Teens react to Windows 95

Teens react to Windows 95

Earlier this week a video was released that contains teens in 2016 reacting to Windows 95. The experience of interacting with computers has improved tremendously in the past years and we’ve come a long way since the days of 1995. As someone who grew up through these changes, it’s been great to see how the industry has put a lot more emphasis in making sure that users get tools that are intuitive, useful, and pleasant to look and interact with.

While I believe that most of the comments in the video are slightly exaggerated, it’s still interesting to hear the kids’ reactions to the home screen:

“Everything looks so dull and aged”

“It looks almost exactly the same as like the Windows operating systems of nowadays, but they are just not as refined”

Win95_kid3

“It seems more rough, the edges are more sharp. It’s a little more impersonal”

“It’s very blank, I feel that there’s really nothing going on, just Internet Explorer and Inbox and all this other stuff… like the basic stuff”

 

They hit some key components of current operating systems, such as refined and delightful experiences, appealing visual interfaces, personal connection through customization, and more.

 

When asking them to turn off the computer, after a few moments of figuring out how to do it, they go to the start menu and select “Shut down”. Seconds later, the screen displays a message “It’s now safe to turn off your computer”. All kids seem startled by this. Didn’t they just instruct the computer to shut down? With a worried and puzzled face, they try hitting the monitor’s power button and mention things like “do I have to physically turn it off?” or “that actually scares me a little“.

Win95_kid4.png

Part of a good UX is making sure that the words used (and their placement both within the layout and in the process flow) don’t create confusion in the users’ minds. “Why does it have to tell me that it’s safe to turn it off? Like, it wasn’t safe before? Something would happen if I tried to do it without that step? Would it blow up?

 

Here’s the video

 

I wonder how these same teens would react to an older Apple OS, considering that it also looks quite different than the current one.

Macintosh_System7

Image credits:
Windows 95
Windows 10
Mac OS 7

 

Let’s talk about design

Let’s talk about design

“I saw the potential of what we now have today, but it took a long time. Now standards have come so far and the technology has finally gotten to the point where nearly any creative vision, in terms of website and application GUI’s, can be realized without proprietary technologies. But beyond the graphical elements, the evolution of new ways to interact with systems is something that has changed dramatically, just in the last few years and will continue to expand at an astronomical rate. It’s one of the most exciting parts of being a designer for me.”

Over five years ago, in early March of 2010, I asked senior UX designer Mike Lane (@mlane) his thoughts on the evolution of the design of UI elements, compared to the 90s. This quote above was part of his response, and just a fragment of a long interview Mike kindly took time to participate in, via email.

Back then, I was recently graduated from university with a BS degree in Computer Science and a few months away from starting to work at Microsoft. The user experience (UX) world was still fairly new to me. Having a passion for design and the understanding of the user’s mind, I was determined to learn more about this discipline. As part of this journey, I turned to Twitter in search of resources shared by other designers, and Mike happened to be one great source of enlightening links and discussions.

Having an inquisitive mind, and the desire to go back to blogging with an interview, I decided to contact Mike and ask him a set of questions. These answers have been waiting to be shared for a long time. However, it’s great to read them now, and see that they are still relevant while offering some insight into the challenges and expectations of the UX community in 2010.

Now that I’ve chosen to create this design blog, I felt it was fair to start with snippets from this interview. I’ll be sharing more quotes in the upcoming posts with Mike’s thoughts on several topics, from the role of social media in the education of new generations of designers, issues when designing for mobile, whether it is more challenging to design from scratch or doing a redesign, what drives and inspires him, and more.

“There are so many things to consider now and so many different ways an end-user can interact with your product, whether it be via a computer-based browser, mobile device or something else entirely. Developing UI elements to accommodate and enhance these actions without placing limitations on your users can be overwhelming, but it’s the challenge I find the most engaging.”

Hopefully I’ll get the chance to interview Mike again, and see if some of these answers have changed in the past years. Stay tuned.

Thanks for reading!