Take the 2-minute tour ×
User Experience Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for user experience researchers and experts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Everybody has their pet gripes about one or the other, but I'm curious if there is any actual science showing that "The Windows Way" or "The Mac Way" is significantly better for some task.

Just to be extra clear: I do not want to know what you think is better, or even what great designers think is better: I want links to and summaries of peer-reviewed scientific literature. I will also accept studies concluding "approach X is better than approach Y," where it is clear that Mac does X and Windows does Y, even if the study does not specifically mention either. Bonus points for studies that throw in Gnome, KDE, or other lesser-known (but real!) graphical user environments.

share|improve this question
1  
Personally I'm at a loss for where to start because there are lots of little differences, and it depends a lot on context (personal vs enterprise, for example). One thing that could help narrow the question would be to define certain topics and what the "Windows way" or "Mac way" is, and ask for research about that. For example, some topics could be "Window management" or "Connecting to a new wifi network". –  Jonathan Sep 12 '11 at 21:05
1  
I think a proper test would be difficult if not impossible to undertake. People are used to one or the other (or both) already so there'd be so much bias in the test results based on habit. –  DA01 Sep 13 '11 at 1:20
    
The tests would have to be done on toddlers who never touched a computer in their whole lives. Anyone over 5 years old will have become accustomed to one operating system and will have a biased loyalty towards that system because of familiarity. By the way, OS X sucks sweaty balls because it lacks many keyboard shortcuts (window maximize) for people who want to bypass Fitt's Law for mice and get their work done fast. Now you know which OS I'm loyal to. –  JoJo Sep 13 '11 at 4:50
1  
There are organisations out there who have produced various reports. Try googling 'Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Mac / PC' TCO will cover more than the user interface. And at least some of this research will have been done by commercial organisations - so it won't be free. –  PhillipW Sep 13 '11 at 10:49
1  
To quote Don Norman: "Academics are paid to be clever, not right". A peer-reviewed article doesn't make it a right article, just one that other academics thoughts was clever. –  JohnGB Sep 16 '11 at 12:27
show 2 more comments

1 Answer

I think your search will be a tough one. Academics don't typically conduct competitive analysis between two specific, competing brands. What they may research is different implementations of a UI concept or interaction pattern or feature, and in those studies you might find that the Mac or Windows way wins out. It's not that info isn't out there, but the lens you're looking through to find it doesn't line up with the way the research is done.

Beyond that, PhillipW's suggested search is a good lead that might bring you to some industry research, though it likely won't meet the peer-reviewed test you're looking for.

share|improve this answer
    
My suggestion (which has been deleted) was: Try googling 'Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Mac / PC' TCO will cover more than the user interface. And at least some of this research will have been done by commercial organisations - so it won't be free. –  PhillipW Sep 18 '11 at 19:15
    
Thanks for re-posting it (though I see it in the comments against the original question). I thought it was a good idea. –  Todd Sieling Sep 18 '11 at 20:10
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.