Using Microsoft Windows: Harder than it may seem

    I consider myself to be a pretty smart guy. I know a good bit about computers, and that is why I write about them. I can provide insight to others. Pretty simple, right? Well, today I feel like a complete novice. Why? Well, I am writing this post on a Dell Studio laptop running Windows 7.

    I did the basics. I installed Safari, iTunes, and QuickTime on this computer. I did that thinking I could trick myself into thinking I was working on my computer. While some things feel nice and cozy (Like Top Sites and the iTunes Store), there are a lot of problems a Mac user will be tripped up by if he or she tries to use a Windows 7 machine to do work without doing metaphorical stretching.

    The first thing that really got my goat was the way that the user interacts with windows in regards to scrolling. In OS X, your scroll focus follows your cursor. Anything that your cursor hovers over is what you will be scrolling. In Windows 7, you can only scroll in the front-most window. This drives me absolutely bonkers. If I am switching back and forth between windows, I have to force Windows 7 to change focus just so I can scroll down. This is incredibly unintuitive.

    My other big problem with Windows 7 is the godawful Control Panel. When you’re trying to change settings on your computer, it spawns new windows left and right to go into specific areas like audio or gadgets. Your settings aren’t self contained. They are scatter shot everywhere, and Control Panel is basically just a list of links. This hodgepodge is really terrible to use.

    Okay, don’t let these gripes make you think I hate Windows. It functions well enough. It really just showcases why user interface should be designed by graphic designers, and not engineers. Functionality and intuitiveness go hand in hand.

    Have you been forced to use Windows 7? Maybe you use it volitionally. I’d love to hear about your experience as a Mac user. Comment on this post or hit me up on Twitter.

    Photo Credit: basykes

    Grant is a writer from Delaware. In his spare time, Grant maintains a personal blog, hosts The Weekly Roar, hosts Quadcast, and writes for video games.