Windows 8’s Dual UIs – Can’t They Both Just Get Along? RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • This is not a thread about loving or hating Metro. It’s not about which UI is better or which one allows you to be more productive.


    It’s about the problems we have transitioning between the two.  It’s about the inconsistencies in interacting with them and whether or not what we expect to happen occurs or not.


    But mostly it’s about making what Microsoft has given us better...as close to perfect as we can help them make it. It’s about our ideas on how to keep the platform as powerful ad productive as we demand while keeping it simple and intuitive enough for the “not-so-power-user” in the next cubicle, or our parents.


    Because love it or hate it, this is the direction Windows is heading, and its going there with or without us.


    I firmly believe this one topic is the most important issues Microsoft needs to focus on. We know it will be a powerful & stable OS. We know it will run the software we use and apps we create. The success or failure of Windows 8 will ride on how simply, elegantly and intuitively it transitions between two completely different experiences and how consistently it behaves in both.



    Bring your ideas, your experience making things easier for your users/customers & your vision of what we can help Windows 8 become. We only have about a year to help Microsoft get this right.


    Thank You,



    I’ll start with what I think has become the “bane of our existence” the Start button (let’s call it the Logo button from now on) in Classic Desktop mode. I think most of us agree that this experience is less than perfect.

    True we can turn off Metro and it will behave as it always has, but I would prefer we find a way to control the experience better.


    My suggestion (and the view of many others I've seen post here) is to let the Logo button behave as it currently does in Windows 7. The only change would be to replace the shutdown/log off button with a “Start” button, adorned with the user profile image for their account, that returns users to Metro. It’s simple, it’s discoverable and most importantly, it’s how users expect the Logo button to behave.


    I’ve done countless UAT sessions and one of the most important aspects to making users feel comfortable is confirmation that they “Did the right thing?” If that question is not answered after every action, they start to get anxious.


    Simply put, having the Logo button return users to a completely different UI when they have been trained since 1995 to see a program list does not answer “Did I do the right thing?” sufficiently. The follow up questions will start to be “Where did my program go?” “Did I close it?” “Did I loose my work?” “How do I get back?” etc.


    Windows 8 gives users control as when to start the classic desktop by launching a win32 app.  It should also give the user control of when to end it.


    Again UAT tells me that users tend to perform tasks in “sessions”, meaning that most will use one or a few apps to complete a specific task before opening apps that are not related to their task. A majority of users will most likely view tasks they are performing in the classic desktop as one “session”, then choose to exit the desktop and return to Metro.


    Also, I feel when a user launches a Metro app from the Logo button in classic mode. The app should appear in its “snapped” view. That is 1/4 or 1/3 screen size along side the classic desktop. A user should expect to see multiple windows in classic mode, so bringing in a Metro app beside the desktop would be a less jarring experience then having it take over the full screen.  Lastly, the state of Metro apps at this point lend themselves well to appearing as a “sidebar” I foresee a lot of the initial Metro apps being information aggregators, media consumption apps and casual games. Something that may require just a casual glance. The user can then elect to bring it full screen, of course.


    I’ll try to post a video of how all this would look, which may give you a better “feel” of the operation.


    So what to you all think?  Is this a viable solution? Does it stink?  Do you have different/better solutions?


    I want to know and I want Microsoft to sit up and take notice of the suggestions.

    Oh, I almost forgot. Chime in about what your other "pain points" are as far as the UI/UX is concerned. I feel that together we can solve these problems and help to form an experience the mojority will be thrilled using.
    • Changed type RobbCab Wednesday, September 21, 2011 6:39 PM
    • Edited by RobbCab Wednesday, September 21, 2011 6:51 PM Forgot to mention...
    Wednesday, September 21, 2011 6:37 PM