Windows 8: The Touchscreen Experience

For my son’s ninth birthday, we bought him a 11.6in touchscreen Windows 8 laptop, which gave me the opportunity to have a play with the touchscreen experience of Windows 8. And I am still not impressed, I believe Windows 8 to be a poor implementation of touchscreen computing.

I previously tested Windows 8 on my own laptop but reverted back to Windows 7 because I disliked the experience with a mouse and keyboard so much. I had hopes that a touchscreen device would make Windows 8 suddenly make sense, but I don’t believe it’s any better using a touchscreen.

The problem is that the gesturing used by the touchpad and the gesturing on the touchscreen are different and counter intuitive. For example to bring up the “charms bar”, with the touchpad, you motion towards the corners, with the touchscreen, you swipe in from the right side of the screen. The right click implementation is odd, instead of a long press like other touchscreen devices, it’s a medium press + pull down. Microsoft should’ve followed Apple & Androids direction for touchscreen.

I have also found other issues with Windows 8 like no native support for Shockwave and Java in the “Windows 8” version of Internet Explorer, to use either of these web technologies you have to switch to the desktop version of Internet Explorer, or use a third party browser like Firefox. Not to mention that’s it’s impossible to “touch” the corner from the desktop to bring up the start screen.

The more I use Windows 8, the more reasons I find to not use it. The only way I could use Windows 8 is to install Start Is Back and disable all the modern elements, effectively ditching the interface formerly known as Metro. The core of Windows 8 is really good, it’s the silly UI that ruins the whole operating system in my view and Microsoft are clearly not getting it judging by Windows 8.1. Microsoft have restored the Start button, but it just opens the start screen instead of a pop-up menu. Judging by the sales of Start is Back, the userbase wants a start menu, not a start screen!

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