Windows 8 Confuses And Baffles Elderly Dad

    March 12, 2012
    Zach Walton
    Comments are off for this post.

Windows 8 has been almost universally praised since the launch of the consumer preview. Numerous tech outlets have been praising its ease of use and the attractiveness of the Metro interface.

YouTube user lockergnome has proven that Windows 8 isn’t as fantastic as it’s cracked up to be. While the interface may come second nature to younger folks and those of us in the tech industry, it’s pretty daunting to the elderly who rely on computers more and more to keep in touch with their family.

The video below features a father using Windows 8 for the first time. The guy filming it says it’s prove a point and the point is proven wonderfully. The elderly man is constantly at a loss of how to use Windows 8 once he gets to the more traditional Windows explorer view from the Metro interface.

The lack of a start button seems to be the biggest complaint, but he is also at a loss as to how to even navigate the UI.

The video’s most telling point is at the end when the man, utterly confused by what he had just been put though, asks his son, “They tryin’ to drive me to Mac?”

While I want to defend Microsoft at any chance I can, I can’t defend them here. I know plenty of elderly people who use Windows as their primary operating system. If this is true for the majority of users, Windows 8 may be too confusing for them.

I don’t want to single out the elderly here either. Windows 8 is great for technophiles, but it seems to not be that user friendly for those not familiar with the operating system. There’s something to be said in regards to learning the UI, but part of Windows 8 appeal is that it’s instantly familiar and easy to use.

What do you think? Was this just a fluke? Or is this indicative of a larger problem for Windows 8? Let us know in the comments.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ilikemediagroup Brandon

    They come out with technology too fast. They can’t even do proper studies on previous software, when they just keep making new stuff and throwing it on the shelves. Not interested in win 8, tyvm.

  • Gary Roberts

    I’m 70 and it took a little time to adjust to Windows 8, but c’mon you couldn’t tell your dad all he had to was push the Windows key to move form Metro to the original desktop. It is not that difficult, but again a little coaching on your part would go a long ways. I admit the absence of the start button is a little confusing, but if you would have told him to point the cursor to the left lower corner and right click everything one needs to access the Windows system is right there. All one has to do is click on Windows explorer and all the drives are right there. But to be honest Microsoft should put the start button back on the original desktop, and that could happen with the final release.

  • http://trupressnet.com Rob

    I have come to this conclusion myself. I am running on a 22″ monitor desktop and the metro interface is fairly worthless. I can see using it on a laptop or tablet but not a desktop. MS needs to allow users the ability to turn it off. There is still a lot to be said for Win8, but Metro is not a desktop interface and the desktop isn’t quite dead yet.

  • Skeith

    Now do this with a Mac. I guarantee the same thing will happen.

  • Schnurrbart

    totally agree, windows 8 was not made for the PC. I tried it out, didn’t like it…but if I’d of installed it on my tablet, I would give it an 7 out of 10. Microsoft’s way of trying to keep up with android….to hell with PC users (the bread and butter of microsoft).

  • Paul46217

    Easy according to any hardware or software manufacturer is not normally all that intuitive to the end users. I fault the manufacturer for not making it empirically obvious what one has to do to move around in their “new and improved” software. Shame on them. Shame on all who justify such software as well. I do not need some technophile’s silliness to prove I do not know everything and neither do most people who need to be trained.

  • Michael McLaughlin

    Offer your feedback on Windows 8 using the free survey I’ve posted (lord knows microsoft could use it).


  • http://www.netnavi.tv Laurence Moroney

    Very telling.

    “Do I click on the fish?” says it all for me.

    While it might seem unfair not to have coached him, like others have said, I agree that this is the whole point.

    An easy-to-use operating system shouldn’t need ‘coaching’ to to the most basic things. He ends up dragging around looking for a hidden menu etc. He’s obviously a very smart, and very analytical man, yet he is at a loss for what to do, once he ends up in desktop mode.

    This is the best, real, argument I’ve seen for why design on Windows 8 should be user centric.

  • Monta

    I feel your pain. Got it for my mom a couple of months ago, thinking it would be so nice and simple. She can’t even get to the start screen– same as this dad. I have to drive 12 miles to her house just to help her get online. I don’t have Windows 8 myself, so I can’t remember how it works well enough to guide her through it over the phone.
    Of course she’s unhappy with me for switching out her computer for this one now, but the old one was so slow you couldn’t do a thing on it anymore…

    • xeon96

      try to use teamviewer 😉 you can connect and guide from anywhere