like XP Intel: “no compelling case for adopting Vista” IBM: move to Linux Some companies skipping Vista: not recommended Tuesday, October 13, 2009
  22. 22. Pricing and Competition Amazon Prices down by an average of 17.9% Business: cut in excess of 30% Speed up adoption after SP1 China: only 244 sold in the first two weeks Governments move to OS because of pricing India, France, Munich Tuesday, October 13, 2009
  23. 23. Improving the User Experience Windows 95 Iteration, rapid prototyping, user testing “There’s a lot to like” Security, power, performance, graphics, wireless networking, search... But... “Favoring security and IT controls over end user productivity” High system requirements, User Account Control, secure desktop, networking, start menu design, versions and prices, lack of originality Poor UI design, insufficiently thought through features and changes Tuesday, October 13, 2009
  24. 24. Not Improving the User Experience Software Protection Platform Unscrupulous resellers Server Outage Mojave Improve perception, rather than UE “Vista Capable” “$2,100 email machine” Development has not progressed with expectations Tuesday, October 13, 2009
  25. 25. Security Secure Development Life Cycle Conflicting reports Norman: “The more thorough the demands of security, the less secure the result” Compromises on security to improve usability Avoid annoying the user to the point they disable it. Tuesday, October 13, 2009
  26. 26. User Account Control “And take User Account Control (UAC), please. No seriously, please take it. And kill it. And stomp on its dead body. And then hang it on a flag pole as a warning to others” Response to real problems Toned down to reflect usability issues Similar to the Mac security password prompt Keep users safe, not punish Tuesday, October 13, 2009
  27. 27. User Account Control Issues Designed to “annoy users” UAC can prevent applications from running Is it usable? Positive review: twice a day Is it secure? Social engineering Invisibly secure Tuesday, October 13, 2009
  28. 28. Conclusions Many improvements, including in usability Poor consumability Poor perception spread virally Lack of momentum above standard resistance to change Competition and implications Recession Tuesday, October 13, 2009
  29. 29. Back to the Average User Do we know who the average user is? Does Microsoft? Tuesday, October 13, 2009
  30. 30. References Full paper and reference list available at: http://vista.kitty.letterboxes.org/ Tuesday, October 13, 2009

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