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Windows 10 and its User Experience

Windows 10 is here, and it’s supposedly ‘the last version of Windows’ to be made. That’s a bold statement from a company that hasn’t consistently released awesome, well accepted, and highly adopted operating systems. There are companies (and people) still using Microsoft XP, which was released in 2001. To say that this is the last version, Windows must be confident in the User Experience and their ability to adapt and refine it for the foreseeable future.

My Experience with Windows’ User Experience

As a User Experience Strategist at User Insight, when I think about “Windows” and “User Experience” over the course of my computer using years, taken separately they’re often contradictory terms, taken together they’ve been more of a roller coaster ride of delight, disappointment, complacency, improvement, and disaster. Having the benefit of a geeky dad, our house was always both a Mac (Apple, then later Mac) and PC home, so I’ve lived through, and used OS 3 – OS X as well as Windows 3.0 – Windows 10. The comparison over the years has ranged from similar to strikingly different. The Mac OS and its UX, pretty good overall. Windows and its UX, hit or miss at best (see XP vs. Vista, and Windows 7 vs. Windows 8).
Enter Windows 10. I recently had the opportunity to upgrade my wife’s laptop from Windows 7 (yep, wasn’t touching Win 8 on this machine) to Windows 10, and while I haven’t had the chance to dig around in Windows 10 much, if the upgrade experience is any indication, the Windows 10 User Experience may be the best to date.

Windows 10 Upgrade – Installation User Experience

Previous Windows upgrades have left much to be desired. Rather than bore/confuse/annoy you with the details of the installation process (who cares about registry settings?), it simply communicates with you about what’s happening. I specifically use the word “communicates”, because they’re more than your historical “status messages”; it actually seems like a person thought “what would I want to know as I’m waiting for this to happen?” and then answered the questions on the screen:
 Win10-This-won't-take-longWin10-Just-a-few-more-tweaks
Not too much, not too little; the Goldilocks of installation status messaging. Even when things hit a snag, the communication backs you off of the ledge:
Win10-Taking-longer-than-usual
Most importantly, they set the expectation, then actually deliver on what they promised. It was, indeed, ready soon after seeing this message. Overall, I say bravo to the Win 10 UX team on the installation process. I really hope that the same care and consideration can be found throughout the OS once it’s up and running. Time will tell. If this is really ‘the last version of Windows’ and they want to end on a high note, they’re off to a great start.