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A List of Problems with Metro, and Redesign Recommendations

    General discussion

  • Moderator note: Please visit the thread linked below to see the most up-to-date introduction and to see the most recent discussion for this topic.
    A List of Problems with Metro, and Redesign Recommendations - Part 2 
    (http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/windowsdeveloperpreviewgeneral/thread/a72da911-0355-4e85-b337-ab7605bdbe9c)

    As a response to Steven Sinofsky's request that I describe in detail the issues I have been having with Windows 8 in the appropriate forum, I have decided to say exactly what I think of Windows 8, and make a list of usability problems with the new UI that did not exist in the desktop.

    1. Closing programs

    A fundamental new part of the Metro UI design that Microsoft spoke about at the BUILD conference is the fact that Windows 8's new Metro-style applications cannot be closed. Rather than letting users close programs, Microsoft will only let users return to the Start Screen or switch to another Metro app. This means that other Metro apps stay open in the background, in a "suspended" state, but still taking up resources such as memory, and staying in the list of applications switched through swiping. This makes multitasking more difficult, as the only way to switch apps is to scroll through a list of programs I wanted to close hours ago. Users today expect to be able to close programs, and I wonder how Microsoft will justify this design when users ask to be able to close programs, as I have done.

    2. Touch First, Mouse Second

    Metro is a "touch-first" UI, as Microsoft has stated. However, despite the fact that Microsoft claims that the new UI works equally well with mice and keyboards, this has not been my experience. Metro is designed for touch, period. No amount of extra scrollbars, corner menus, or right-click UI's will change the fact that Metro was designed for touch and converted for mice and keyboards. Yes, it works, but it feels awkward compared to using the desktop UI. Many of you who read this will point out that I'm being subjective and that it may work fine for you, but it doesn't work for me, nor does it work for many other Windows 8 desktop users whose reviews I've read. Metro's big, uniform buttons and giant fonts with fullscreen-only applications seem out of place with a mouse, keyboard, and large monitor, all designed for computing that is precise, without effort. The Metro paradigm does not work well with these input methods and displays because it was not designed for them from the ground up. Some of you may point to articles like these (http://billwagner.cloudapp.net/Home/Item/Buildoneweeklater) as evidence of Metro's merits compared to the desktop, but this article and others like it are based on experience with the preview tablet. On desktops, it is Metro that "is clearly a compatibility play." It is Metro where "It’s not the same experience. The performance feels wrong. The crispness is missing. The ease of use is missing." The author of the post I linked to applied the quotes I used above to the desktop experience on a tablet, but I am applying them to the experience of Metro on the desktop. Metro is designed for touchscreen devices, not mice, and no amount of clever marketing will change this. Rather than being an upgrade for desktop users, Metro feels like a reversal in formula. Instead of a desktop UI on tablets, we now have a tablet UI on desktops. In my opinon, Microsoft is repeating the mistakes it made when developing Tablet PC's, except now they affect desktop users as well, with a UI that just wasn't designed for the hardware it runs on.

    Update: After testing the Metro UI again, I have concluded that Metro on the desktop is the exact opposite of what Microsoft wants it to be. Metro is supposed to be fast, fluid, and easy, but on desktop computers, Metro is slow, clunky, and difficult to figure out. Yes, I know what I'm doing, but everything in Metro requires huge mouse gestures and tons of clicks that are not needed on the desktop, as I explain below. While it is true that Metro is better for touch, the desktop is better for mice and keyboards, as most users who sit down in front of a Windows 8 PC will quickly discover. To me, I get the feeling that everything I do in Metro is something I can do faster in the desktop, at least, this is true when using Windows 8 with a real mouse and keyboard.

    3. Usability - Measured in Click Counts

    Looking at Windows 8 through classic usability studies, such as click counts and ease of discovery, Metro falls flat on its face in this regard. In my regular usage of Windows 8, many things required far more clicks in Metro than they did on the desktop. If you have any counter-arguments, let me give you an example of a typical task in Windows 8, a typical task performed in the Windows 8 desktop after switching from a Metro app, and a Metro-only experience.

    Case Study: Pausing a Song in Windows Media Player

    These are the steps used in pausing a song in Windows Media Player in Windows 7:

    1. Click on Windows Media Player in taskbar

    2. Press "pause" in Media Player

    These are the steps used in pausing a song in Windows Media Player in Windows 8 when switching from a Metro application:

    1. Click "Start" in Charms menu in left-hand corner

    2. Click "Desktop" on the Start Screen

    3. Click on Windows Media Player in the taskbar

    4. Pause Windows Media Player

    The number of clicks required has increased from two clicks to four. Now, let's see what would happen if Media Player were redesigned as a Metro app:

    1. Drag app in from the side

    2. Drag app in from the side

    3. Drag app in from the side

    4. Drag Windows Media Player in from the side

    5. Right-click in Media Player to bring up the UI

    6. Click on "pause" button

    To be clear, this has gone from two clicks in Windows 7 all the way to six clicks in Windows 8! Some of you may argue that since Windows is being reimagined, usability studies should also be reimagined, but mice, keyboards, and desktop computers will be fundamentally unchanged from those that ran Windows 7, so this usability study is probably more valid than any new usability test, since the increased number of clicks will be quickly noticed by users.

    4. Everything Hidden and "Chromeless" Programs

    One of the new features Microsoft is using to sell Windows 8 is the idea that the UI doesn't "get in the way." It is hidden away until you ask for it, leaving more room for your content. The problem?

    Most computers already have more than enough room to display UI and content.

    Microsoft thinks that people want to experience things like "chromeless browsing," where the entire UI is hidden until the user right-clicks on the app. While it is true that this allows for more space to display web pages, it makes no sense on a desktop. Imagine using this on a 24" monitor. It feels strange enough on only a 19" screen. It also requires many extra steps to access the UI, and only a few options are typically displayed on the top or the bottom of the screen. I run Internet Explorer 9 on my PC with all of the old Internet Explorer 7/8 toolbars turned on, so why would I suddenly want only chromeless browsing with only a few features? Would I really want to use Microsoft Word this way? Of course not.

    5. Multitasking Limitations

    Multitasking in Windows 8 in the default UI is the most limited it's been since the 1980's. Only two Metro apps can be run side-by-side, and their sizes are completely fixed and unchangeable. When most users use Windows, they have multiple windows arranged in whatever locations they want to, and display more than two windows at once. Metro's design works for basic use, but feels intentionally crippled and is not what I expect on a PC with a quad-core processor.

    6. Hiding Everything from the User in Obscure Locations

    This complaint is similar to Complaint #4, but it is not the same thing. Everything in the new UI is hidden, with bland, unclear buttons that say little about what something does. Why is "Shut Down" in an obscure "Settings" pane? Why is there no link between "Settings" and "Control Panel?" This post from Jensen Harris's blog about the Office 2007 UI is one of the most relevant posts I can find on the blog.

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/jensenh/archive/2005/10/11/479586.aspx

     

    As Harris states in the blog post, "most people are not trained in geology," or in other words, most users don't know where to look for hidden options. Microsoft may understand where all the new, hidden locations for files and other things are, but users don't. Metro is full of the kind of "click here for more" labels that Harris objects to in the blog post. In many ways, Metro is the anti-Office 2007. Office 2007 was about making using Office clearer, while still providing all of the same functionality that users expect. Metro on the desktop feels like it is about hiding everything away from the user, even though it isn't supposed to be. Whenever I use Metro, I always get the feeling that something is wrong. Everything takes more clicks than it did in Windows 7, or even Windows 8.

    7. What's the point?

    Even if Microsoft makes changes to the Metro UI to correct the problems I listed, there is still the point of asking why Metro on the desktop exists at all. Yes, it provides consistency between using Windows 8 on tablets and using Windows 8 on desktops, but for all the Mac users reading my post, would you enjoy navigating the iPad with the mouse and some extra scrollbars? Metro in Windows 8 seems to be designed for tablets only, with a few extras added in to make it work for desktops. Even if this is not the case, it feels like it is, and this is a major problem for Windows 8. When designing Windows 8, the developers should always be asking the question, "How would we design this if we didn't expect this to run on tablets?" Tablets and PC's are fundamentally different in many ways, and it makes sense to have two different operating systems, or at the very least two different user experiences, for each usage model.

    Recommendatins for Changing Windows 8 for Beta and RTM

    My post is not just a list of problems in Metro. I also want to recommend some changes to the software to make it work better for the average consumer.

    1. If nothing else, please let users close Metro apps. It's a natural feature that users expect to see, and Windows feels broken without it. A high number of PC's being returned to the store will not help an economy that is aready struggling.

    2. Make Metro Optional for Desktops and Laptops

    Metro is designed for touch, and as I said above, it just doesn't work right on desktops. Why replace a perfectly good user experience with one that is designed for touch and inferior on the desktop? Before Windows 8 is even finished installing, users should have the option to run Metro as an application launched from the Start menu that runs either full-screen or in a fixed-size window. This way, Windows 8 would still be compatible with new Metro apps, while giving users all the power and flexibility that they love, expect, and has been removed in Windows 8's Metro UI.

    3. Add a Metro Taskbar in the Metro UI

    When users are in the full-screen version of the Metro UI, there needs to be some kind of Metro taskbar used to switch programs quickly. Of course, if Metro were running in a window, all Metro apps would appear in the regular taskbar. Swipe and snap may work well with touch, but it feels out of place on a desktop. Why require more clicks and motions than were required in Windows 7?

    A Response to the Idea of Changing, Not Disabling, Metro

    Some of you may argue that it is better to change Metro than to let users disable it, and I disagree with this viewpoint. Metro is designed for touch from the ground up, so it makes no sense to keep changing it in order to make it work on the desktop. The desktop UI is here today, so it makes more sense to just disable Metro and run it in a window, rather than make changes to Metro that could potentially damage its usability with touch screens. Yes, some changes should be made, but I recommend only making a few small changes, such as adding a taskbar and letting users close programs, and then letting users use the desktop as the default UI.

    A Response to the Idea that "Windows 8 Still Includes the Desktop, so It Doesn't Matter if Metro Doesn't Work"

    True, Windows 8 still includes the desktop, but Microsoft primarily expects users to use it as a backward compatibility layer and do all of their real work in Metro. This will not work in the real world. The desktop, in its current implementation, feels like a broken version of what we are used to. The Start Menu is disabled, which means that accessing programs quickly is suddenly harder than it was before. Worse, the only way to add shortcuts to the desktop is by browing to the executable file or typing the path in the address bar, the first time this is true since Windows 95, and a major step backwards. Yes, Microsoft could bring the Start Menu back and leave Metro in its current state, but Windows 8 will eventually force me back to Metro, if only when I restart the computer, and this is a problem. True, Windows could "remember" that I was in the desktop the last time I used Windows and load it when I start up the PC, but at this point, it makes more sense to let users disable Metro before the first boot, considering the problems that this "session saving" could cause.

    An Example of What I Want Metro to Be

    On Steven Sinofsky's blog, he said this:  "And if you want to stay permanently immersed in that Metro world, you will never see the desktop—we won’t even load it (literally the code will not be loaded) unless you explicitly choose to go there! This is Windows reimagined."

    In my own opinion, this should be Windows 8 on the desktop:

     'And if you want to stay permanently immersed in that desktop world, you will never see Metro—we won’t even load it (literally the code will not be loaded) unless you explicitly choose to go there! This is Windows, made to work the way you want.'

    An Example of the Opinion of the Popular News

    This is what the popluar press thinks of Windows 8. Specifically, this article is from the American newspaper USA Today:

    http://www.usatoday.com/tech/columnist/kimkomando/story/2011-09-30/kim-komando-windows-8-review/50608818/1

    A Response to the Idea that People Want Metro, And Like It Better than the Desktop

    This is not necessarily true. Steven Sinofsky said on his blog that some people have reported that "it feels jarring" to go to the desktop, but I have had the exact opposite experience. To me, the most jarring part of Windows 8 is the part where Metro needs to be opened just to start a program. As for what people in general want, I can't say for sure, but I doubt that the general public's opinion will be that Metro is better than the desktop once they actually try to use it on a desktop. Despite the reviews of Windows 8 based on the developer tablet that claim the desktop is old and outdated, many reviewers who review Windows 8 on a laptop or desktop agree that the UI just isn't ready for prime time or as good as the desktop during regular usage. Most people either use Windows because it came with their computer or because they like it better than competing platforms. Usually, people who want a cell phone or tablet UI buy a cell phone or tablet, and people who want a desktop UI buy a desktop or laptop. While keeping the desktop as a compatibility option may make sense for tablets, the desktop is still the center of my Windows usage, even in Windows 8. For me, and for many other people who buy Windows for what it is and not for what it will be, booting up with Metro displayed by default has no advantages, and neither do Metro-style apps.

    Conclusion:

    In concluson, Windows 8 has its positive side, such as the redesigned Windows Explorer and new Windows Aero style, but Metro needs improvement. While the idea of clean, chromeless apps has a place on desktops, it does not belong in Windows as the primary UI. If anyone is offended or annoyed by my post, I intended no harm toward anyone. I only wanted to explain my opinion of Windows 8 in a careful, scientific way that explains what I think, why I think what I think, and my opinions of other suggestions I've seen online. I understand if you do not have time to read the whole post, but please do if you have the time. I'd like to end my post on a positive note, so congratulations to the Windows 8 team on the job you've done! Windows 8 looks like a promising OS, one that could be highly beneficial and important in the future of computing.






    Update 10/17/11

    I have more suggestions for Windows 8:

    Rather than placing the desktop and Metro UI in separate sections, the Start Screen should load overtop of a blurred, darkened desktop, with the Taskbar fully accessible. Of course, it would have to be improved with the ability to display links to folders, the regular Control Panel, etc., just like the Start Menu, as well as having the ability to use a list of the most frequently-used programs, just like the Start Menu. It would also need an All Programs menu to match the current All Programs menu in fuctionality. This would mean that the Start Search option would be restored. Also, universal drag-and-drop would need to be implemented, and the Start Screen should have links to Devices and Printers, buttons for turning off the computer, and other ideas that were not carried over from the Start Menu for the Developer Preview. This would eliminate the need for Charms (good riddance to those!). In short, the Start Screen could evovle to be a true replacement for the Start Menu, not an add-on. As for what is loaded when the PC is turned on, the Desktop would still be shown by default. Metro-style apps could be launched from the Start Screen and run in a window, and the ability to pin Live Tiles to the Desktop could also be a helpful feature, replacing Desktop Gadgets. In short, many of the ideas from the Developer Preview would be removed, and the ideas from Windows Vista and Windows 7 would return. Also, the ability to type a file path into the Start Search seems to be gone in Windows 8. This will need to make a return before Windows 8 can be as usable as Windows 7. Also, despite all of the changes I have suggested, it may be a good idea to give users the option of running Windows 8 "Tablet-Style," or in the format used in the Developer Preview.

    The suggestions I have listed above would essentially accomplish my goal of letting users disable Metro while retaining some of the few good ideas contained in the new design.

    Although some users have suggested redesigning the Desktop to fit in better with Metro, this is a bad idea, in my opinion. For desktop users, Metro-style UI needs to become more Aero-style, not the other way around. Aero was one of my biggest reasons for buying Windows Vista back in 2007, and I think that Flip 3D, which is strangely absent in Windows 8, needs to make a return. It is one of the best ways of regaining control of a PC that isn't working properly.

    Of course, all of the suggestions I have made would only apply to Windows 8 running on desktops and laptops. On tablets, Metro works fine in its current format.



    Update: 10/22/11

    How about an Aero-style Start Screen? Aero looks and works better than Metro for mouse users, so why not create an Aero-style Start Screen? Many people who think that the desktop looks "ugly and outdated" probably use it with Windows Classic style, which has roots back in the Windows 1.0 era. Aero, by contrast, is clean, beautiful, and modern, and is everything that Microsoft wants Metro to be. I would rather use an Aero-style app than a Metro-style one.


    Moderator note: WindowsVista567 has created a new thread to continue this discussion, which is linked below:
    http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/windowsdeveloperpreviewgeneral/thread/a72da911-0355-4e85-b337-ab7605bdbe9c
    Friday, September 30, 2011 8:12 PM

All replies

  • >Microsoft will only let users return to the Start Screen or switch to another Metro app.
     
    Just why would one want to scroll through all the running apps to get
    to the metro app they want -- I agree, that's not easy, but there's a
    far easier way to get back to an app in Metro than that, just go back
    to the start screen and click on the tile for the app you want again,
    and it'll open the current instance of it.
     
     
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Friday, September 30, 2011 8:29 PM
  •  

    Very well stated and I wholeheartedly agree. Metro is well and good for tablets, but it's a horrible PC experience.

     

    Even searching using the windows key is a jarring experience with drastically different UI's, the windows desktop was elegant compared to metro.  Limiting functionality if an app is "not metro" is moronic... if you have to force people to develop for an inferior platform you are doing a disservice to all your customers. 

    Try working exclusively in metro and try and get work done.  Now try it with windows 7... Windows is moving away from Function over form and trying to move to form over function. I buy a PC because I want to get things done, not because I want to work in an inefficient system that requires more effot to do things that should be, and in windows 7 were, simple.

    We really need to move away from this full screen only mindset.  I have two 27" monitors, I don't need, or want, a single app using that much space. I thought Metro would be an option I can set up for my technophobe wife...she hated it... with a passion.  for REAL computers metro should NOT be the default UI.  The issue is if you don't force us to use it we won't and then as tablets gin in power you could loose market share.  You are putting your business needs over the needs of your customers.  

    Using Metro means loosing 30% of my revenue a(vs. selling directly over th web site) and charging my customers more to use a system that is poorly suited to he applications I create.  As long as I can still install my apps in "legacy mode" I will never move to metro.  Newer isn't always better and metro epitomizes that.

     

     

     

     

    Friday, September 30, 2011 11:02 PM
  • And if that app isn't on the first screen?  Now I have to scroll all the way to the end of the list of icons to get to the app. 

     

    If I tab through open apps, as a bonus I get to scroll through apps that I would have closed but Metro won't let me.  This is NOT what a PC  OS should be, not even remotely close.


    • Edited by Bladehawk Friday, September 30, 2011 11:05 PM
    Friday, September 30, 2011 11:04 PM
  • mt327000,

    Thank you very much for your passion and willingness to find the right place for your post so that the b8 comments can be on the intended topic.  We appreciate it!

    You now know that the highest levels of the Win8 team have seen your feedback.  We don't know what we'll do yet, but, feedback received!

     

    Best,

     

    Jon

    Saturday, October 01, 2011 12:22 AM
  • Thanks for the response. I appreciate that you took the time to answer.

    Of course, ordinarily I would never be this passionate about a topic, certainly not enough to say anything about it online, but when the entire future of computing as at stake, it's hard not to weigh in with a response.


    As I said before, I wasn't trying to cause problems or put anyone down, I only wanted Microsoft to hear my feedback and consider making the changes I suggested. Again, I'm sorry if I got too carried away.
    Saturday, October 01, 2011 12:29 AM
  • I just remembeed something else I completely left out:

    A Response to the Idea that Touch Desktops and Laptops will Become Mainstream after Windows 8 Launches

    Based on the design seen in Windows 8 and the huge emphasis on touch, it is possible that Microsoft expects touchscreen laptops and desktops to become standard when Windows 8 launches. Touch on the desktop will probably never be a mainstream feature, and there are three reasons why.

    1. Touch Displays are Expensive

    A full-size touch display by itself can cost more than an entire tablet, depending on the screen. For example, a 15" resistive (not multitouch) touchscreen can cost $300 by itself, and the quality of the display is probably similar to a midrange display from 2002. This is compared to the $150 that it costs to buy a 1080p 21.5" display, complete with all of the expected modern display technologies.

    2. People Don't (or Won't) Want Desktop Touch Screens

    While it is true that touch displays exist on desktops today, complete with a set of apps designed for touch, these computers are niche products that have not been popular compared to traditional laptops and desktops. If Microsoft does expect touchscreen desktops to become popular in the future, they are forgetting something. Using touch on the desktop is painful, literally. Using a touch screen in front of your face will quickly make your hands sore. Try holding your hands up to your monitor for a few minutes, being careful not to rest them on the display. Or, try moving your hand around on the screen in ways that mimic multitouch, and you will quickly see the problem with touch on the desktop. Your shoulder will become sore quickly, and in the case of some people with weak shoulders, it is possible that even some type of injury could result from extended use of touch desktops or laptops.

    3. Multitouch Was Not Made for Trackpads and Mice

    While it is true that many new laptop trackpads and the Microsoft Touch Mouse are capable of recognizing multitouch gestures, this is not the kind of multitouch Windows 8 is designed for. While it may be possible to use two fingers to create an effect similar to having two mice, doing this only complicates the device and makes it hard to use. Multitouch is designed for interaction with the display directly, not mice and trackpads. Adding a touch sensor to mice will only confuse people and cause them to click on buttons or move things around unintentionally.



    Saturday, October 01, 2011 12:58 AM
  • >And if that app isn't on the first screen?
     
    You'd have to scroll the screen -- it would still be way easier than
    scrolling through the programs one by one.  It's actually easier this
    way than Alt-tab/Win-Tab have ever been, but not as easy as the task
    bar unless the task bar was full enough to have to scroll it.
     
    >Now I have to scroll all the way to the end of the list of icons to get to the app.
     
    Keep your most used "tile"s on the first screen, and it really isn't
    that hard to scroll the start screen anyway, even for a desktop.  It's
    not quite as easy for the desktop as it was before so we'd have to get
    used to it, but it's a whole lot easier for the touch screen devices.
     
    >If I tab through open apps, as a bonus I get to scroll through apps that I would have closed but Metro won't let me.  This is NOT what a PC  OS should be, not even remotely close.
     
    I think there should be a close method for metro apps too..
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Saturday, October 01, 2011 1:20 AM
  • That is so interesting. Over all I can say I agree with most, if not all, of what mt327000 found as flaws to be solved in Windows 8. I would follow him only partially, though, on his predictions about the future of the touchscreen experience. I believe the touch input won’t be the primary input device in computing for a long time, if ever.

     

    I think Windows 8 will be a serious failure if the Windows team doesn’t succeed to merge more successfully the two UIs they’ve been setting together in Windows 8. The competition is too strong to risk an uncomfortable juxtaposition of two UIs. Windows 8 runs the risk of disappointing all users who work full time on their computer and who need an efficient UI. In several respects Windows 8 is less efficient than Windows 7 (number of clicks, windows management, functions accessibility, search strategies, etc.). Sad to say, but Windows 8 may prove Apple’s policy (treating tablets and cell phones as a world apart and keeping the laptop fully optimized for keyboard and mouse) right if it doesn’t succeed in merging the two UIs in a fully efficient experience. After all, the great majority of users will still use the keyboard and the mouse as their primary input devices.

     

    Saturday, October 01, 2011 1:49 AM
  • I believe the touch input won’t be the primary input device in computing for a long time, if ever. 

    Isn't that what I said? If you're confused, I edited the post to point out that I do NOT expect touch to ever be a mainstream feature on desktops and laptops.
    Saturday, October 01, 2011 2:01 AM
  • FWIW, I think the Metro UI (especially the live tiles) looks great on smaller screen sizes.  I have a Samsung Focus and prefer the live tiles over iPhone's endless grid of apps.  I think it'll look great on a tablet, too. 

    But when you blow up Metro UI to a bigger screen size, it doesn't look too good anymore.  I have Win8 installed on computer with a 27" monitor and everything is too big with Metro. 

    Saturday, October 01, 2011 2:08 AM
  • I mentioned this in another thread, and I think it bears repeating. 

    The way you use a tablet and the way you use a desktop computer are completely different:

     • Tablets are used primarily for consumption of data - web surfing, e-mails, social networking, watching movies, casual gaming, etc.
     • Desktops are used primarily for the production of data - word processing, spreadsheets, running business applications, data entry, software development, hard-core gaming, etc.
     
    These are two different use cases.  One is optimized for touch screens.  The other is optimized for keyboard/mouse.  Both have their places.  It seems that Win8 sacrifices the second use case in favor of the first when in reality they both need to be first-class citizens.

    Saturday, October 01, 2011 2:23 AM
  • Jon,

     

    Thank you.  We feel passionate about computing and it is nice to know that the windows team is aware of our concerns.  I think we see why MS created metro and do think it has a place, but the change adds some inefficiencies and makes it more challenging for developers and power users.  As I've said, it's fine for tablets.

    Saturday, October 01, 2011 2:51 AM
  • Sorry, my bad. I meant to say that even if I don’t agree with on all things, I still think that touch won’t ever be a mainstream feature. I’m a French speaker and my English is not always clear.

    Saturday, October 01, 2011 1:09 PM
  • I see. That explains the confusion. Just to be safe, though, I added boldfaced text to the above post pointing out that touch will never be a mainstream feature on the desktop, as far as I can tell.
    Saturday, October 01, 2011 1:51 PM
  • Something else I thought of after looking at information about Windows 8:

    A Response to the Idea that Metro is Windows, So It Can't Be Disabled or Run in a Window

    Some look at this idea of making Metro optional as something that cannot be done, because Metro is Windows, is built into Windows, and cannot be removed. While it is true that Metro is tied to the explorer shell, there are two reasons why I suspect that Windows could easily be modified to support running Metro in a window.

    1. Metro in Windows 8 can be disabled either by setting the Windows Explorer "RPEnabled" setting to 0 or by renaming shsxs.dll to another name. By renaming the DLL, in particular, Metro can be disabled while leaving almost everything else that is new intact, restoring the regular Start Menu from Windows Vista/7. This means that if Microsoft does want to add the option of disabling Metro, it is possible.

    2. The Tablet PC simulator already provides an idea of how Metro might run in a window. Of course, the interaction model would be different from what the Tablet PC Simulator does, but the Tablet PC simulator basically shows that Metro can already be run in a window. Of course, Metro's current implementation in the Tablet PC simulator is tied to the RPEnabled and DLL name in the full version of Windows, but I suspect that based on existing tools, it is possible to modify Windows so that the desktop runs like it does in Windows 7 while Metro can run in a window, without having to design any fully new programs. The "Metro-in-a-window" idea practically exists already.

    Also note though, that the Tablet PC Simulator is not what I imagine when I picture running Metro apps in a window. The window would need to be able to be resized, though with a fixed aspect ratio or an aspect ratio that is only partially adjustable. Also, the Tablet PC Simulator is much, much slower than how I imagine this "Metro-in-a-window" idea.


    Saturday, October 01, 2011 5:08 PM
  • Let's be honest here...windows 7's taskbar IS one of the best thing for windows, ever. While metro's drag-drag-drag task switcher works fine on touch, it is a MAJOR PITA for mouse (alt-tab is still here fortunately, but when using windows, a lot of people often use mouse only).

    Letting users to put the taskbar inside of metro will solve a LOT of issues.

    - Replace the charms with taskbar (with charms button).

    - or keep the charms bar but when charms bar is displayed, display the taskbar too where the "app bar" is displayed.

    Saturday, October 01, 2011 6:46 PM
  • Here is a more detailed explanation of the "Metro in a Window" idea:

    When I say that I think Metro should be run in a window, I'm not saying that the entire Metro UI, with the Start Screen, Charms menu, etc. should be run as an app. On desktops and laptops, each Metro app should run in its own window with no inter-app navigation inside the window.

    Saturday, October 01, 2011 11:05 PM
  • Totally agree with mt. I personally find it sad that microsoft is giving more priority to touch/tablet users over PC users. After all, PC users are microsoft's user base. This tablet-first strategy will end up causing a lot of people not to move to win8 and stick to 7.

    Metro may be great for tablets and touch screens, but it just isn't a good idea to put it on a desktop/laptop PC. There should be a way of selecting a default interface, and as mt said, the metro interface should not be loaded to memory unless the user explicitly desires, just like the Windows Media Centre. Hiding stuff behind fancy tiles is the kind of stuff Apple does. Windows>>Mac simply because it is far more open and customizable, yet it is much more compatible and easier to use than Linux (and indeed Mac too).

    Introducing a large, clunky interface to a PC is a bad idea. Like mt said, not many people have a touch screen. I don't even think casual users would like Metro on their desktops.

    Windows 8 should be very customizable; people should get to choose the interfaces they want. I think Windows 7 is brilliant, and if i were to use Win8 i would want to revert to the Windows 7 look. Sure, the rest of the improvements are really good, even the explorer ribbon (which should make life easier for newbies and casual users), but metro's home is not a standard PC, it's a tablet/phone/touch-screen monitor setup.

    I think it's great that MS are pushing innovation, but forcing new interfaces on users in environments that are not suited to the interface is not a good idea. Windows 8 might end up earning Vista's reputation if it continues along this path.

    Microsoft's goal should be making a light, stable, secure, open (not open source, in their own interest) and highly customizable OS, not a giant "app". An operating system shouldn't get in the way of your day to day activities. Windows 7 does this wonderfully, but there's always room to improve. Windows 8 does that in many areas, but Metro...

    btw, mt, in win7, to pause a song, you just need one click really, you can just hower over the taskbar icon and click pause on the small preview window that pops up.

     

    Cheers and all the best to the Dev Team

     

    p.s. by PC i mean laptop/desktop only.

    Sunday, October 02, 2011 8:24 AM
  • Here's something that could be even worse than Windows 8 being another Vista. Windows 8 could earn Windows Millennium's reputation. The thing I find strange about Windows Millennium is that it introduced a lot of features that made Windows XP great, but it was these same features that caused Millennium to be one of the worst operating systems ever. In the same way, adding a tablet UI to a PC will cause problems for most desktops and laptops, but it looks great in the tablet demos I've seen. Metro looks great for tablets, but it just doesn't make sense on a desktop. People don't buy desktops expecting Metro UI or Metro apps, or an iPhone-like UI. People buy desktops because they want the Windows NT or OS X platform. Switching to Metro requires a complete shift from desktops to tablets, and not everyone can or will make the switch, nor should they have to. The desktop and Metro/tablet worlds are fundamentally differnet, and I have never seen anyone buy a $2000 desktop just to browse the Internet and play HTML5 games. People buy computers like these for content creation, and when a PC is used like this, booting up to Metro by default just doesn't make sense.


    Sunday, October 02, 2011 3:10 PM
  • mt327000, this is how i see it...

    The Metro/Desktop mix is problematical and ultimately appears not to work for many people, but there is no way Microsoft will give up on Metro now - they're in too deep and have commited too much. The issue of course is that Metro apps and their underlining technologies aren't really seperable from the presentation/UI elements. For all intents and purposes, Metro plumbing and Metro style are just different aspects of the same thing. So MSFT can't give up on Metro, but nor can they risk the desktop with such a radical break from the past as they currently look set to make.

    My prediction: There will be two simultaneous client releases in 2012 - Windows 8, and Microsoft Metro.

    Non-touchscreen computers will get Windows 8, and everything with touch that is bigger than a phone will get Microsoft Metro. Windows 8 HomePremium or better will include Metro as an optional alternate interface, for folks who purchase a touchscreen at a later stage, or just want to try it. A bit like Media Center is an optional UI today.

    So the somewhat shaky start will have all been worked out for the best by RTM.

     

    Sunday, October 02, 2011 4:21 PM
  • mt327000, this is how i see it...

    The Metro/Desktop mix is problematical and ultimately appears not to work for many people, but there is no way Microsoft will give up on Metro now - they're in too deep and have commited too much. The issue of course is that Metro apps and their underlining technologies aren't really seperable from the presentation/UI elements. For all intents and purposes, Metro plumbing and Metro style are just different aspects of the same thing. So MSFT can't give up on Metro, but nor can they risk the desktop with such a radical break from the past as they currently look set to make.

    My prediction: There will be two simultaneous client releases in 2012 - Windows 8, and Microsoft Metro.

    Non-touchscreen computers will get Windows 8, and everything with touch that is bigger than a phone will get Microsoft Metro. Windows 8 HomePremium or better will include Metro as an optional alternate interface, for folks who purchase a touchscreen at a later stage, or just want to try it. A bit like Media Center is an optional UI today.

    So the somewhat shaky start will have all been worked out for the best by RTM.

     

    What would be the difference between your theoretical Microsoft Metro/Windows 8 split and my suggestion? I'm not saying that Metro should be turned off on tablets by default, I'm saying that users should be able to turn Metro off on desktops and laptops before the first full boot. On tablets, Metro would be the primary UI. This should be possible without splitting the opearating systems, though I wouldn't mind it if Microsoft did split OS's, again, making Metro optional on desktops and laptops. To be clear, I'm not saying Microsoft should give up on Metro completely, only make it optional for non-tablet users and let it run in a window, like Media Center.
    Sunday, October 02, 2011 4:38 PM
  • According to Mary Jo Foley on the Windows Weekly podcast, Microsoft does not intend Metro style apps to be simply consumer apps. Instead, Microsoft envisions that all apps be the Metro style, and that companies rewrite their business apps to be Metro-style. It's about 10 minutes in the following video:

    http://www.winsupersite.com/article/podcasts/windows-weekly-227-twins-140698

    Sunday, October 02, 2011 5:09 PM
  • Interesting. I still have all of the same complaints that I had before.

    Despite what Microsoft says, the desktop is not an app, it's just hidden so that it looks like one. Despite the discussion of professional-looking sample apps and Metro-style apps that can mimic Adobe Photoshop in the video, I haven't seen anything like this yet. Even the full-fledged Metro-style apps that Microsoft made, like Internet Explorer, feel slimmed-down, and more basic than they need to be. Even if real programs do run in the Metro environment, all of the complains I made about Metro still apply. It just isn't good enough for doing real work compared to the desktop. I can't have 5 layered windows in special locations in Metro, but I can always do this in the desktop. Again, people who will say that Metro's problems don't matter because the desktop still exists aren't right, because Metro is still the default UI and is still not designed for desktops. The entire concept seems flawed. I don't want to read my e-mail in a full-screen Metro app that blocks out everything else, because this design only gets in the way. As for a Metro version of Windows Live Photo Gallery, I don't use photo managers, ever. This design still doesn't make any sense because it was designed for tablets, not PC's. Picture a Metro version of Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Word. Something just doesn't seem right here, especially since I can only open two Metro-style apps at once. Replacing Windows with Metro for the default UI may make sense on tablets, but this just doesn't make sense for real computers.




    Sunday, October 02, 2011 5:23 PM
  • I was looking around online, and other people agree with my criticism of Windows 8. In this article (http://www.zdnet.com/blog/hardware/windows-8-design-flaws-microsoft-must-address/14917), a ZDNet writer has all of the same complaints that I do, but uses more direct language than me. In reality, this probably represents people's reaction better than the scientific criticism that I gave. If the final Windows 8 looks anything like the Developer Preview, the public at large will immediately notice all of these flaws and likely stay on Windows 7.

     



    Sunday, October 02, 2011 6:16 PM
  • "this a big risk like" MSFT CEO said, he knows it. I wonder what B. Gates and the board think in this global econimical state its not worth the loss, and over 2 billion users worldwide. the metro is not a good idea, mouse, pen, etc but not touch works best even on windows 7 tablets. they should have had mini version of windows 7 on a phone that would have helped sales, using a pen, etc. not touch. there are many ways to interact with a computer device they shouldn't force touch, will soon use our eyes, gastures (kinect) and mind to navagiate and comunicate with a computer devices, why invest so much effort, time and money on one method of communication.

    Backing you mt327000, too much is a stake here.

    Sunday, October 02, 2011 6:42 PM
  • I agree. There is too much at stake here for Microsoft to not let users disable Metro. Microsoft risks a debacle even worse than what happened with Windows Vista with this design. Windows 8 could become the next Windows Millennium.
    Sunday, October 02, 2011 6:53 PM
  • It's admirable the amount of effort people are putting in here to try to influence Microsoft's direction, to pull them back to the straight and narrow.

    I wonder if it will do any good.  They've stayed courses in the past that seemed to make little sense.

     

    -Noel

    Sunday, October 02, 2011 8:10 PM
  • It is true that Microsoft has made unusual decisions in the past, but I suspect that Microsoft can be influenced. On the Building Windows 8 blog, Steven Sinofsky himself seemed interested in what I had to say. This is an encouraging sign, but I don't know what Microsoft will do yet.

    Sunday, October 02, 2011 8:22 PM
  • Like you, I simply question the wisdom of just throwing out the whole multiple overlapping windows metaphor.  That's been a long time in development and refinement to drop it by the roadside!

     

    But, that said, just the other day I read a post on a Photoshop forum by a guy who said that he bought a big monitor because he wanted to "multitask" but then when he actually tried it he found it to be hugely distasteful and now just runs everything maximized.  This may well be the experience of many - dare I say MOST -Windows users, because a very large number of users aren't looking for their computer to be a computer (in the sense we think of it) at all - but rather they're looking for an entertainment device.

     

    It's pretty clear that to some of us, moving Windows away from presenting "windowed" applications seems a basic threat to the very thing we believe to be most powerful about our computers today, and yet clearly others have no interest whatsoever in managing multiple windows.  However, I've always thought that the Maximize feature dealt with that nicely enough - precisely because some folks can use it while those of us who like to can plaster our giant monitors with window after window so everything's all there at a glance.

     

    In my mind I think it's ironic that Windows and modern computer hardware have finally grown up enough to facilitate serious multitasking all week long, and now Microsoft's about to pull the plug on it.

     

    -Noel


    Sunday, October 02, 2011 8:46 PM
  • Actually, I run many programs, such as Microsoft Word and Internet Explorer, maximized. Even though I run them maximized, I don't run them in full-screen mode. I use the Start Menu frequently, which I can use without completely hiding the program on my screen. Depending on what I'm doing, I do restore windows down, when I need to use several programs at once. I also make frequent use of the taskbar and all the small buttons in Windows that are gone from Metro in Windows 8 and either have no equivalent or have an equivalent that does only part of what it used to do. I also run Internet Explorer 9 with all the old Internet Explorer 8 toolbars turned on. From my own perspective, the Internet Explorer 9 UI is very similar to that of Internet Explorer 8. This is the very opposite of what Metro is, where each app only has a few buttons and the buttons that do exist are hidden away in a bar that I have to right-click on to bring up. Metro looks good for tablets, but it seems like a bad idea for mice and keyboards. I hope that Microsoft will decide to change Windows in response to my complaints, as I'm not the only one who thinks this and have provided multiple links throughout the thread to support my position.
    Sunday, October 02, 2011 8:54 PM
  • Understood. I just wanted to emphasize the point :)

    When you look at the Win8 boilerplate, it becomes pretty obvious how significant a change this WinRT stuff is. A complete subsystem to 'rival' / stand side-by-side with Win32. There will almost definately be WinRT_on_WinNT only systems (green side + kernel) in the near future - the only question is what will happen with the traditonal desktop system. Either they get the DP Metro/Desktop hybrid - or - Desktop stays default (for now), and Metro UI becomes an optional mode, as i think you'd prefer (i do too).

    Another reason for thinking the Win8 / MS Metro split release will become reality, is to look at details like Explorer ribbon versus Metro design guidelines. The ribbon UI is pro-chrome - prefered Metro style is anti-chrome. Desktop IE supports plugins, Metro IE doesn't. (How confusing would that be for most users?) Two philosophies, two operating systems. Also, the casual on_the_couch user that Metro is marketed for is probably not too interested in things like mounting VHDs and ISOs in their file system. Other users will get the 'serious' version. Having said that, i don't think Win8 will just be a souped-up version of Win7. The start menu, in particular, will borrow heavily on the Metro style, but still be recognizable as the traditional start menu. I'm guessing there will also be some consolidation of SKUs.

     


    • Edited by Drewfus Monday, October 03, 2011 8:24 AM
    Monday, October 03, 2011 6:34 AM
  • It is possible that in the future, Microsoft could come up with a way to write normal (non-Metro) programs with WinRT, running in the regular (non-Metro) interface. I'm not a developer, so I don't know what the full implications of the new WinRT system are. As for the idea of the new Windows desktop design borrowing from Metro elements, desktop UI can look good when built with Metro design principles, but applying the entire Metro application style to a program is a mistake. In this video (http://channel9.msdn.com/events/BUILD/BUILD2011/BPS-1004), where Jensen Harris shows the audience how much "better" the reimagined RSS reader in Metro is compared to the Win32 version, the "before" picture, showing a typical Winodws Vista/7 app, actually looks better than the "after" picture to me. This comparison begins exactly five minutes into the video. While Metro can have advantages when used in the right place, when I look at Metro applications like BitBox, which are designed for content creation, I think about how much better regular Windows programs are compared to programs built with Metro design guidelines. In many ways, Metro-style does remind me of using the DOSBox DOS Emulator in full-screen mode.  The Ribbon, menus, and toolbars are designed for mice. Metro is designed for touch. Metro-style design has no place on the desktop, apart from certain elements like button color, fonts, etc, and Microsoft has done nothing to convince me otherwise. There needs to be a way to turn Metro off before the first boot.


    Monday, October 03, 2011 7:15 PM
  • Just my little 2cents, I found out you can switch Metro tasks using the ctrl and esc keys. try it right nowwwww!! :) Lord knows it was frustrating not being able to switch tasks because I was using a keyboard, luckily I found this trick. There are some other minor tricks I've found to be incoporated into the UI to ease the jump from Mouse/Keyboard usage to full touch. I don't this the solutions are fully efficient but it suggests to me that its a problem they do anticipate and they are trying to minimize.

    Another trick I found is Super/Windows Key and tab combination that helps you switch between desktop and metro mode.

     


    Monday, October 03, 2011 8:09 PM
  • I had an idea.  Why not include the Win7 task bar at the bottom of Metro.  This task bar was supposedly designed for touch to begin with.  You could even leave the "Old" start menu for legacy programs.  You can "pin" your favorite programs there so you won't have to scroll as well as switch between programs.   It could pop up with the right click menus when in an app.  Effectively you'd be replacing the icon desktop with metro without killing the usefulness of the task bar.  Include a "Metro" button beside the classic Start button and give an option to hide one or the other or show both.  Windowed programs could just display above Metro as if it were the wallpaper.  The messy icon desktop would be gone but not the true functionality of the task bar.  Windows would be Windows again.
    Monday, October 03, 2011 11:01 PM
  • I've seen mock-ups of this idea, and none of them look good. There has to be a better way of integrating Metro and the desktop. I still think that running Metro applications and getting rid of the Start Screen entirely on desktops is the best approach. Trying to combine two completely separate interfaces like this will only cause problems in the future.
    Monday, October 03, 2011 11:54 PM
  • Noel, yes there seems to be two basic user types - the 'Windows' users and the 'Maximize' users. I've seen it many times. The Maximizers blow up everything at the first opportunity, and when temporarily finished in one app, they close the window, then open another. The Windows users, in comparison, exploit the basic multitasking capabilities (or better). The Windows users also do tabbed browsing, the maximizers don't. In each case (overlapping windows, multitasking, tabs), i don't think the second group quite 'gets' it.

    Anyway, is it this group of users that Metro is primarily marketed towards? If yes, then unless MSFT has been gripped by a sudden insanity, there will have to be an alternative client release for legacy users (shake head), i mean power users (shake head), i mean us!

     

    Monday, October 03, 2011 11:59 PM
  • What do you mean, the Windows users and the Maximize users? I run most of my windows maximized, but that doesn't mean I don't use Windows's multitasking capabilities! In particular, much of the interface that makes Windows great, such as the ability to drag and drop content between windows and seamlessly switch back and forth between programs seems to be gone in Metro in Windows 8.
    Tuesday, October 04, 2011 12:06 AM
  • I was stereotyping for affect.

    " I run most of my windows maximized, but that doesn't mean I don't use Windows's multitasking capabilities!"

    Don't be offended :)

     

    Tuesday, October 04, 2011 12:14 AM
  • Sorry. Your comment didn't bother me that much. I've noticed something else interesting about the way I use Windows 8. I tend to split the environments in my mind into "Metro" and "Windows," rather than "Metro" and "Desktop." This means that I don't see Metro as being a Windows shell or a replacement for anything that Windows does today, but as an application or add-on to Windows that can run basic, entry-level app-like Metro screens. This is how basic the Metro shell is, that I don't even think of it as Windows, or as a real OS. I suspect that this is how many other people will also see Windows 8.

    Tuesday, October 04, 2011 12:19 AM
  • I run most of my windows maximized, but that doesn't mean I don't use Windows's multitasking capabilities!


    To me that just says you need a bigger monitor, or more of them.  ;)  Just kidding.  I do run a lot of apps as a window that covers most of the screen on one monitor (and I make a lot of use of being able to click edges of things exposed underneath, and I keep my icons along the top and bottom edges). 

     

    We seem to all be in pretty good agreement that the current Windows metaphor provides a lot of power, and the central crux here is that not integrating the "new" stuff with what's already there seems a big mistake.

     

    The serious point in all this is that a system that can provide *just the right* cognitive load - more for some, less for others - is needed.  Maybe it isn't a single system, and/or maybe it's a more derivative evolution from Windows 7 and earlier, but it's clearly not the "reimagined" Metro as seen in Windows 8 DP.

     

    -Noel

    Tuesday, October 04, 2011 1:07 PM
  • and it'll open the current instance of it

    In other words, we are throwing the ability to multitask out the window completely. Are you a home user? You've never even opened two web pages simultaneously have you?

    Because it's just inconceivable that I might want to have two separate instances of something running, isn't it? I can't wait for MS to claim that '99% of users only use one app at a time' because they watched someone browse Facebook once and saw that they didn't have anything else going.


    Working in C++ reminds me that some things are almost as illogical as Microsoft
    Wednesday, October 05, 2011 4:10 AM
  • You'd have to scroll the screen -- it would still be way easier than scrolling through the programs one by one.
    And yet we're still throwing away the invention that put all the programs in a list for us to see? [sigh]

    Working in C++ reminds me that some things are almost as illogical as Microsoft
    Wednesday, October 05, 2011 4:13 AM
  • I have Win8 installed on computer with a 27" monitor and everything is too big with Metro.

    This is MS's last chance (they've had a good 10 years) to create a DPI independent UI. It won't happen.


    Working in C++ reminds me that some things are almost as illogical as Microsoft
    Wednesday, October 05, 2011 4:14 AM
  • >In other words, we are throwing the ability to multitask out the window completely.
     
    No, you're not throwing it away at all, you're just using all full
    screen apps, just hit the Windows key to get out of a metro app and
    back to the start screen, and click on the other app's tile to switch,
    and you can go back and forth quite easily.
     
    >Are you a home user?
     
    My job is as an IT Manager, you know, the guy in charge of multiple
    users and computer systems. <g>
     
    >You've never even opened two web pages simultaneously have you?
     
    I normally have over 20 apps going at a time, some full screen, some
    windowed, and it's not uncommon to have that many web pages open in a
    tabbed browser.  I do the same when I'm running Windows 8, though I
    hardly ever use Metro IE, it never seems to work very well and locks
    up half the time I try.
     
    >Because it's just inconceivable that I might want to have two separate instances of something running, isn't it?
     
    I never really mentioned anything about separate instances of Metro
    apps, that's a different issue, and it does get into level of user.
    You and I would use multiple instances, but a light user wouldn't, but
    luckily in Windows 8 the desktop is still there and we can install the
    apps that work like we want for the job, and you can even launch them
    from the Metro screen.
     
    >I can't wait for MS to claim that '99% of users only use one app at a time' because they watched someone browse Facebook once and saw that they didn't have anything else going.
     
    I wouldn't be surprised to hear that either, their focus groups hardly
    ever match my expectations!
     
    >Working in C++ reminds me that some things are almost as illogical as Microsoft
     
    I know what you mean, C++ isn't one of my favorite languages. <g>
     
    Think of Windows 8 as something exactly like Windows 7 in usage but
    with another UI tack on that makes it easier for the tablet market --
    nothing is taken away except the start menu and there are ways to get
    that functionality back (I use a toolbar for that)  It'd be kind of
    nicer if there was a way to set a default screen to either Metro, or
    the Desktop..
     
    Maybe it's because I support users on iPhones and iPads too, so I'm
    already used to the tablet interface for some jobs, so I actually kind
    of like the way Win8 is set up.  I know that if what I'm doing gets
    too complicated on an iPad, I have to sit down at a computer to do
    what I need, but now I'll be able to use a Win8 pad to do it all.
    (still it'll be for lighter usage unless it has a real keyboard too.)
     
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    • Edited by Bob Comer Wednesday, October 05, 2011 11:25 AM
    Wednesday, October 05, 2011 11:21 AM
  • >And yet we're still throwing away the invention that put all the programs in a list for us to see? [sigh]
     
    On a pad type device like an iPad, you don't normally care what apps
    are already running or not, you just click on the icon to open or
    re-open the app you want.
     
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Wednesday, October 05, 2011 11:25 AM
  • Do you have an iPad?  I have a hundred (or so) apps installed on mine.  Scrolling through endless grids of apps trying to find stuff is a painful process.
    Wednesday, October 05, 2011 11:30 AM
  • >Do you have an iPad?
     
    I wouldn't have mentioned using one if I didn't. <g>
     
    >I have a hundred (or so) apps installed on mine.  Scrolling through endless grids of apps trying to find stuff is a painful process.
     
    Folders, it makes things much nicer.  I have lots of apps too, but
    only 3 screens.
     
    I believe I suggested folders on the metro screen somewhere around
    here....
     
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Wednesday, October 05, 2011 1:04 PM
  • @Bob.

    One the problem with folders (at least with iOS' implementation) is that you have to maintain them yourself.  Users shouldn't have to manage this.  Further, apps can only be in one spot.  Either you bury the app in a folder (making it more difficult to access) or keep it as top-level icon. 

    WP7 solves this issue nicely by giving you a choice of pinning your most frequently used programs as live tiles or using an alphabetical list of all your apps.  

    Another problem with iOS is that it doesn't automatically sort your apps alphabetically (which I like to do).  Again, WP7 solves this problem quite nicely.

     

     

     


    • Edited by I-DotNET Wednesday, October 05, 2011 1:24 PM Expand.
    Wednesday, October 05, 2011 1:23 PM
  • >One the problem with folders (at least with iOS' implementation) is that you have to maintain them yourself.  Users shouldn't have to manage this.  Further, apps can only be in one spot.  Either you bury the app in a folder (making it more difficult to access) or keep it as top-level icon. 
     
    It never was a problem for me, my folders are by theme, so there's
    only one possible place it would go and it's easy to remember.
     
    >WP7 solves this issue nicely by giving you a choice of pinning your most frequently used programs as live tiles or using an alphabetical list of all your apps.  
     
    I do like the Win7 taskbar (and Win8 taskbar when using the desktop),
    it's the best innovation in Windows in quite some time -- but -- it's
    not easy at all to use with a touch interface.
     
    >Another problem with iOS is that it doesn't automatically sort your apps alphabetically (which I like to do).  Again, WP7 solves this problem quite nicely.
     
    I always have arranged my icons by logical groupings. (similar themes)
     
    >WP7 solves this problem quite nicely.
     
    As does it for my way too.
     
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Wednesday, October 05, 2011 1:36 PM
  • Nice post mt327000.  I would emphasize that Windows 8 lack of a functional Start Menu in the Desktop Interface is a big disappointment.

    I don't mind that Metro exists, but on a desktop/laptop computer I find it pointless, inconvenient, and poorly designed.  On a touch style tablet, which nobody I know actually has one that can run Windows 8, it would be useful though.  I should be able to select whether my computer starts in Metro or Desktop interface and if I choose Desktop, I shouldn't have to constantly switch over to Metro just to run my desktop apps.  The Windows 7 Start Menu should exist in the Desktop interface and I shouldn't have to switch over to Metro for anything unless I choose to.

    Wednesday, October 05, 2011 1:42 PM
  • On Wed, 5 Oct 2011 13:36:14 +0000, Bob Comer [MVP] wrote:

    WP7 solves this issue nicely by giving you a choice of pinning your most frequently used programs as live tiles or using an alphabetical list of all your apps.??

    ?
    I do like the Win7 taskbar (and Win8 taskbar when using the desktop),
    it's the best innovation in Windows in quite some time -- but -- it's
    not easy at all to use with a touch interface.

    WP7 = Windows Phone 7, not Windows 7.


    Paul Adare
    MVP - Identity Lifecycle Manager
    http://www.identit.ca
    Bubble memory:  A derogatory term, usually referring to a person's
    intelligence. See also "vacuum tube."

    Wednesday, October 05, 2011 1:42 PM
  • Just to be clear, WP7 = Windows Phone 7.  

    Other than deciding which items I want to pin on my start screen, I don't have to have to manage any of apps icons.  I don't have to worry about creating folders or manually sorting apps or anything.  It all just works.  

     

    Wednesday, October 05, 2011 1:45 PM
  • >WP7 = Windows Phone 7, not Windows 7.
     
    Ah, that's something I've never used so wouldn't know about, sorry.
     
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Wednesday, October 05, 2011 1:47 PM
  • >Just to be clear, WP7 = Windows Phone 7.  
     
    Yeah, Paul mentioned that, sorry for my misunderstanding.
     
    >Other than deciding which items I want to pin on my start screen, I don't have to have to manage any of apps icons.  I don't have to worry about creating folders or manually sorting apps or anything.  It all just works.  
     
    It's something I've never seen so I wouldn't know how that works.
    Certainly the way the iPad does it isn't the only way!
     
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Wednesday, October 05, 2011 1:49 PM
  • It is simply incomprehensible that anyone in their right mind in the Microsoft engineering teams would not object to these changes in their current form. If Metro is not a completely optional addon to the normal Windows XP / Windows 7 desktop, Windows 8 will be the biggest flop in Microsoft's history.

    This touch-only approach on the desktop computers may work for an extremely small subset of home users who rarely use any features of their computers but power users will not even consider using Windows 8 with these limitations. I have several computers, running a combination of Windows XP and Windows 7 and all of them have large, high-resolution screens and at least 4 CPUs. Wasting these resources by keeping programs running and making them full screen is a sure way of telling me never to use Windows 8.

    Thursday, October 06, 2011 2:15 AM
  • One can see how you might think that, but then if you saw the //build/ presentation you'd realize that they may well be unimagining Windows as a real, serious operating system, and concentrating on it being just a portable device system.  Serious computer users all over the world are contemplating staying with Windows 7 as long as possible and figuring out how the heck they're going to transition to Linux (ugh).  I imagine Mac Pro system sales will be up...

     

    Microsoft may feel the portable device market is just so big they can't ignore it.  Thing is, you just can't sell an OS for several hundred dollars to a smartphone user.  Probably not even to a tablet PC user.

     

    -Noel

    Thursday, October 06, 2011 12:57 PM
  • My opinion...

    (Sorry for my English)

    I'm a designer and multimedia artist. I use Windows since 1995, and I frequently use about 30 programs for: design, software/widgets development, surfing web, chat, using e-mail… (including: WL Messenger, WL Mail, Office Suite, Adobe Suite, Sony A/V Creative Software, different media players, iTunes, uTorrent, Skype, Total Commander FTP, and many more.

    I have W7 64x installed on my notebook right now, and it function very well with all this soft installed and many more.

     

    Maybe you hear about me before, because I've made a concept, and "static" vision of what I imagine (or I would like to see) for a future UI for Windows Explorer, and I've post it in comments before, that is here: http://www.moquo.com.ar/misc/Windows8ExplorerConcept1.1.jpg

    I've read many replies from people that like my concept, and I'm glad for its positive thoughts about it.

     

    Now, I've installed and used W8 Preview and I would like to share some thoughts about it with you.

     

    METRO & AERO

    Both UI are really good. There’s no discussion about it. Metro is modern and minimal than Aero, that’s something that almost everyone knows.

    If you use a Windows Phone, you will see how simple and great can be Metro UI in front of your eyes and fingers. It’s just awesome.

    Aero haves something great and unique: Aero Glass. It does a great and innovative invent from Microsoft, and I’m glad to see it every day when I use my PC.

     

    But, till I’ve test W8P, I’ve release that something could be wrong, let me explain why.

     

    I use my laptop with an external monitor connected (it’s more comfortable for working), a Samsung monitor with a resolution of 1920 x 1080, with a matte screen.

    My first reaction with Metro screen was “wow”, I like the movements and transitions, and the excitement of having a new “toy” like the apps, but later, when I start using the whole OS, I release that is not very funny using it as is (at least).

    I feel the W8 Preview is very oriented to touch screen devices with medium & small screens with a glossy surface. In a bigger screen, Metro UI lacks style and bright; it looks flat and empty, and the full screen apps with a mouse don’t feel good at all. It have not sense viewing a weather app in full screen. It has no sense viewing a group of apps that fill the screen in a desktop PC. It’s only to play around the first time… but… what will be happen when you saw this start screen every day? In a desktop PC could be really annoying.

     

    All the bigger fonts used in Control Panel, Settings and more, as well as the whole Metro UI feels like a too simple and flat design for an HD monitor. Just imagine Metro UI in your 24” monitor, without touching it! Only with a mouse and keyboard… Don’t get me wrong, I love Metro UI but I think it’s more suitable for smaller devices with touch screens.

     

    By using a Desktop PC, just make yourself these questions:

    - It’s really necessary to go fullscreen, and switch between 2 stages to see the weather report app?

    - It’s really necessary to go fullscreen to open Control Panel?

    - What will happen when you use IE app, and try to watch some YouTube video, or Flash website, and you release that plug-ins don’t work on IE10 app?

    - How many “clicks” you’ll have to do for only view an app and do a fast action?

     

    THE DESKTOP

    I think the desktop must continue to be the main space in a PC, like a "welcome home", but improved in many ways.

    To make it clear, in first place, please take a look at this image:

    http://www.moquo.com.ar/misc/ss/w7.jpg

     

    You’ll see here and empty an almost not functional default desktop. In this image you can access only the recycle bin. The whole thing in desktop can be improved by giving it “life” to it.

    No-one likes a desktop full of icons (like this one: http://www.moquo.com.ar/misc/ss/desktopfull.gif), messed up, or I’m wrong?

     

    Ok, what can be made to improve the desktop in a very interesting way?

    This image says it all: http://www.moquo.com.ar/misc/ss/desktop+metroapps.jpg

    I show you here that it can be possible to integrate Metro Apps right in the desktop without compromising desktop organization! And, the best thing is: there’s no need to press Start button to switch between apps and the desktop!

     

    If you take a look at this screenshot again: , you will see -apart from metro apps and the taskbar-, a bunch of icons and shortcuts, organized inside “Fences”. Fences is a 3rd party program that allows you to organize the desktop icons much better than the “organize” native function of Windows.

    This program/technology can be acquired for Microsoft for its implementation in the next version of Windows.

     

    So, with this screenshot, it’s proved that 4 elements can coexist well together: desktop + icons/shortcuts organization + apps + taskbar.

     

    HTML5 & FLASH

    I’m a designer & developer; I like and use both technologies.

    HTML5 is a new standard, but it’ll not replace Flash. Apart from other matters, Flash uses vectors, typography, and complex animations and actions that, in most cases, are very hard and impossible to build with HTML5. It’s not true that Flash it’s “buggy software”. It can run very stable on my PC. Sometimes I have more than 15 websites using Flash opened in different tabs of the browser, and it never hangs.

    I use Google Chrome as my default browser and it’s the most stable browser in the market. I can make a video to proof that it is true what I’m telling you.

    I list here some examples of websites made with Flash:

    http://www.moquo.com.ar/misc/ss/list.html

     

    And the question for developers and Flash-haters is: Can you do these websites with HTML5? I don't think so.

     

    HTML5 is very welcome too. You can do amazing things coding in HTML5, of course. Both are good technologies, and I think the users have the right to use whatever they like; so I think it’s not a good idea to forbid Flash or other plug-ins in IE10. The plug-ins can be disabled by choice.

     

    TABLETS / DESKTOP PC / NOTEBOOKS / PHONES

    There's no need to switch back and forth between Metro/Desktop scenarios (as I show you before). A desktop/laptop PC has enough space to share apps + taskbar + desktop icons in one place: the desktop.

     

    In a touchscreen phone/tablet you need to access fast to many apps that do simple things, like view your contacts, send a mail/message, view the weather report, so it have more sense to have Metro UI start screen.

     

    RIBBONS

    Ribbon can be very useful, but it really needs to have a better and consistent design, the same for each icon in it. And we need a way so we can customize/add/delete commands from the ribbon.

     

    SUGGESTIONS

    - Aero Snap it's one of the most important features for everyday work, but it needs to be improved. It needs 2 additional functions: 1) that you can snap windows in 4 or more parts of the screen, like was implemented in Google Chrome. 2) that you can “stick” 2 or more windows using the borders to resize windows automatically (as showed with Metro Apps windows)

    - Control window buttons must be redesigned… Take a look at this screenshot: http://www.moquo.com.ar/misc/ss/buttons.png -  here you will see a good example for button/window design…

    I have many many suggestions… for the taskbar and many more…

     

    IE9 USER INTERFACE & GENERAL UI DESIGN

    The design of old versions of IE (8.0 to 1.0) was very cluttered, with icons, menus, and lots of screen space wasted in many ways.

    But, when Google Chrome saw the light for first time, the world was fascinated for how Google handles to have a very innovating UI design and amazing functionality: tabs at the top of the window, speed of response, and very innovative integration with Windows native UI (aero glass support, Segoe ui font). Chrome was born a little time ago, and its incredible how fast people are using it as its primary browser.

    It’s not a coincidence that IE teams, later, understood what a good example of concept and design Chrome was!

    So,  it’s not a coincidence at all, that IE9 sports now a very sleek and minimal design, very close to Chrome UI.

    So, here are some questions:

    1) Why IE team took the risk of redesigning the whole UI for IE9; without been afraid by customers?

    2) Why they did a UI design WITH COMPROMISE for IE9, and now Steven said "no compromises" replying when people here asked for a new & polished interface?

    1) Why Windows 8 team seems not been interested in redesign the Ribbon, and they’re not care about of what many people want?

    2) Wasn’t Google Chrome UI a proof enough of what the people want?

     

    We'll never know.

     

    FINAL THOUGHTS

    Windows its not open source software, so it’s clear that Msoft and its employees have the last word, so, we only have to wait.

    But, let’s face it; no one is forcing us to keep using Windows forever. There are other alternative OS that everyone knows, and, we always have the chance to create a new, open source and free OS! It's time to work, people. Msoft and Apple are just OS created by people... Nothing is stopping the rest of the word to create something new.

    Thursday, October 06, 2011 3:37 PM
  • @LudoMatico I am agree with you in some things, but I think your idea for the desktop+metro is horrible, this picture http://www.moquo.com.ar/misc/ss/desktop+metroapps.jpg is hard to see :-D

     

     

    Thursday, October 06, 2011 4:48 PM
  • Hello to All,

    I agree with mt327000 100%. You make valid points sir. I, as a lowly home user have tried the Developer Preview and have enjoyed it. It is something new and refreshing from the same old Windows experience. However as a home user, (by the way where most of the copies of Windows end up...at home, by people 5 years old to 100+ Grandparents), it is confusing at times to run this OS flipping back and forth between the desktop/metro tiles. Just my opinion, I could be wrong. From what experience I have so far with the OS, the Metro UI should be accessible in the tool tray as a quick launch. The tiles will be best used as a fast shortcut to your favorite places, by hitting a quick launch icon. Then all your personal destinations are one click of the tile away without having to open your browser or folders to get where you want to go. The Metro UI is a great concept, maybe with time Windows can implement it better. As mt327000 concluded with, I am not here to attack Windows products in anyway, but they have put it out here to receive input and suggestion from ordinary users like me and you. Again, I do like the new product. It seems more responsive than Windows 7 in my opinion. Thank you for reading this.

    Thursday, October 06, 2011 5:52 PM
  • First, I totally agree that we should be allowed to use the old start menu and close metro apps.

    About "2. Touch First, Mouse Second":

    What suprised me the most is that the metro interface did not interpret mouse "click+drag+release" events as "put finger on screen+move finger on screen+take finger off screen". If it did, it will allow us to scroll naturally with the mouse on the Start Screen, without using the ugly scrollbar at the bottom.

    And talking about scrollbars, I don't like the metro scrollbars, especially the one at the bottom of the Start Screen, at all. For me, it's not obvious by looking at it if the screen is fully "scrolled" to the left or to the right.

    Sorry about any typing errors, IE9 doesn't have spellchecking.

    Saturday, October 08, 2011 8:28 PM
  • Fortunately, Microsoft has posted a new blog post about the Start Screen and the rationalization for it. I'm convinced now that it can be better than the Start Menu, but not in its current implementation. The Start Screen needs to be loaded overtop of a blurred, darkened desktop, Microsoft needs to get rid of "Contracts" and restore universal drag-and-drop, and the Desktop, not the Start Screen, needs to be the default UI. Also, Metro-style apps need to be run in a window. In other words, the existing Windows paradigm shouldn't be placed in a box. I still stand by everything I said in the above post, but the Start Screen can have advantages. It's just that the negatives outweigh the positives at this point, and the Start Screen should never cover up the entire screen. Despite the newest blog post from Microsoft, everything I said above still applies at this point, as it had less to do with the Start Screen and more to do with the overall Windows 8 experience.
    Tuesday, October 18, 2011 1:40 AM
  • >Microsoft will only let users return to the Start Screen or switch to another Metro app.
     
    Just why would one want to scroll through all the running apps to get
    to the metro app they want -- I agree, that's not easy, but there's a
    far easier way to get back to an app in Metro than that, just go back
    to the start screen and click on the tile for the app you want again,
    and it'll open the current instance of it.
     
     
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine


    Nah I dislike this idea.  I see it as a workaround.  It should be wise to have the swipping to reveal a LIST of the running apps and then you could select the running app you want without going back to the start screen.  This could be an option for those who swipping 15 apps to get to the lastest doesn't make sence.  But going back to the start screen just to go to a running app is a lost of time since you will probably have to scroll your start screen again to find your app.

     


    Marcheur extrême...
    • Edited by GearWorld Wednesday, October 26, 2011 10:15 AM
    Saturday, October 22, 2011 1:19 PM
  • First, I totally agree that we should be allowed to use the old start menu and close metro apps.

    About "2. Touch First, Mouse Second":

    What suprised me the most is that the metro interface did not interpret mouse "click+drag+release" events as "put finger on screen+move finger on screen+take finger off screen". If it did, it will allow us to scroll naturally with the mouse on the Start Screen, without using the ugly scrollbar at the bottom.

    And talking about scrollbars, I don't like the metro scrollbars, especially the one at the bottom of the Start Screen, at all. For me, it's not obvious by looking at it if the screen is fully "scrolled" to the left or to the right.

    Sorry about any typing errors, IE9 doesn't have spellchecking.


    I already mentionned that point to them stating that it's very easy to use the mouse like a finger.  I already implemented it for an image browser, feels exactly like I would use my finger, no scroollbar at all.

    Vive le MouseUp event :)

     


    Marcheur extrême...
    Saturday, October 22, 2011 1:28 PM
  • >But going back to the start screen just to go to a running app is a lost of time since you will probably have to scroll your start screen again to find your app.
     
    It actually works pretty well that way on iOS, it doesn't feel like a
    hindrance at all, it's less touches than scrolling a list of programs
    that are running.
     
    You can rearrange the metro start to have all your most used programs
    on the first screen.
     
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Saturday, October 22, 2011 1:31 PM
  • My only regret about the MSP is it's beauty.
    We were supose to get to a point where things have good looking and we are back like playing with a 8088.

    No shadows, no rounded corners, not a prety nice looking interface even thought it's a useful one.
    I will miss icons that could have been sizable with animations etc.  There's a lot of way the interface would have been nicer.

    I understand that it's important to make people go away from the start screen and stay more in the apps as to buy more and consume more
    the cash calls !

     


    Marcheur extrême...
    Saturday, October 22, 2011 1:33 PM
  • If you're interested in discussing the looks of Windows 8, I have added a few comments about Aero-style design to my original post. Frankly, I think that Aero is miles ahead of Metro in almost every way. Look under "Update 10/22/11" in my original post for more information. I also have another post about "Making Metro More Aero."


    Saturday, October 22, 2011 1:37 PM
  • Hi WindowsVista567!


    This is the first time I saw your post here. Since this post is being monitored by Windows team, I guess it's the best place for brainstorming and thrashing ideas for main UX of Windows 8. I like the way you explained the nitty-gritty of what average user wants from desktop OS. Your point of view mainly addresses the needs of desktop and laptop users which is understandable as desktop/laptop devices are pervading all around. But let's include "Windows 7 and Windows 8 on tablets" in perspective and see how Windows 8 Metro can be improved. Here is my take on the idea.

     

    Problem: There is a disconnection between desktop and metro-styled apps.

     

    Reason & Background: From Microsoft perspective, they grouped Desktop/Laptop and Tablet to run Windows OS and Windows Phone OS for smartphones. This approach, as compared to Apple's, is much better because like desktop & laptops, tablets are also capable-enough devices compared to smartphones, to engage with high-tech OS. Imagine Windows 7 running on tablet with virtual keyboard and touch support. What’s wrong with that? I guess there are two concerns from competition point of view.

     

    1. Technically Windows 7 with touch doesn't have any discrepancies for tablets but tablet OSes from other vendors have the same smartphone UI which is considered appealing and easy-to-use from many tablet users, leaving windows as non-user-friendly, complicated and high-tech OS for tablets.
    2. Tablet OSes from other vendors have app-marketplace which offers specific purpose small but interactive -- yet addictive -- apps consuming special kind of hardware resources (like gyro etc!). Also, clean UI, with no concept of installation wizard, task manager etc.. Operating System manages the installation and uninstallation process and it feels like you are just pinning the application from the marketplace/store and those OSes are evolving in their orbits.


    Microsoft has tons of apps developed for their powerful Windows OS, but lacking that kind of experience where OS seems light and naive. So, when you said "it looks like Windows 95" on b8-blog, I agreed with you because unfortunately this is the trend set by other tablet OS vendors => 'simple and naive with smooth look and feel'.


    Not like it was never thought before to develop new kind of operating system. The idea to shift the entire OS paradigm towards .NET from Microsoft was revealed with their open-source, experimental OSes: Microsoft Singularity and Microsoft Midori since 2003. The prove-of-concept was fair enough to show that; managed OS on .NET framework is possible and it is able to secure from the malign code with the isolated process model… Although, the conclusion of experimental OSes and the ETA on implementing it in mainstream Windows OS for general use was never announced, but it seems like the complete paradigm shift towards managed OS is not feasible (perhaps it would affect the performance of heavy lifting binary code running over virtual machine).


    Thus the challenge is piled up with tough competition that Microsoft is considering to keep both the worlds side-by-side.

     

    Back to the problem with possible solution and overall improvement for Metro environment:

     

    1. The metro-styled apps should not be disconnected from desktop apps at least there should be some commonalities.
    2. The existence of same app in both worlds should not be disconnected and should be able to (smoothly) transform from desktop world to the metro world. Like happens in IE. If IE in metro is opened, go-to-desktop-IE button should transform the same opened tabs-set into the desktop world (perhaps with a transition), as opposed to open only the current URL into a totally isolated windowed-IE.
    3. Like pointed out by OP; aero/live-thumbnail shows the preview of the desktop apps, it would definitely make sense to use the HDC shared by aero and other display-worthy information -- that those apps shared with OS -- and make the live tile for legacy desktop apps as well. Also, for the future desktop apps, there must be the metro-tile UX API for them as well.
    4. Like suggested on "Wish-list for Internet Explorer 10" post (http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/windowsdeveloperpreviewgeneral/thread/463dbc6d-8bc5-4aca-9b70-b8084ed268cf/) that "Quick tabs (Ctrl+Q) is a cool feature, should be enabled by default in IE." There should be a fullscreen, transparent, overlaying and unified view/screen in Windows 8, where we can see the aero/live-thumbnail view of all the open apps (both metro and desktop) together. Dragging the cursor or finger from top of the screen downwards should bring that layout.
    5. The marriage of OP’s idea "having Start Screen as a desktop background" with Steven Sinofsky's comment "..desktop code is not even loaded…" means that the only thing that will not load initially, would be a taskbar!


    In conclusion, collecting the point-of-views over the forums/blogs and/or via surveys offer to Windows and Windows Live stakeholders can speed things up to finalize the best user experience that should be exhibited by WindOS.


    - a citizen of Microsoft Developer Network.
    Sunday, October 23, 2011 2:07 AM
  • The problem is that "Most Used" applications vary from day to day.  Today, my most used applications are the suite of tools and utilities surrounding Visual Studio, tomorrow they are the suite of tools surrounding Microsoft Office, the next day Vue/Poser and various graphics editors.  I can't place them all in the opening screen.  In the traditional Start Menu I can make them easy to discover and design the Start Menu to help me remember what they are.
    Sunday, October 23, 2011 3:02 AM
  • Something else I thought of after looking at information about Windows 8:

    A Response to the Idea that Metro is Windows, So It Can't Be Disabled or Run in a Window

    ...


    The interesting thing is that the Desktop appears to be running in the background anyway - the first thing that is drawn on the screen when you log into Windows 8 is the traditional desktop and then the Metro start screen drops in on top (you can see this in a virtual machine if you run enough background tasks to slow it down).
    Sunday, October 23, 2011 3:04 AM
  • ...but applying the entire Metro application style to a program is a mistake. In this video (http://channel9.msdn.com/events/BUILD/BUILD2011/BPS-1004), where Jensen Harris shows the audience how much "better" the reimagined RSS reader in Metro is compared to the Win32 version, the "before" picture, showing a typical Winodws Vista/7 app, actually looks better than the "after" picture to me. ...



    Exactly - the original RSS reader allows you to read a lot very quickly with very little eye movement and very little distraction.  The Metro version looks pretty, but try to systematically read every post, or try to ascertain at a glance what all the posts are, and it can't be easily done if at all.
    Sunday, October 23, 2011 3:15 AM
  • I'm curious if they've considered implementing a Snap view of the Start and (non-third-party-app) Search screens. It seems that could address some of the concerns people have about wanting to keep context when starting a new app (especially for desktop apps that can be closely tied together and used together on the same task) while keeping some of the advantages of the new screens (and making it easy and smooth to switch between Snap and fullscreen views) and staying within the Win8 design paradigm. If it's always useful and appropriate for third parties to implement Snap views of their apps, why not Start?

    Sunday, October 23, 2011 7:44 PM
  • What's genuinely disappointing is that Microsoft seems to be forging ahead "boldly" into this Metro fiasco regardless of all the negative feedback, which we have to assume they're attributing to "resistance to change".

     

    What they may not realize is that many of us embrace change - when it's change for the better.  I have been an early adopter of every version of Windows, figuring out how to make each one really sing as quickly as humanly possible.  Like anyone, a few features I've avoided or reconfigured, most I've learned to use well - with great benefit to my productivity!

     

    But how anyone could think that those who try to do work at the limits of their abilities (that's how we get ahead in life, right?) could stand being blitzed by the Metro screen replacing everything on their display is beyond me.  Am I the only one who loses my concentration when all the information I've worked carefully to put on screen is just removed?  Am I the only one who'd rather not have to work to remember the details of some phrase or line of code from one screen to another, but would rather just glance over at it?

     

    -Noel



    Sunday, October 23, 2011 8:14 PM
  • I've just discovered an amazing front-end for tablets from Microsoft in Windows 7.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0yj0iUc6dY (after 2:55)

    I guess this is what many people want Metro to look like?


    - a citizen of Microsoft Developer Network.
    Tuesday, October 25, 2011 1:18 AM
  • Well, I can't speak for anyone else, but for me, no.  The problem is that a UI optimized for a keyboard and a mouse is not the same thing as a UI optimized for touch.  This 'one size fits all' is what doomed Windows tablets and Windows Mobile smart phones and it appears that Microsoft is intent on repeating this same mistake with Windows 8. 
    Tuesday, October 25, 2011 3:19 AM
  • The problem is that a UI optimized for a keyboard and a mouse is not the same thing as a UI optimized for touch. 


    Nor is a UI intended for a small portable screen necessarily acceptable for a big multi-monitor desktop workstation.

     

    Given the direction Microsoft is heading, they clearly no longer want to be a player in the latter environment.  It just makes me wonder what they intend to use to develop future versions of Windows.  Unix probably.  Or maybe the current decision makers figure it will just be someone else's problem after they retire.

     

    I for one miss Bill Gates' leadership and technical vision.

     

    -Noel

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011 4:27 PM
  • Most people comment on the use of space but if you take a look at what is already out you would realize the open space makes the OS inviting. Having every inch of your start screen filled with programs is just unappealing and looks too busy. Can't you find Common ground with the old start menu style?
    How about....

    Home button on the lower right side so user can hold the tablet with his/her left hand and press it with the right thumb.

    Drag up to pull up a list of categories (programs, games, maintenance, running programs, ect...)

    Slide right on the category you want to display a tile style menu of the apps under that category.

    This frees the desktop up for users to place gadgets, shortcuts and customize it to their liking. It is also close to how the old style of windows works so it would also work on a desktop with very little tweaking and it will be familiar enough not to confuse the heck out of people.

    It would be like adding metro to the desktop rather then adding the desktop to metro.I personally dislike the way the desktop is in metro. I have to disable metro all together just to use it.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 4:16 AM
  • You also have to look at the ergonomics problem with touchscreen desktops. Even the HP touch smart comes with a mouse and keyboard and the touch function is hardly ever used because if the user wishes to use the touch screen they have to hold their arms up, prop them up on the desk, or position the monitor over their lap in order to use it.

    Tablets are good for touch screens because you can hold them, Desktops need a mouse and keyboard because they are not portable. Tablets are getting popular but not everyone is going to rush out and get an $800 windows 8 tablet when they can get a $200 desktop that dose the same thing . The home desktop PC is not going away anytime soon and for Microsoft to make a tablet centered os and throw in some keyboard and mice tweaks and try and pass it off as a desktop os is beyond me.

    I can understand them wanting to save money by making 1 universal OS that can be installed on phone/tablet/desktop but METRO is in NO WAY a UI that can be used for all 3. They ether need make different UIs for each version or take a look at all the devices and create a UI that can work with all of them, not just make a touch screen UI and try and tweak it to work with non touch screen devices. 


    • Edited by SynTech Wednesday, October 26, 2011 4:33 AM
    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 4:30 AM
  • I agree, Metro UI and the whole sea of rectangles seems to work fine on handicapped devices. Windows Phone 7 (which I am a proud owner of one) is a handicapped device. It has no keyboard or mouse and a very limited screen space.

    The tablet is also a handicapped device (and I also have one), it has no keyboard (in normal use) and no mouse, and the screen space provided is relatively small. So again, a Metro UI seems appropriate.

    Both of the above devices have serious battery limitations so again this is a handicap that Metro UI seems to be compensating for just fine.

    Desktops on the other hand do not suffer from any of these handicaps so to add an interface like Metro UI is like giving walking aids to an able person. They will not help you walk better and actually they will prohibit you from running.

    Maybe you could use it as an option for novice users like training wheels on a bicycle. When they are ready though to drive the bicycle without aids, they should be able to remove them. If I am driving a motorbike though I am not going to be using training wheels on it because I will look silly and probably I will kill myself in the process. Microsoft on the other hand is treating me as a 3 year old and forces me to use their training wheels in the form of the Metro UI. Thanks but I do not want/do not need/will not ever buy a desktop with the Metro UI as the main interface.
    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 7:13 AM
  • >But going back to the start screen just to go to a running app is a lost of time since you will probably have to scroll your start screen again to find your app.
     
    It actually works pretty well that way on iOS, it doesn't feel like a
    hindrance at all, it's less touches than scrolling a list of programs
    that are running.
     
    You can rearrange the metro start to have all your most used programs
    on the first screen.
     
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine

    And if you don't want to rearrange them since they are like you whish to be ?
    Marcheur extrême...
    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 10:16 AM
  • I've just discovered an amazing front-end for tablets from Microsoft in Windows 7.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0yj0iUc6dY (after 2:55)

    I guess this is what many people want Metro to look like?


    - a citizen of Microsoft Developer Network.

    I give it a 3 out of 10.
    Marcheur extrême...
    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 10:25 AM
  • Most people comment on the use of space but if you take a look at what is already out you would realize the open space makes the OS inviting. Having every inch of your start screen filled with programs is just unappealing and looks too busy. Can't you find Common ground with the old start menu style?
    How about....

    Home button on the lower right side so user can hold the tablet with his/her left hand and press it with the right thumb.

    Drag up to pull up a list of categories (programs, games, maintenance, running programs, ect...)

    Slide right on the category you want to display a tile style menu of the apps under that category.

    This frees the desktop up for users to place gadgets, shortcuts and customize it to their liking. It is also close to how the old style of windows works so it would also work on a desktop with very little tweaking and it will be familiar enough not to confuse the heck out of people.

    It would be like adding metro to the desktop rather then adding the desktop to metro.I personally dislike the way the desktop is in metro. I have to disable metro all together just to use it.


    I would say that the actual START SCREEN is ok but it just need a little bit of tweaks and enhencement as well as an artistic side because actually it makes me sick.

    If every single person in this thread that had the same feeling as me and with their ideas it would make a perfect score.  I don't know if it'll be possible for MS to change it according to what is said by people here but let's just hope they will.

    1) Ok the tile is good because we see more on them but they don't need to be static and as rectangular as this.
    2) The Multitasking thing really need to be changed as to have, like Android or Apple, a nice list of running app which you just select one to close
    3) Closing apps is a MOST HAVE
    4) Make the START SCREEN inviting.  Actually I just want to go away from that thing.  Make it alive with changable background, tile with shadows and a bit of rounded corder
    5) And finally add all the small but very interesting ideas that many people wrote in this thread.  This would really make the start screen a place I would like to live in forever.

     


    Marcheur extrême...
    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 10:33 AM
  • You also have to look at the ergonomics problem with touchscreen desktops. Even the HP touch smart comes with a mouse and keyboard and the touch function is hardly ever used because if the user wishes to use the touch screen they have to hold their arms up, prop them up on the desk, or position the monitor over their lap in order to use it.

    Tablets are good for touch screens because you can hold them, Desktops need a mouse and keyboard because they are not portable. Tablets are getting popular but not everyone is going to rush out and get an $800 windows 8 tablet when they can get a $200 desktop that dose the same thing . The home desktop PC is not going away anytime soon and for Microsoft to make a tablet centered os and throw in some keyboard and mice tweaks and try and pass it off as a desktop os is beyond me.

    I can understand them wanting to save money by making 1 universal OS that can be installed on phone/tablet/desktop but METRO is in NO WAY a UI that can be used for all 3. They ether need make different UIs for each version or take a look at all the devices and create a UI that can work with all of them, not just make a touch screen UI and try and tweak it to work with non touch screen devices. 



    These are excellent points.  The way you design an application for a keyboard and a mouse is very different from what you would design for a touch screen.  Mice have an extremely high degree of precision - down to the pixel level.  A finger simply doesn't have this level of precision.  When you create a UI for touchscreen, you need big icons and big controls that are easy to select with a finger.  With a keyboard and a mouse, you don't need big controls. 

    I'd love to see Microsoft (or anyone) create an application as complex as Visual Studio for a touch screen.

    Another thing to consider is screen real estate.  A typical smart phone has a screen that's only 3-4.5 inches.  A tablet's screen is about 7-11 inches.  A typical desktop monitor is about 20-24 inches.   Trying to create a single UI that works for a 7" screen and 24" screen is not a good idea.  And I put that mildly. :)

     

     

     

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 12:19 PM
  • >And if you don't want to rearrange them since they are like you whish to be ?
     
    That's your choice of course.
     
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 1:15 PM
  • Thanks but I do not want/do not need/will not ever buy a desktop with the Metro UI as the main interface.

    You say that, but when Windows 8 with its Metro start button is the only game in town... Your choice will be what - keep Windows 7 until it can no longer be installed on a new computer?  Switch to Linux instead?   Get a Mac with OSX (Unix)?

     

    That said, I might personally actually be willing to jump ship and make my home in a whole new system, especially since there are tools like VMware Fusion or Parallels or even WINE to give access to "must-have" PC applications. Just think, with Windows 8 running only in a VM we'd achieve...

    ...wait for it...

    Metro in a window on a system where the Desktop is still the center of operation!

     

    Note that unsaid in all this is any discussion that Apple will make a Metro-like interface for OSX.  Even without Steve Jobs' direct influence, I just don't ever see them tossing out the desktop like so much bath water.

     

    -Noel 

     

    P.S., Assuming the "Red Pill" option goes away, I have a strong feeling that 3rd party apps (an evolution of ClassicShell, maybe?) will become available for Windows 8 very quickly that will allow serious power users to avoid the Metro interface - unless they want to visit it - and just stay for the most part on the Desktop.  I suspect Microsoft's own developers will be among the first to use it

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 2:21 PM
  • You say that, but when Windows 8 with its Metro start button is the only game in town... Your choice will be what - keep Windows 7 until it can no longer be installed on a new computer? 
    That's what a lot of people did with Vista.  I suspect the same thing is going to happen with Windows 8 (if they continue down this path).
    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 3:34 PM
  • Please guys.. rather than drawing conclusions based on the developer's preview, just post your suggestions how you think improvement can be made. This way WinTeam can draw a clear and consolidated point-of-view from developers, testers and users. This thread is getting bulkier with distracted comments. Lets read the title of this thread again and comment accordingly! No offense but at least regard OP's effort and help evolving it :-)

    Thank you.


    - a citizen of Microsoft Developer Network.
    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 6:32 PM
  • I agree that metro should be able to be disabled during windows setup because that way home users will love the metro interface and enterprise users like IT at work will not get frustrated by metro and drop support of implementing it as long as they can.

    I think in the end microsoft will allow disableing of the metro ui somehow and then the problem will be solved.  Until then can microsoft focus on what is implemented in the real OS desktop underneath metro since metro is really a fancy interface running on top of the desktop or with it? I would like to have a zune like metro experience where its an optional ui or optional applcation then have a new interface dropped on me thats dramatically changed the accessibility of windows by ignoring the standard three mouse clicks development rule in html, desktop or any application for that matter.

     

    If metro applications use mreo then 3 swipes to get to anything on the tablet versions i wont use them either and im a strong  IT/programmer/power user of windows (html,asp.net,vb.net,c#,c++,vbscript,).


    If i buy this i expect microsoft to take the time to allow disabling of the metro ui in at least enterprise and professional editions forever so that the home people can navigate the easier interface without affecting people use to the windows 7 interface wondering how to do things.

    • Edited by The Thinker Wednesday, October 26, 2011 7:59 PM
    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 7:41 PM
  • @Real McCoy: Can you please stop repeating this silly remark “rather than drawing conclusions based on the developer's preview”. Here are the facts:

     _They gave us a developer preview that is trying to replace the desktop with a silly and inferior UI fit only for tablets.

    _Steven is coming out telling us all that “this is the future, get used to it”.

    Which part of “this is what you are going to be getting unless you object loud enough and even then you may still get that” you don’t understand?

    Now if you want constructive criticism about Metro UI, here is one: “It is not a replacement for the desktop, end of story” and if you want a constructive suggestion in this posts here is another one “They should either remove it from the desktop versions of the OS or make it optional”.

    There is nothing to evolve as far as the desktops are concerned, just remove it and everything will be fine. If we are talking about tablet devices, then yes there may be a lot of things they can improve upon.

    • Edited by mil_ Wednesday, October 26, 2011 8:27 PM
    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 8:23 PM
  • Couldn't have said it better, mil_.

     

    We also have past experience to go on:  Once we saw Windows 7's beta versions, virtually NOTHING substantive was changed, even though thousands of users pointed out some pretty obvious Windows Explorer problems.  In fact, very little has changed even since release of Windows 7.  They probably think Windows 7 is a resounding success, but what they don't realize is that it could have been even better if only they'd listened and been a little more flexible.

     

    Microsoft clearly has a track record of "Please provide us feedback, and you can have any color you like as long as it's this one", then staying the course even with bad ideas.

     

    -Noel


    • Edited by Noel Carboni Wednesday, October 26, 2011 8:31 PM
    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 8:29 PM
  • I agree that metro should be able to be disabled during windows setup because that way home users will love the metro interface and enterprise users like IT at work will not get frustrated by metro and drop support of implementing it as long as they can.

    I think in the end microsoft will allow disableing of the metro ui somehow and then the problem will be solved. 

    The central issue is not really whether people will prefer one interface or the other, but that Microsoft clearly feels that all applications, minor or major, should be re-implemented to run as Metro apps (to be sold through their app store), while people like you (and I) regard Metro as no more than a toy interface suitable only for running big font gadgets like a weather app, stock ticker, or games.  THAT disparity is where the real stress lies here - the Metro theme / paradigm / scheme is simply insufficient... 

     

    To put it in real terms, when I have real work to do I often put lots of windows up side by side on multiple monitors, and I'm just not looking forward to having to have them pop open one at a time full screen and trying to remember things from one while using the other.

     

    -Noel



    • Edited by Noel Carboni Wednesday, October 26, 2011 8:42 PM
    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 8:41 PM
  • @mil_

    I would like to point out that there is plenty that needs to be evolved on the desktop, it just isn't related to Metro. I think Windows 7 was a step backward from Vista in some ways.

    @Everyone

    I thought it might be helpful to include a picture of my computer to show you how I actually use Windows and where I'm coming from with these criticisms. I would also like to point out that I am a home user, not an enterprise customer. Some parts of the image will look funny because I removed my name and location from the image.

    **Image removed per WindowsVista567's request**

    Notice the Start Menu, which is taller than it is by default. This means that I still use it more than I use some other UI mechanisms. I disabed the Windows 7-style taskbar because, as it turns out, I wasn't using it any differently than I used it in Windows Vista. The idea of users using the taskbar instead of the Start Menu for many tasks described in some of the blog posts does not apply to me, evidently. The only applications I have pinned to the Taskbar are the three default programs, which are Internet Explorer, Windows Explorer, and Windows Media Player. Photoshop Elements was open as an image editor for the image I added above. I also keep a series of gadgets along the side of the screen in the format of Windows Sidebar, and I use Internet Explorer 9 (the version pictured) with all of the old toolbars turned on. I pinned Internet Explorer and Windows Live Mail to the Start Menu, just like Windows XP and Windows Vista.

    Evidently, I still use Windows the Vista way. Many of the changes introduced in Windows 7 are ones that I have simply ignored, and Windows Vista does things better than Windows 7 in more than one area. As for Jump Lists, I can't remember ever actually using one.

    Also notice how I keep three rows of icons on my desktop at all times, with the Recycle Bin in the opposite corner. This is very organized and uniform, the polar opposite of the Start Screen. If I do ever paste a file on my desktop (and there is one behind the Start Menu), it's usually as a reminder to delete it. I never clutter my desktop with rows upon rows of icons like many other users do.

    Does it look like I would ever see any advantages to the "chromeless" design of Metro? I turned on all of the toolbars that are disabled by default in IE9, so why would I suddenly want to use the Metro-style version?



    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 8:51 PM
  • @Mil_: But removing Metro from the desktop isn't a realistic option.  Microsoft has invested far too much time and effort into Metro for them to just remove it from desktops.  Plus, they've already gone public with their plans.   Sorry, it ain't going to happen.
    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 8:53 PM
  • 92 replies? I get the feeling that this thread is about to be locked!
    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 8:54 PM
  • @Whatever moderator decides to lock this thread

    Would you ever consider making a thread like this "sticky" so that the many suggestions that have been contributed here can be seen easily by Microsoft and other forum visitors? Most locked threads are quickly buried in a pile of other threads, since the default mechanism for making them visible, adding another post, becomes impossible once the thread is locked.



    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 8:59 PM
  • @I-DotNet: I think you are confusing the WinRT which is a core part of the new OS with the Metro UI madness. The Metro UI is just a skin that can easily be removed.

    Unless of course you mean that they pretend it cannot be removed like they did with the Internet Explorer, until they had to be forced to do so after long legal action. Of course in that case I agree with you.

    Also I agree with you in the basis that when they put their heads down and have started heading on the path of self-destruction is usually very difficult to convince them to change direction.

    The Metro UI can be switched off and it should not affect the WinRT. There is no technical reason to tie the two together other than “how can they make you visit their virtual market place every time you click on the start button”?

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 8:59 PM
  • @Noel Carboni

    Thought I'd try to get this in before the thread is locked, but if you remember, many older software programs from Microsoft had multiple betas before they were released. Windows 7 was an exception because it was a response to Vista and Microsoft didn't want to make any serious changes, and most people agreed that Windows 7 was great in pre-beta.

    This is far from the case for Windows 8. The general reaction from users has been negative overall, so for Microsoft to look at all of the feedback and say "We're doing this even though no one wants us to," would be a bad idea. Office 2007 had multiple betas and plenty of things were substantially changed after Beta 1, so it is possible that we could expect the same thing from Windows 8. If the results are negative enough, Microsoft might even reverse course on its "fall 2012" launch plans. It would give Microsoft time to boost Windows 7's popularity, get users off of XP, and fix Windows 8 so it can be the best OS ever made (which it is nowhere close to being at this point). In fact, even Windows 2000 is better than Windows 8, and that will remain true if Microsoft decides not to overhaul Metro for desktop users.

    Am I the only one who thinks that it is just plain wrong to even have a mouse cursor and the Metro UI on the same screen? The two are from completely different worlds, in my opinion, and it seems odd to think of ever combining them.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 9:07 PM
  • @WindowsVista567: No question about it, I would love to have a discussion about “improving the desktop on Windows 8” at this point instead of writing essays why Windows 8 is turning to be the most schizophrenic operating system in the history of computers.

    Actually I do like Windows 7 but I also liked Vista and apart from some performance issues, I preferred it to the XP.

    One thing only that I found unacceptable in Vista is that they had taken lots of XP options that were presented as multi-tab pages and they moved each page around, hiding from everybody in an effort to make it simple. Options that were fundamentally connected at functionality and context level were scattered all over the place.

    In Windows 7 they reduced the madness considerably. And of course with Windows 8 we are getting the “Asylum Edition” of Windows.  What is wrong with these guys? Is it the medication, weather, something in the water?

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 9:11 PM
  • @mil_: I'm sorry if I wasn't clear.  I wasn't referring to the technical feasibility of turning off Metro.  Of course, Microsoft can turn it off it they want to.  But they're never agree to do that. 
    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 9:37 PM
  • @mil_

    You can probably guess how I feel about Windows Vista just by looking at my public display name. The screen capture is another interesting clue about what I think of Windows 7 compared to Vista.

    I still think that the actual Windows Sidebar needs to make a return in Windows 8, as an option for users who want it. It makes more sense than the current setup, where there is no sidebar at all. I liked having Windows automatically decide how to place a gadget in the sidebar, rather than having to try to imitate the uniform look. Also, the ability to scroll through multiple screens in the Sidebar was a great feature. Plus, Vista didn't try to display multiple gadgets in the same spot every time I changed my screen resolution.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 9:37 PM
  • Hello,

     

    To assist with thread management we are going to lock this thread. If you would like to continue the discussion or have additional questions feel free to create a new thread.

    Thanks for all the feedback and concerns. Microsoft is monitoring these forums for issues and concerns.  This will be reported up so that the right people are made aware of your concern.

    Thanks!

     

    Update:  WindowsVista567 has created a new thread to continue this discussion, which is linked below:
    http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/windowsdeveloperpreviewgeneral/thread/a72da911-0355-4e85-b337-ab7605bdbe9c


    Steven

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 9:47 PM