After an initial play with the Microsoft Surface RT today it seems that Microsoft are breaking the Internet for many existing websites.
Not long ago I was tweeting how much I liked the look of the Windows 8 interface.
The rest might be pants (not tried it) but I still think Microsofts Live Tiles are a great UI. Far better than notifications on iOS
— Ben Frain (@benfrain) November 4, 2012
I wanted to like it. Really I did. However, having had a brief play with a Surface RT today I’m less than impressed. Within 5 mins, it was pointed out to me that web site image carousels are straight-up broken by default…
Here’s what happens: you’re viewing a website on the Surface RT with an image carousel (you know, Flex Slider or something of that nature), you place you finger on the screen and swipe to advance the carousel on an image and the whole screen disappears and moves you on to the next app! Like, hello? Did anyone actually try this before shipping? Come on MS, throw us a frikkin’ bone!
Now, maybe there is something obvious that the 4–6 of us that were looking at it missed but out of the box web folks, here’s the takeaway: websites with carousels no worky (like, thanks Microsoft).
Now, interestingly enough, Internet Explorer 10 introduces the concept of a pointer.
In itself, that makes a lot of sense and could simplify things in future but sadly, there’s quite a few sites out there already and as such, things will be a bit pants (technical term) on IE10 on Surface until they are updated (it’s damn annoying to have the screen skip on every time you try and interact with an image carousel on a website).
In the past, MS shipping a version of IE that broke things wouldn’t be such a surprise but the elephant in the Redmond offices, is arguably iPad shaped. I can’t help feeling that Microsoft should be doing everything possible to make EVERYTHING work better on the Surface RT than on the iPad (currently the gold standard for consumer touch interfaces). My initial verdict is they have failed.
Admittedly, it was a cursory play with the Surface RT and maybe (hopefully, probably) I missed something obvious.
In the meantime, on a more general note, I just can’t see the Surface being well received. The idea of a hybrid (touch and type) tablet is great. In practice, it just didn’t do it for me…
There’s a weird situation when faced with the Surface RT – do you touch or type? It seems to fall between two stalls and furthermore, behind the sheen of the Live Tiles UI, behind the scenes it’s the same Windows you have seen for the last 7 years plus. And that’s not the kind of old ‘friend’ I look forward to seeing.