Tradition vs Transcendence - The Windows 8 Edition

Saturday, 11 May 2013

From a 2002 Microsoft research paper describing Pelle Ehn's 'tradition/transcendence' tradeoff originally introduced in 1993:

A new product may be useful to new users, but not to the current users who have developed skills and conventions around existing tools and practices. The researchers saw a product potential, but worker participants desired a less generally useful system that was more closely synchronized with existing practices.   

Familiarity and usability are competing forces in interface design. To facilitate a transition between the two, developers need to exercise patience. Microsoft are learning that. Unfortunately, and not at all surprisingly, that willingness to learn is being misconstrued as an admission of failure.