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Suggestion for better integration of desktop in metro

    General discussion

  • Steven Sinofsky stated multiple times now that we should view the desktop as an app(lication). A metro style one even. When working on the desktop with windows 8, it doesn't feel right. The problem is that people expect a desktop experience when opening a desktop.
    When following Sinofsky's trail of thought, it doesn't feel right either. It doesn't feel like a metro application because it doesn't have any metro-style properties, like an app-bar for example. 

    Let's really look at the desktop as a mega-fat-ass metro application and let's look at metro AS metro. This means the following general rules:
    - the pc boots in metro
    - the windows key always toggles between metro start screen and the last activated/current metro application
    - metro applications can/will have an app-bar
    - the pc is shutdown through metro
    - metro start screen should ONLY hold metro app tiles

    What happens here is simply that (a pimped :p) Windows 7 becomes a metro application within Windows 8.

    Now consider this mockup:

     

    I consider this to be a much more sensible experience.  And it gives us something long overdue: multi-desktop.

    It would make a lot more sense for metro to ONLY expose metro applications. 

    Metro here is still the "control room".  It's where you start your session and it is where you end it.

    If the desktop is a metro application, then allow me to use that application without having a need to leave the application all the time. 

    I consider this to be a much more elegant solution.  It integrates more with metro because it now also has an app-bar.  Metro is now more consistent as well since it only holds metro-tiles.  We have the desktop menu back (see what I did there?  I called it 'desktop' menu instead of 'start' menu), the win-key is still the universal way to return to metro start screen, when in metro you are REALLY immersed in metro (no desktop application tiles) AND the desktop gets pimped.

    The multi-desktop thingy is probably too much to ask, but the 'desktop menu' thing is something they could easily implement imo.


    Thursday, September 22, 2011 12:02 AM

All replies

  • I like a lot about this idea. Not sure about the hover to activate, but that's a petty issue. ANd yes I saw what you did there. I've taken to callit the "Logo" button.

    Interestingly, this looks a little like something I came up with in a different thread about the taskbar in Metro. My solution wasn't a taskbar as such since all the "pinned" apps are already on the Metro desktop. But a way to use Alt+Tab fast switching in the Metro UI.  It appears when you open the Charms menu from the right side of the screen and lets you choose which app to bring to the foreground and kill apps.

     

    In touch usage you could switch two apps with multitouch and in traditional input mode you could use a Alt+Tab+Shift key combo to mouse click more than one app.

    I'll be adding a more in depth version of this to the UI thread I created after I make a video showing how I think the classic desktop should work.

    Why do I get the feeling that we are two of a very few that are actually trying to fix these things, while the rest are just complaining about what they don't like?




    • Edited by RobbCab Thursday, September 22, 2011 6:04 PM Damn typos...
    Thursday, September 22, 2011 3:50 PM
  • I really like this idea, especially the multiple desktop portion.  Another thing that I think would be really beneficial to make the desktop feel like part of the Metro experience is to abandon the Aero theme.  It screams Windows 7.  The Taskbar and windows should really be "Metro-fied."

    I also think that the Desktop tile on the Start Screen needs live tile notifications to alert you to open dialogs and windows.  I have to say that I've been surprised quite a few times by open dialog boxes and windows greeting me when I happen to hit the desktop tile on the Start Screen.

    Thursday, September 22, 2011 4:47 PM
  •  

    Why do I get the feeling that we are two of a very few that are actually trying to fix these things, while the rest are just complaining about what they don't like?



    I guess it's easier to complain then to think things through :-)

    The thing for me is that I want win8 to succeed, I think it's a brilliant idea with a good foundation.  And I always find it fun to think up UI designs.

    Liking your suggestion a lot as well.  It indeed makes sense to bring it up with the charms.  It could be scrollable as well if there are too many applications open to show them all.

    Sinofsky should fly us in tbh.   :P


    Thursday, September 22, 2011 10:09 PM
  • >>The Taskbar and windows should really be "Metro-fied."

    Indeed.  I personally don't care much how the chrome of the windows looks like, but it surely would be better to unify effects, colors etc.

    >>I also think that the Desktop tile on the Start Screen needs live tile notifications to alert you to open dialogs and windows

    I think what should happen here is quite simply that we need a new API so that (active) desktop applications can put information on the metro tile - which would also make the desktop in general feel more like a metro application. 

    For example, suppose my desktop outlook is opened and I am in metro.  When a new mail arrives, outlook should be able to call an API which would put a notification on the tile.
    Another example: jetbrains systray notifier.  If the build breaks after a commit, this systray application will pop-up a notification.  It should also have access to the API to show those notifications on the desktop tile. 

    The desktop tile could have a stack of notifications through which it could cycle every few seconds while in metro.

    This would go a long way in increasing the feel of integration of desktop in metro.

    Come to think of it, that's an important sentence: integrate the desktop in metroNot the other way round!

    Friday, September 23, 2011 7:17 AM
  • I like those ideas. I think it would also be better if the most common windows programs ( Media player or Media Center, e-mail program, windows explorer, etc...) were integrated into Metro. Maybe they will be for the retail version. As I mentioned in another thread, for people like me whom uses their desktop on TV, it would be great to have a remote control for metro. I also use a lot voice control with windows 7.

    I think if Windows is to succeed, it needs more people with good ideas. :)

    Friday, September 23, 2011 10:05 AM
  • Although I would love a metro style media player, I think including them in win8 might be problematic - especially in Europe.  However, msft could offer them for free in the windows store.

    About windows 8 being hooked up to a TV and having a remote control... I have one word for you: kinect.  :-)

     

    Friday, September 23, 2011 10:26 AM
  • I guess it's easier to complain then to think things through :-)

    The thing for me is that I want win8 to succeed, I think it's a brilliant idea with a good foundation.  And I always find it fun to think up UI designs.

    Liking your suggestion a lot as well.  It indeed makes sense to bring it up with the charms.  It could be scrollable as well if there are too many applications open to show them all.

    Sinofsky should fly us in tbh.   :P


     

    I feel the same way. My only goals are to enhance my understanding of the UI/UX design process, and trying to use the knowledge I have to help make the experience in Windows 8 better.

    I also agree that it's a great concept, but i fear that in true Microsoft fashion, they will fall short on the execution. This is such a radical change I don't think Microsoft can wait until SP3 comes out to get it right.

    I actually sent Sinofsky a personal email suggesting they put together a group of outside "Experience Beta Testers" to concentrate solely on the UI/UX. Not surpriningly, I have recieved no reply.



    • Edited by RobbCab Friday, September 23, 2011 2:28 PM
    Friday, September 23, 2011 2:24 PM
  • There is already a Metro style media player...its called Zune. They could probably get away with bundling it, even in Eroupe, due to the fact Windows already has WMP built in and Apple bundles iTunes.
    Friday, September 23, 2011 2:26 PM
  • There is already a Metro style media player...its called Zune. They could probably get away with bundling it, even in Eroupe, due to the fact Windows already has WMP built in and Apple bundles iTunes.


    Actually, they were obligated in the EU to at least also put out a version that didn't have the media player (or any other bundled application).

    I even think, if memory serves me right, that it was the EU conflict that prompted msft to deliver these applications through live essentials instead of pre-installed.

    Anyhow, however they deliver it, nobody can force them to ask money for it.  I think it's stupid as hell to demand that they deliver it through a download - as if it makes that much of a difference.

    Friday, September 23, 2011 2:56 PM