A switch too far

…I had to constantly switch between two completely different UIs, two completely different user experiences. I had to go through a mental context switch… — Taylor Martin, Pocketnow

Taylor Martin of Pocketnow describes the counter-intuitive user experience of Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3, which continues to split between applications designed for touch and those designed for mouse and keyboard.

It amazes me Microsoft perseveres with this approach, which flouts the principles of good interaction design and forces users to flip between mental models to access different aspects of the product. Unfortunately, Microsoft is in a difficult strategic position, with little prospect of change: there simply aren’t enough good apps designed for touch on Microsoft’s tablet devices, so it has to choose between offering a limited software catalogue or opening up the wider back catalogue of apps designed for the traditional Windows mouse and keyboard model.

This is where management needs to show leadership. Some users might tell you they want access to both, but there’s no excuse for having a compromised, flawed product in the market, especially one as strategically important to Microsoft as the Surface.

The rest of Taylor’s article is worth a read for insight into what happened when a power user tried to stick with the Surface for a week.

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