Brad Wardell's site for talking about the customization of Windows.

Is Microsoft serious about its online media stores?

 

Movies & TV

Let’s say you want to buy an episode of Rick & Morty.  This is what you get if you use the Microsoft store:

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No previews. No star ratings.  Not even movies get a star rating.  The little “i” brings up a barely formatted tooltip. How did this even ship?

This is what the home page looks like:

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Music

Going over to music the situation is better.  You get a few highlights and you quickly get to the top sellers as a LIST.

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If you click on a song you can preview it. Better.

But what does it lack? Once again, no ratings and no popularity concept that lets you know that this particular song is the one that everyone’s referring to.

 

Games

In the games section you are treated with yet another UI. I want to emphasize that each of these screenshots represents going to a different tab in the same Store app. 

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So now they have picked games out for me. I suspect they picked the same games for you too.   So now they’ve discovered ratings which is a nice start.  So the games section of their store does seem to be decently made UI wise.  If you click on a game you get to see reviews, related items, and lots of other useful info.

 

Apps

Click on apps and you are treated to yet another layout.  Remember, this isn’t supposed to be some web page.  I am running their “store app”.  Imagine using the Android store or iOS store and having the layout and features drastically change like this.

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The selected app page is identical to the selected game page which is to say it’s pretty good.

You can definitely tell that the Apps and Games part of the store is more mature than the others.  That said, there’s no excuse for Microsoft allowing their user experience for the media content to be in this kind of shape in a shipping product.

Apple’s Turn

This isn’t to imply that Apple has it nailed either.  Their music, TV and movies app suffers similar layout inconsistencies.   But here’s the thing, they make it very easy to get to the top charts, they have ratings, they have samples.

Here’s what their TV show equivalent looks like:

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Compare that to:

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On the Windows store if you click on the little “i” you get something like this:

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No preview.  as basic as it gets.

Here’s what it looks like on iOS:

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You can watch a prevoew of it. It has an actual layout.  It’s just more polished in every way.

It’s baffling that Microsoft would invest so much in an area that they clearly have set themselves for failiure.  They have a great product with the Surface Pro and the upcoming Surface Phone could woo people away. Except, of course, who wants to migrate to this awful media ecosystem? 

For now, I’ll happily use my Surface Pro as my go-to mobile device but I don’t see myself buying any media for it.


Comments
on Jan 15, 2016

MS is doing the store in the same way they "designed"  Win 10: zero consistency in the UI.

on Jan 15, 2016

Yes, 10 is a nightmare.  Windows is steadily getting less predictable while aiming for people that shouldn't be allowed to turn on their computers with regards to the default security setup.

on Jan 15, 2016

It's rather sad that they seem to understand that Apple's "ecosystem" has been a huge source of profits, and put out such a feeble effort to actually better them. No understanding it...lack of coordination?

on Jan 15, 2016

Yea, not only is the UI is awful, but the apps themselves are pathetic.

e.g. I have a dashboard program that came with my printer. It has plenty of useful features. The Win10 app for my printer has little more than the "print" function.

And don't get me started about the available photo management apps...both MS's offering and 3rd party apps (Win10 native) can't even begin to compete with Picassa, which is no longer supported, and hasn't been updated in years.

So, no, MS isn't serious.

 

on Jan 15, 2016

2of3 is seriously thinking linux is going to be his main OS in the future

on Jan 15, 2016

The store experience could be a lot of better and I think it has improved a bit since Windows 8, but I've been using more Windows 10 apps since getting this Surface Pro 4.

 

on Jan 15, 2016


2of3 is seriously thinking linux is going to be his main OS in the future

Yeah, I think a lot of people are thinking that way... myself included.  I want an OS that is consistent, safe and easy to use, and both Ubuntu and Mint are that.

Moreover, I want an OS that does not phone home with who knows what information and have who knows what done with it.... eg: user specific ad targeting, having ads inserted into emails and various web pages.  That is not for me, I don't want advertising every which way I turn, and being that Win 10 has ads inserted in those gaudy looking tiles on the default Start Menu, it is way too much for me and a more simplistic OS is required.

Oh, and Brad, being that MS couldn't create a half decent UI if Satya Nadella's life depended on it, you should offer it your services to create something that's not only useful and intuitive but great to look at as well.

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