My dad saw Windows Vista for the first time this weekend (as family was up for my wedding). To him, it was more than just a bit foreign. He wanted to show me how Lockergnome was showing up in his Web-based inbox – and yes, we’re quite aware of the formatting problems as of late (but I only have so much time, and so much expertise on hand).

Then he accidentally closed the browser window, and got confused. Not only was Vista new to him, but IE7 as well. I had to point out where the “forward” and “back” buttons were located. No, the big blue orbs aren’t as intuitive as Microsoft may lead you to believe. Have you done the Vista “father test” yet?

His first reaction to the entire (very limited) experience was negative. Too many things had changed without clear benefit to him. Sadly, I feel this is the biggest problem that Windows Vista faces in the coming months; there’s no clear reason to upgrade. Mind you, my dad still hasn’t set up the computer I sent him a few months ago – that (in and of itself) is a daunting task for him and millions of people. I’ve even considered shipping him my 24″ iMac just because I know all he has to do is plug ‘er in and go. His legacy software is what’s largely keeping him locked inside a Windows world.

And Vista doesn’t make him feel good. “Authentic, Energetic, Reflective, and Open” is Microsoft’s Aero ethos. The UI succeeds (somewhat) in these four places – but whatever happened to “Intuitive” and “Easy” and “Fun” and “Functional?” Nobody knows for sure, but these pilars are certainly not shipping in Windows Vista!

Maybe my dad might get used to Vista eventually – if he even gets around to upgrading his current system from Windows XP (which will likely be the next time I visit my parents back in Iowa). Let me put it to you this way: he wasn’t jumping up and down and insisting that he get a new PC with the new OS installed on it. Hardly. Vista? Eh.

[tags]vista, windows vista, aero, user experience, user interface[/tags]