In its current state, Windows 8 thrusts users into the unfamiliar Modern UI interface without much of an introduction. They're given a brief glimpse at the hot-corners feature during system setup, and that's about it—kind of a clumsy way to break with decades of familiarity.
Happily, Windows 8.1 may be a little less daunting for first-timers. The Verge reports that the latest Windows 8.1 beta features a new "Help + Tips" app that "includes a variety of video tutorials for navigating the OS, accessing files, basic actions, and settings." You can see the app in The Verge's screenshot gallery, and you can also catch a glimpse of it in WinBeta.org's walkthrough video, which I've taken the liberty of embedding below:
The video above goes over the tutorials very briefly, so it's hard to get a feel for them. However, I do like the way the Help + Tips app shows a little description and demo animation for each feature. Giving users detailed instructions on how to wrangle with the hot corners seems like something Windows 8 should have had from the beginning. Having tutorials in an actual app to which users can return if they feel uncertain should prove invaluable, as well.
A couple of decades ago, when graphical UIs were still breaking into the mainstream, I spent many hours going through the Guided Tour disk on my dad's Mac SE/30. As straightforward as early Mac software was, it was still comforting—and enlightening—to be shown around the interface. I expect Windows 8.1's Help + Tips app will get a lot of use, and perhaps not from just newbies.
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