Wow! The Building Windows 8 blog is amazing. And the most recent post, Reflecting on your comments on the Start screen, in which they respond to a number of the comments about the new Start Page design is pretty much mind-blowing in its transparency and detail.
That a company with Microsoft’s history and with the negative perception that hangs over just about everything the company has done since their inception to fling the doors open on the entire design and development process for their flagship product borders on the insane.
But I love it.
Despite its size and technical detail (or maybe “because of”, I can’t decide) the post below was one of the most interesting things I’ve read in months. I mean, holy shit, there’s a goddamned comparison heat map of mouse travel time for a user to get to their favorite applications between Windows 7 and Windows 8. Who exposes that level of detailed research to their users (at times overtly hostile users at that)? There’s even a mathematical formula for Fitts’ Law (which I had never heard of) that I can’t imagine anyone cares about, but still it’s there and it made perfect sense to me to include it in the post.
Now granted, I work for a Microsoft Partner, and Microsoft technology has put food on the table and a roof over my family’s head for basically my entire working career, but in all that time I still often felt like I was working for the “bad guy.” Microsoft the unstoppable devil of the tech world that’s going to eat up all the little guys and squelch any and all innovation it can get its grubby mitts on.
But in the last two or three years, with a real ramp-up around the release of Windows Phone 7, my feelings have changed dramatically. Now I feel that Microsoft is doing more interesting and innovative work than the vast majority of the cookie-cutter startups in Silicon Value that Robert Scoble likes to blather on about. I’m pretty sure I’m going to puke the next time I see “breaking” news about the latest location-based, app-discovery, picture-sharing, social-network, wunderkind that’s managed to convince a gaggle of jack-ass VCs (who all just happened to have started the last, now defunct, version of the very same thing) to give them a few million dollars.
Give me a company that’s making fundamental changes to the most widely used operating system on the planet and doing it completely out in the open. That’s who I want to work with.