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Pfeiffer Report Measures How Much Worse Windows Vista Is Than Both XP and Mac OS X

Published March 3rd, 2007
User Interface Friction Benchmarks: Windows Vista vs. XP and Mac OS X This is a fascinating analysis of what Pfeiffer refers to as "User Interface Friction" in Microsoft's new version of Windows. UIF basically is a measure of how quickly a user can accomplish a given set of tasks using a mouse in the operating system interface. Pfeiffer measured the same basic tasks in Vista, XP, and OS X, and validated the subjective impressions that Mac users have had regarding Windows all along: Its interface throws up significantly more "friction" as users attempt to complete tasks than Mac OS X does. What's really surprising--and obviously will not be welcome news to Microsoft--is that Vista actually degrades user productivity compared with Windows XP. It may be sexier looking, but Microsoft's interface designers still don't get what you need to do to optimize user productivity. Like many ignorant PC users, Microsoft seems to assume that the only difference between OS X and XP is "sexiness" or "eye candy." Absolutely not... Just because eye candy exists doesn't mean it has no purpose. The eye candy in Mac OS X is there for a reason, in most cases. Microsoft--and, hopefully, its users--will be frustrated to learn that merely adding eye candy to an interface does not make for a more productive computing experience. It's great to see data like these from Pfeiffer that validate one of those intangibles that you can never really explain to a Windows user about why Mac OS X is superior to Windows.
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