Meet Julian, a 3-year-old whose family has been running a preview of Windows 8 for the past month on their home computer. Despite relatively limited usage, Julian has no problem using the new Microsoft operating system — navigating to the Start screen from the traditional desktop, opening and closing applications, and more.
In other words, he’s the opposite of Chris Pirillo’s dad, Joe, who struggled so much with Windows 8 on a desktop that he famously asked if Microsoft was trying to drive him to use a Mac.
Julian’s dad, Adam Desrosiers, posted the video on YouTube as a response to people who are skeptical about the Windows 8 experience on traditional computers. (For the record, I’m one of those skeptics, and recent reports by the New York Times and the Associated Press highlight similar issues.)
“I read these tech pundits and journalists discussing how hard it’s gonna be for the general public to learn the new UI of Windows 8. Nonsense,” he writes in the YouTube description. “The long and short of it is: If my 3 years old son can learn Windows 8 through very moderate usage, anybody with half a brain can do so too.”
One thing I immediately noticed: You don’t actually see Julian working the mouse in the video. I was skeptical, as were many people in the YouTube comments, but Desrosiers notes in a follow-up edit: “I’m surprised by the amount of views. If I’d anticipated that I’d have definitely showed the boy moving the mouse. He’s great at it.”
Here’s the bigger issue: I don’t think this proves the point that Julian’s dad is trying to make. Yes, the experience is intuitive for a 3-year-old learning Windows for the first time, in the same way that a foreign language is easier for younger people to pick up. The real challenge will be for everyone else — adults who need to relearn how to interact with their PCs just to get basic stuff done.
Windows 8 launches Friday, so we’ll soon see if the world leans more Julian or Joe Pirillo.