Why so many people are sticking to Windows 7 

Who upgraded to Windows 8 from Windows 7 and wished they hadn't bothered? If you put your hand up, you share the same point of view with 90 percent of the population of Microsoft customers. Unfortunately change isn't always a good thing and while I would never suggest the new operating system is as bad as Vista, which had a lot of odd functions and stability issues, there are still complications with the implementation of the entire thing. In short: the system isn't simple like Windows 7. 

UI designers often fail to take the millions of novice computer users into account when creating new software or designing new websites. Dragonfish Total Gaming Services, the independent B2B arm of 888 Holdings and developer of games on bubblebonusbingo.com, takes great care to create a product that transmits well no matter what platform customers are playing on, creating websites that can easily be navigated by a few clicks of a mouse or swipes of a finger. Microsoft, on the other hand, seems to forget that novice computer users still exist. What are the problems which have caused many to revert back to Windows 7? 

The desktop

People still using desktop computers can't boot their system's straight to the desktop. Instead the operating system forces you to start from the metro screen in the same way as a tablet. While that's fine for a touch screen device, it's far simpler for a desktop user to work from the desktop menu. Microsoft have made sure they can't do this though, which makes their experience on the computer time consuming and irritating. 


If you want to search for a program or file in Windows 7, you can scan the whole system with a quick query in the search bar which will bring up similar results to the word you searched. Microsoft has added an additional step in Windows 8 though. It searches your installed applications by default. Only afterwards can you click Settings or Files if you want to look for something else. 

Start menu

The Start menu is not as it was. Since its start in the 1990s the Start menu has been a handy tool for every user, and its uses grew and grew. The most sophisticated Start menu of the lot is on Windows 7, with more functions, short-cuts and accessibility than ever before. Microsoft have since removed the Start menu from Windows 8, and users can now only use a cut-down version called “Simplified Start”. 


The two interfaces of {Windows 8} don't gel well. It's like you're on two separate computers on the same piece of technology. For example, there are two versions of Internet Explorer, and when you create a Favourite in the Desktop version, it won't appear in the Metro version. It's sloppy planning. 

In conclusion, I think it is safe to say that Microsoft should have only released Windows 8 for tablets and any other mobile devices. It just doesn't work well on a desktop. At least with a tablet you can swipe your finger across and tap at the screen to get where you want. On a desktop you're still using a mouse and keyboard, so the whole endeavour just gets irritating and clunky. 


Facebook's left hand is shooting itself in the foot...

In a spate of recent "improvements" (panic in reaction to Google+ ?) Facebook has basically constructed itself a Winchester Mystery House.

For those unfamiliar with the property, it is a sprawling tangle of construction, that during the lifetime of its owner was in a continual state of unplanned extension


I love this quote from its Wikpedia entry:

The Queen Anne Style Victorian mansion is renowned for its size and utter lack of any master building plan.

I may be being a little unfair to Facebook. I'm sure that in a smoky dark room somewhere there is someone with a vision, even if it's simply to "copy everything twitter and Google Plus does".

The end result, however, is not good, not from a user experience point of view. Users have become frustrated over the years with Facebook's incremental meddling with the user interface and experience and lack of explanation of what it delivers/provides (e.g. security controls). The chaotic array of controls and lack-lustre attitude to user privacy has become the standing joke of Facebook.

Despite shuffling some of those controls around into marginally more cohesive buckets, it seems Facebook still hasn't really learnt any lessons. The latest barrage of changes are being thrust on users at a bewildering pace with absolutely no justification in the users' eyes. A few "tool tips" over new features by way of explanation and training and it's back slapping all round at Facebook for another Google+ feature ripped from cyberspace and planted haphazardly in the Facebook workflow.

Facebook is missing some core principles, the kind of principles that drive good user interface design, good user experience and aid technology adoption.

Firstly, it does not, or seems not to consult users. The latest swathe of features are most obviously a reaction to the innovation over at Google Plus and as such has probably been thrown together at Facebook in a blind panic. Users have not been asked whether they want or need these features and what seems distinctly lacking is any study or research into how they should be smoothly integrated into the whole user experience. The reality is, they are not. A typical facebook page is now an eye-watering explosion of streams, memes and unrelated themes. It's ghastly. Users are not bought into it, users are confused by it, the senses are cluttered by it: 3 basic errors in one fell swoop.

Secondly, the meta-model, mental-map, mental-model, metaphor (or whatever you want to call it) for the information structure it is a complete mystery to the average user. It was never that great to begin with, but at least with a model of "friends", "networks" and "lists" you had some idea where your information came and went. Facebook has been so busy bolting on copied concepts to this model, that it has lost all connection with reality and any hope of being understood by the average human being. I doubt even a paint-by-numbers visualisation of it permanently stuck to the wall would help much. 

The information model has been sticking-plastered time and time again, to now also include "subscriptions" (i.e. twitter-style following of anyone); classifcation of updates into pre-defined types ("important", "most", "life events"); classifcation of users ("friends", "acqaintances", "restricted") - nowhere have I seen a model of how all this inter-relates; and more importantly, a slick visual tool to control it.

Compare this with Google Plus - built from the ground up with a simple information model: Circles. You control who you publish to by modelling your contacts on a concept we are all familar with in the real world: different circles of friends and acquaintances.

In contrast, facebook has welded together both subscription control models (e.g. I follow you, and I only want to see your life event updates) with publishing control models (e.g. This is only intended for my family) and overlays all of that with its own filtering, ranking and sorting framework. Finally, it splatters it all over your web page. Consequently it's practically impossible to figure out who will see what and very hard and time consuming to get to grips with what all the various settings should be to suit your needs.   

This level of confusion and complexity raises the barriers for users: it increases their effort requirements, it lowers their understanding of benefit. Both these factors are key elements of recognised technology adoption models, serving to reduce the likelihood of adoption, or drive defection.

While Facebook thinks it may be defending itself from the challenge of Google Plus with the right hand, chances are the left hand is shooting itself in the foot.


How to view everything you've "liked" on Facebook...

So, Facebook is constantly updating it's interface, so as of 2013 the system has changed. Follow the instructions below.  

  1. Click / tap the little wheel icon in top right...
  2. Choose Privacy Settings
  3. In  "Who Can see my stuff" choose "use activity log"..
  4. Review what you've liked, and if necessary, unlike the posting.

The original article, for reference is below: 

You need to go to

Edit Profile [here's the first mistake, I don't want to edit anything, I want to view]
Activities and Interests
Show Other Pages

and you'll be presented with a tincy wee pop-up box with a massive scrolling list that you can't sort or can't search or can't filter.

What you'll also notice here in that entire chain of action, there is no mention of the word 'like'. I.e. the very action you took to create this list. How is the busy user meant to even begin to connect the two halves: creating their 'likes' and maintaining their 'likes'?

Really, I've rarely seen anything so ridiculous in a user interface - but of course, Facebook is the master of the unintelligible interface! And to make matters worse, it can't even stop meddling.

Seriously, Facebook, if you're hiring I'll come and sort it for you. You know what, I might even do it for free. We'll start with a few simple use cases and a little understanding of some users tasks, and we'll actually build the interface around what users actually want to do. Voila!