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[SUGGESTION] Make Metro optional

    General discussion

  • Hello.

     

    I like Metro, but not on my Desktop PC. Metro is great for tablets and other phone-like devices but I don't think it is the right way for desktops.

     

    I have many applications installed on my desktop and really need some sort of Start menu. Metro was designed for touch gestures, not for mouse and keyboard making it difficult to work with on a desktop. The fact I have to keep switching between the two environments (Aero/Metro) is highly annoying, not very productive and it just does not feel right. The environments look and work differently and do not form one uniform experience. I doubt they can ever fit together. It is distracting.

     

    Don't get me wrong I like Metro but not on a desktop PC. Please make it possible to choose between the usual Aero (with Start menu) and Metro experiences and don't try to blend them together too much.

     

    Thanks.


    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 11:57 AM

All replies

  • After having heared some other opinions here I think the best way to continue from here on would be to keep the desktop simply intact.

    I don't care if windows boots into metro if it means that once I launch the desktop, I don't need to return to metro.

    Keep the desktop intact and add a non-deletable entry to the start menu, or an extra button somewhere, to explicitly return to metro. 

    That would kinda solve most concerns I (and a lot of other users apparantly) seem to have.

    And for heavens sake, if the desktop is to be viewed as an "application" within metro, then for the love of god - allow multiple instances of that application!

    It's been more then 15 years since linux introduced this... isn't it time for windows to join the party?

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 12:22 PM
  • I don't care if windows boots into metro if it means that once I launch the desktop, I don't need to return to metro.

    But where is then the point in booting into Metro at the first place?

     

    And for heavens sake, if the desktop is to be viewed as an "application" within metro, then for the love of god - allow multiple instances of that application!

    +1

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 12:42 PM
  • But where is then the point in booting into Metro at the first place?


    Indeed.  In the end, it always comes down to "what is metro doing on my desktop?"

    If they allow multiple desktop instances, you could perhaps see metro as the "windowless" part of windows which also fullfills the roll of "desktop manager"?  The "control room" if you wish.

    Although I fail to see what exactly I would be "controlling" in there...  I'ld just use it as a hub to switch between desktops, much like the app-hub we have now when pressing alt+tab.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 1:03 PM
  • You could consider Metro a Home Screen, or Guide for Windows like the Xbox Guide, for all that's worth (it will be worth more when there's a majority of applications supporting it, just the same as jump-lists and previews etc got (have not yet and probably won't) support in Win7*). You can get your quick updates then return to the desktop. And if you have touch UI or not it can be useful, once tailored for mousing.

    *Pity too because those grouped previews of functional applications like messaging apps would have been much better (automatically tabbed by the OS) than a messy tossing of windows around the desktop. Why not use them if they are grouped right there on the taskbar preview? As well such tab grouping of windows controlled by the OS not just previews would still be a great trick for Win 8. 

    What I noticed is that Metro is linked to the bottom left corner which means MS continues to ignore that users move the task bar around and expect the link back to the Metro interface will move with it (to be above the vestigial start texture).

    And I guess it makes sense to keep Metro mandatory (not that we hav a choice unless someone removes it with a hack), because you'll be buying apps from the store regardless. Apps in the store should have a useful Metro tile, moreso than a conventional start menu link. 


    exploring wmplayer 12 secure internet sharing

    • Edited by lzim Tuesday, September 20, 2011 1:22 PM
    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 1:08 PM
  • I feel Metro as a starting point on any device is a wonderful "Start Experience".  The way Metro Apps or "Live Tiles" (to borrow a Windows Phone term) aggregate and deliver information IMHO is a beautiful "Welcome" to the start of my computing experience.

    Be it desktop, laptop or tablet, all important information you may want to view can be available in a "glance-able" fromat and you can quickly decise what to act on and how you'll want to proceed.

    Now where I completly agree with you is"The fact I have to keep switching between the two environments (Aero/Metro) is highly annoying, not very productive and it just does not feel right. The environments look and work differently and do not form one uniform experience."

    Microsoft must give the user control over the classic desktop experience. The current "all or nothing" way to either jump back & forth between Metro & classic desktop or turning off Metro completly is not a path they should continue on.

    Where we disagree though, is that I truly believe they can fit together, both intuitively and elegantly. But it is up to Microsoft to hit all the right notes on the transition between these two excellent but different experiences.

    In 15 years of UI/UX design I've found that users tend to work in "computing sessions" meaning once they enter an experience, they stay in that experience until their task is complete.  And that fact seem apparent from the comments here. The UI needs to stay consistant during a "classic desktop session".

    Envisioning a typical "classic desktop session"  for the average user, I can see them launching Word from the Metro start screen, then Excel, maybe a browser, another job related legacy app in a single "session". 

    It makes zero sense to jump between UIs 4 or five times as the the default behavior.

    The most logical answer is to give the user control as to when the "classic experience" ends. If the desktop is an app, let the user "exit" the app with something like this:

    Its simple and is what the user expects to see when they click the "Start" button.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 1:56 PM
  • Completely agree with RobbCab.

    I wish to decide when I leave the desktop to return to metro.  Not windows.

    This option combined with multiple instances of the desktop "app" would be a KILLER combination.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 2:16 PM
  • Booting to Metro, to me at least, is less of a control rool and more of a "dispatcher". Like I mentioned in my above post the aggregation and delivery of information the Metro UI can provide is an amazing launch pad for the start of your "computing day".

    Think of how you work now.  When you start your PC in WIndows 7 (lets say in a work environment), do you launch Outlook to check your email and appointments? Open a browser or newsreader to get information of interest? Check your Twitter or other social feeds to catch up?

    All this information and more can be available and up-to-date on one screen as soon as soon as you PC boots (which can be under 10 seconds! whoo hoo!), allowing you to act on whatever information you deem most important more quickly and efficiently.

    If Windows Phone is "Putting People First" than Windows 8 is "Putting Info First".

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 2:19 PM
  • Thanks Aroush,

    But remember, it's not just about what we "wish" to do.  As developers, we sometimes work a different way than the average PC user. My main point of contention is that a behavior like this is what users expect to happen when clicking the start button.

    Imagine this... You're on a retail website. How would you feel as a user if when you clicked the "Add to cart" button if the entire experience changed in browser?

    Users in general are interested in one thing when they click anything in any app or on any site..."Did I do the right thing?" If an unexpected behavior occurs ie, jumping from classic desktop to Metro, how many will assume they closed the app they were using, or hit the wrong button?  Answer: Most

    When a user clicks the Windows Logo Button, they expect to see a menu. Windows 8 needs to confirm that belief by dissplaying the sort of menu I've proposed which naturally leads to the confirmation they did the right thing when "Start" leads them back to Metro.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 2:36 PM
  • Booting to Metro, to me at least, is less of a control rool and more of a "dispatcher". Like I mentioned in my above post the aggregation and delivery of information the Metro UI can provide is an amazing launch pad for the start of your "computing day".

    Think of how you work now.  When you start your PC in WIndows 7 (lets say in a work environment), do you launch Outlook to check your email and appointments? Open a browser or newsreader to get information of interest? Check your Twitter or other social feeds to catch up?

    All this information and more can be available and up-to-date on one screen as soon as soon as you PC boots (which can be under 10 seconds! whoo hoo!), allowing you to act on whatever information you deem most important more quickly and efficiently.

    If Windows Phone is "Putting People First" than Windows 8 is "Putting Info First".

    You are on fire dude.  :-)

    Indeed, when booting, the first thing that happens is firing up outlook, newsfeeds, etc.  More then that even: they are linked in my startup folder so they boot automatically (heavily increasing boot-time to get to "ready" status).

    Indeed, a metro start screen would be most excellent in such a scenario.

    MSFT, are you listening?  :-)

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 2:38 PM
  • Thanks again. I really think what Microsoft is doing with Windows 8 can be an evolutionary leap in personal computing. I'm very excited about it, just as I was about the new paradigms they introduced in WIndows Phone.

    My biggest fear though is that they will not pay enough attention to the transition between the two environments they're offering. And to me, it is probably the most crucial aspect to the user experience.  I'm afraid, if they get this wrong, the perception will be that Windows 8 is another "Vista".

     

    I really want to help MS get this as close to perfect as possible.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 2:52 PM
  • But even if the live tiles can tell me that I have emails and blog posts and tweets to read, I am STILL going to open Outlook and Google Reader and...ok, I don't actually use Twitter, but the point being that even if the desktop is aggregating that information, it is very unlikely to actually replace those applications. Which means I am still going to open them to actually do work. Which means there really isn't much point in "stopping off" at the desktop first.
    Moderator | MCTS .NET 2.0 Web Applications | My Blog: http://www.commongenius.com
    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 3:14 PM
  • Yes, you are going to have to open applications to act on the information provided by Metro.  The benefit comes from the fact that you are getting the information up front and can make a better decision about what to act on & how best to do it. before ever opening a single application.

    Emails for example, can have a few preview lines (Sender, Subject, etc.) News aggregators can display latest headlines and so forth.

    So "stopping off" at the desktop first will aid you in deciding what action to take first and just as importantly, what actions do not need to be taken.

    Do you know how unread emails you currently have before opening your mail reader?  No.  So you open it and check.

    With a Metro start experience you would know whether or not that action even needs to be taken.

     

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 3:30 PM
  • Thanks again. I really think what Microsoft is doing with Windows 8 can be an evolutionary leap in personal computing. I'm very excited about it, just as I was about the new paradigms they introduced in WIndows Phone.

    My biggest fear though is that they will not pay enough attention to the transition between the two environments they're offering. And to me, it is probably the most crucial aspect to the user experience.  I'm afraid, if they get this wrong, the perception will be that Windows 8 is another "Vista".

     

    I really want to help MS get this as close to perfect as possible.


    Couldn't agree more.

    I've stated multiple times in other threads that I absolutely love the work they did.  This could be a giant home run and, indeed, the biggest thing to have happened to computing since windows 95.

    I'm not at all worried about current 'problems' in WinRT or within the metro system itself or whatever.  Those are minor issues of which I'm sure they'll offer nice solutions.

    What will break or make win8 is definatly how this new system will integrate with the traditional (I carefully made sure not to use the word "old") and how natural it will be transitioning between both.

    They absolutely need to get this right.

    Win8 has the potential of being the best OS ever imo.  But it's not quite there yet...

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 3:38 PM
  • I think you're missing the point. I'm not going to see the Outlook tile and say, "I have no unread emails, so I won't bother opening Outlook." I'm going to open it anyway, because I know I am going to be doing a lot of emailing during the day and I might as well have it open. I'm not going to see my Google Reader tile (assuming there could be such a thing) and say "There aren't any unread posts, I won't bother opening Google Reader." I'm going to open it anyway, because I watch about 100 blogs and there are usually at least a dozen new posts that I will want to read during the day, so I might as well have it open.

    What I'm trying to say is, anything that is actually important to me I am probably going to leave open even if the tile tells me that there is nothing new in it right now. So again, there really isn't much point in stopping off at the desktop first.


    Moderator | MCTS .NET 2.0 Web Applications | My Blog: http://www.commongenius.com
    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 3:46 PM
  • I want to agree Rob, but I find myself reflecting on another windows feature added a few years back.

    I though gadgets were silly eye candy I'd never have a use for.  Then, when my son was deployed to Iraq, I notice my wife had a weather gadget set up with his AO as the location.  That got me interested, I finally saw the utility, even if the functionality wasn't Earth-shattering.

    So, I carefully chose (and even wrote one of my own) gadgets, and started using them.

    The best part was the Aero-peek.  Working away busily, I could slide my mouse down to the lower right, take a quick glance at the gadgets of interest, then move the mouse away to continue working.  Pretty cool.

    So as I consider the utility of the Metro start screen as information central, my main objection to it is the size and (current) plain-ness of the displayed info.  Ergo, Gadgets arleady had most if not all of it covered in terms of what to display, had an advantage of being "pretty" and unique in design and appearence, and the transparency of their "background" added a nice 3-d-esque effect.

    Having said that, again, as presented, Metro on the desktop seeks to solve a problem already addressed in a (so far anyway) more attractive manner (IMO) with gadgets.

    DAS 

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 4:38 PM
  • I get where you are coming from, but let me ask you this: Which are you going to do first, and why?

    Can you not see the benefit in seeing the email marked URGENT: as soon as you boot your computer? Or the Tweet with a question about the App you're selling? Or even the post on one of the 100 blogs about how Metro is an amazing UI? ;-) Yes you will eventually open them all in the course of a day, but Metro will help you with the decision on how best to take action.

    All in under 20 seconds from a cold boot.

    Also, can you not see the benefit of one universal UI accross multiple devices? Or better one universal device that can be docked and run a second monitor for "serious" work,  picked up and toted around as a slate and connected to a keyboard/mouse/trackpad while mobile?

    Again, the biggest hurdle is presented in the transition between the two UIs until the time the classic desktop is no longer a large part of the Windows ecosystem.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 4:46 PM
  • I am considered by some as a power user. I regularly, like many, have multiple applications open for use at a single time. I need this capability to maintain MY level of productivity. In this sense, I love the classic desktop interface. However, there are times when my use of my PC is solely for the consumption and contribution of information and media. In these instances, the Metro interface shines.

    My only gripe at the moment is the default Start button in the Classic mode. I would prefer, as stated above, that (without the registry hack) it just allowed me to use it as before. And as stated above, a simple non-removable Metro entry located above it that allowed me to launch Metro when I want.

    Simple fix to address a serious concern of many.

    Grant

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 6:00 PM
  • Robb:

    I think you are missing a very large part of the overall discussion.

    You mentioned "until the time the classic desktop is no longer a large part of the windows ecosystem".

    Well, that right there says you operated at a different wavelength than what I will somewhat condesceningly call "productive users".

    You mention email, critical email as hyper important.  As long as I've been using email, not once can I recall an email so very important that I must know of its existance inside of 20 seconds lest I risk life or limb.  Usually, for things of a critical nature, people use phones.  You know phones, those things that allowed people to connect to one another across the world in essentially real time, before they became toys to entertain the masses?

    Tweet?  Lost me right there too.  At no point did I ever consider anything I had to say important enough to pass along to a virtual fan club, and never once did I lay awake at night wonder what somebody was going to say in a limited field of characters.

    On the blogs, trust me, I understand you are trying to make a point here by providing an abundance of examples of "real world" neccessities, but again, being someone responsible for actually working on computers to deliver genuine "product", I'd feel like I was screwing my employer following blogs unless they had a direct relation to the projects I'm currently signed up to execute.

    As I stated elsewhere, I have no need for a tablet.  I have no need for a smartphone either, the last thing I want is to become a social media misfit like so many others I know, people who paninc when they leave their smartphone at the office not because they might miss an emergency phonecall, but because they won't be able to read those words of wisdom from fellow tweeters and facebookers in "real time".

    You are assuming there is a fine line (or should be a finer line) between an entertainment appliance and the tools professionals like myself use to earn a living and create genuine value for those we work for or provide services to.

    There is, and will ALWAYS be a wide gap between entertainment appliances and vaule producing tools.

    I'm glad you are so tuned in to social networking, to me it seems terribly needy and shallow, but that just because I've grown accustom to having to produce things to make a living.  Maybe at some point in the future when productivity is no longer to be celebrated, people will get paid based on the number of hours they spend in the social realm.  Could happen I suppose, so don't give up.

    In the meantime, please try to avoid destroying the desktop as some sort of crusade.  Play with your phones and tablets, but realize that real computing happens on the desktop.  Don't make me sacrifice my ability to be productive just because you want to have all those terribly important social networking elements in your face 24/7.

    Now stop reading this, someone might have had something very tasty for lunch and tweeted you, you don't want to miss something like that, life just feels so empty when those messages are more than a few minutes stale.

    Hopefully, that should make it clear.  There is NO need for a desktop to look, act, or even remotely resemble the toys you use for social stimulation. 

    DAS

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 6:51 PM
  • @Win7Tester

    I think that phrasing and undertone was a bit uncalled for.

    Nevertheless, you make a good point. 

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 9:13 PM
  • DAS,

    I really don't know where to even start replying to your last post. I guess I'll  just give you a quick glimpsof my rig and the average waork day. I run 2 core i7 PCs with 32gb ram each pushing a 24" monitor and a Wacom Cintiq 21" pen enabled display. One box is pretty much dedicated to 3D renering and HiDef video transcoding and the other runs Adobe CS and MS Expression and Visual Studio all day long. I am responsible for pretty much all media for a $30 million per year ecomm site as well as sinage and graphics for almost 200 retail stores. I probably produce more content in a week than most people do in a year. So please, don't bore me with with your impression of what I do or how I work.

    As far as the rest of your reply goes all I can say is, I'm really glad you don't get critical emails. But I get ones that read: The promo didn't come down as scheduled. take it down manually ASAP. You see, if I waited until I was good and ready to open Outlook to read that, it cost my company money. possibly tens of thousands of dollars. Again, spare me your opinion on "critical" email.

    I am also involved in our company's social initiative. which includes Facebook, Twitter, and a rating/comment board. If they don't work, properly or if the right people don't get the information they need, again, my company stands to loose money. I guess by now you know how I feel about your thoughts on social networking. If you dont realize that social is big business, you're clueless.

    You seem to be in a class of users I call "Dinosaurs". Holding on to past technologies for the sake of their familiarity. 

    You do realize that Windows didn't always work as it does now, don't you? There was no "Start" button before 95.  There was no pinning if programs and there were no jump lists. and there were people that fought those changes too.

    Your mind set is like those that hold Henry Ford all they needed were faster horses.

    Now stop reading before someone opens you mind to new ways of doing things.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 9:44 PM
  • I almost forgot to tell you the one thing I agreed with you about. You are right, I do Operate on a different wavelength than folks like you. I get paid to recognize what's coming next and how to use it before it gets here.

    What Microsoft is doing with Windows 8 is what's next. One OS for many devices and usages. People will no longer be tied to a desktop or need multiple devices that essentially do the same thing. In the near future every device will have a screen and adapt to a multitude of usage scenarios.

     

    Wake up and smell the future...your coffee's ready.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 9:58 PM
  • Its a reaction caused by an accumulation of disgust, brought on by posts from people who obviously just want a big phone app on their desktop so their feeble mind won't get lost should they actually put their toys down and be force to accomplish something tangeable.

    "I have firey words for Metro haters" and all of the posts like it are pushing the very wrong buttons.

    There are actually people pretending they use computers to make a living, that wonder, in print, for all the world to see, how a Start Menu could possibly be better than a Start Screen that shows you everything at once.  Honestly, I read that in the last few minutes.

    Now I won't be tearing that to pieces (as I should) but suffice it to say this person must never have accomplished legitimate work on a desktop before, otherwise they simply couldn't have uttered such short-sighted nonsense.  Either that or the preview as delivered offers all they ever envisioned using a computer for so the social networking and childrens level apps are "it" so far as their computing needs.

    I think I'm going to pull back from the discussions on this, there seem to be two camps battling, the folks that understand real work requires multitasking and a menu from which to select the dozens to hundreds of apps productive people use, and the toy owners.  There is another subset present too, these are the older folks who want email and facebook in order to keep in touch with their children and grandchildren and never really gave a second thought to there being more to computing than keeping in touch.  Technically they would fit into the toy group, but they probably don't want or need small phones and tablet to care for, they will be comfortable putzing around, finding the email app after several minutes of concentrated effort, and finally sending an "I'm still alive" email, and calling it a heavy day of "computing".

    So, I'll see how long I can stay away.  I don't like the tone I've taken either, is unbecoming of a professional.  I'm urked to the thousandth degree that the best these people can come up with is horrible ways to work around the toy interface.  Its not "like" they have no clue, but they genuinely, at any level at all, have a clue at all about how the business world uses their computers.

    The way I see it, either Microsoft will make the Metro UI configurable (at multiple levels) by the end user, or their "vision" will kill the hundreds of millions of licenses currently held by people that have a read need to get work done with computers.  If they want an OS that serves all, for me and hundreds of millions of people like me, that means no Metro anything unless we specifically enable it.  If I wanted a toy interface, I'd buy a toy.  I can afford a toy, I just don't want or see the need for one.  After years of XP, the unfortunate hit they took over Vista (I never had 1/100th the problems Vista was supposed to be defined by), and the outstanding success of Windows 7, I thought MS would have had the sense to fix the complaints in 7 and release it in Win8 for a tidy profit, and send a team out to create the I-Pad killer OS they obviously so badly want.

    In its current form, MS will be trading coveted desktop seats for toy licenses at best, and unless focussed on specifically to serve the toy market, Metro has no guarantee of taking significant seats away in that toy market either.  They guy that stood up in the internal MS meeting and said "what if we combine toy and desktop OS's into one, then we'll have all the seats!" should be fired.  Reason for separation?  Wanton lack of intelligence.

    Take care folks, best of luck.

    DAS


    • Edited by Win7Tester Tuesday, September 20, 2011 10:03 PM rage induced typos
    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 9:59 PM
  • Putting new meaning into "haters gonna hate," I see.

    Here lies the difference between you and me. I like my slate. And I like a slate I can work on. You can't care less about slates or touch screens in general. Perhaps it's true that you perform more work on a computer than I do. And I agree with you that Metro isn't perfect. Nevertheless, it shows promise as a new platform, perhaps not for raw productivity apps, but for apps for people with lives, y'know, the rest of us.

    P.S. Reply in my god damn thread next time.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 10:47 PM
  • DAS,

    We all get a little worked up about these kinds of things. Its why we come to places like this. We are inherently passionate about the shapes our lives and drives our production.

    If you read my other posts, you see that I talk about Metro as a great launchpad when in desktop mode. And just like with a Win7 desktop you are only one click away from the experience you're used to. Microsoft is also letting you disable it as well, so if you really see no use for Metro you only need to see it at first install. Where's the harm in that?

    Personally I am more concerned with the handling of the transition between UIs and that's why I'm here. I am hoping Microsoft reads the suggestions given here and changes what I view as a broken experience so far.

    Then I'm looking beyond Windows 8 to when even more ways to interact with the PC are possible.

     

    I may explore the areas of the current UI/UX in a thread I want to create as well as how Microsoft is close to delivering the first complete NUI. look for them and add to the discussion.

     

     

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 10:48 PM
  • THIS:

     

    "Don't get me wrong I like Metro but not on a desktop PC. Please make it possible to choose between the usual Aero (with Start menu) and Metro experiences and don't try to blend them together too much."

     

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011 8:28 AM
  • Mike:

    Just a quick word of caution.  The application you linked to is sourced from a .ru site.

    I know its the technological equivalent of "racism" to assume anything from Russia has to be questionable, but I didn't make it that way, Russia's emergence as something of a world-leader in hacking and malicious programming did.

    Just raising the flag, don't shoot the flag bearer.

    DAS

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011 11:11 AM
  • Robb,

    I think the problem a lot of the old hands here have with Metro is that it effectively reverts us back to the "program Manager" and even farther back to single tasking DOS.  To me that is retrograde. Metro is 2D and it imposes a full screen interface that blocks out everything else.

    I have become accustomed to seeing what other applications I have running by glancing down at the task bar, when I use Metro apps I am frustrated at their cak-handedness. They seem extremely limited and getting to things seems long winded. An example, on my Windows Phone 7, if I am looking at my list of emails and I see one I want to delete, I have to click and hold my finger on the item, wait for a while whilst the menu slides up and then tap delete.  On Outlook on my PC I just click the X in the toolbar at the top.  And don't get me started on why I can't just click "Exit" and close Metro Apps down and why on my phone Metro stops me from accessing the storage through a file manager. It's just going backwards it's not helping me be more productive.

    Why even if I am a tablet user would I want to give up being able to move metro tiles around so that I can have 4 or 5 of them on screen at the same time, they don't need to be full screen, it's called Windows let them behave like Windows, just be easier to manipulate using your finger.

    I can accept some of these failings on my phone as it is limited by its screen and its processing power, but NOT on my desktop never.

    I am open to a Metro Style Windows 8 it just CANNOT be like it is on a phone and it cannot be so anti the Aero interface that is superior to it in every way. They have to redesign Metro to work well with Windows not the other way around.

    Siv


    Graham Sivill - Martley, Worcester. UK
    Wednesday, September 21, 2011 12:00 PM
  • Siv,

    We agree on a lot of this. I am not happy with the 2 App per screen limit, which is like a permanent AeroSnap. I am not happy with the transition between Metro & classic UIs. I am not happy with the lack of an ALT+Tab style fast app switcher in Metro.

    But these are all things I feel Microsoft can make a lot better if not completly fix.

    One thing I think we all loose sight of though is:

    This OS isn't just for us. Most of us are more than power users. We have a deeper knowledge of the tech and what we want to get out of it.

    For the average user, I feel they will barely notice what they may be giving up. They may even like the new ways of interacting with the PC. As long as Microsoft changes the way the switch between the UIs work, and by that I mean letting us "lock in" to the classic desktop and letting us go back to Metro easily and intuitavely, I for one will have no problem with Windows 8. I am already imagining the new devices that will come along to take advantage of all the new ways as well as the current ways of using a computer.

    The only point I disagree with you on is: " it cannot be so anti the Aero interface that is superior to it in every way".

    It only superior in the context of how you are used to working. Or superior in the context of the task you are diong right now.  I don't want to get into what I see as the two basic ways of interacting with computers or what constitutes the best UI here. I'm saving those discussions for some threads I want to start that take a deep dive into helping these two distinctly different UIs coexist in one OS and the NUI applications that can be possible in the near future thanks to Windows 8. I hope you look for them and contribute to the discussion.

    When looking looking at what Microsoft has given us here, we all need to realize that WE are the creators...the builders of what others will experience on Windows 8. Instead of complaining about the direction Microsoft is going, with or without us, we should embrace what is new and exciting about it. 

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011 3:05 PM
  • Instead of complaining about the direction Microsoft is going, with or without us, we should embrace what is new and exciting about it. 


    Just for the record, I think all of us are excited (at least on some level) about the new stuff.  I think all of us developers can agree that WinRT looks like a neat and fun platform to code against.  I think we all feel like this would finally introduce a tablet that will be worth paying for.

    The only problem is that the way it's implemented seems to cripple some of the great stuff we allready had.  It's frustrating because everybody can see how easy it would be to solve this.  It's that damned start button.  And I think all of us agree on this. 

    You could say "embrace the new" and I'm all for that...  The thing is that they are keeping the old (and even buffing it: iso support, explorer ribbon, hyperV,...), but in a crippled state.  It doesn't make sense.

    You know, there's a reason why this desktop/metro thing is the only topic I'm posting about...  It's because it's the only thing I consider to be not ok.  I LOVE the rest and look forward to getting everything in place to start crapping metro apps.

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011 3:16 PM
  • Robb,

    I have shown Windows 8 to some of my clients and the first comments I get are these:

    1.  How do I close out of this application?

    2.  Where is the start menu?

    3.  Why does it look so flat and boring?

    Now I am not one for designing new things based on user groups, MS do need to throw away what went in the past and break new ground and the old hands will always squeal when they have to learn new ways of doing things, especially when change just seems to be for changes' sake:

    1.  "Add/remove programs" becomes "Programs and Features" ... WTF!

    2.  Grouping Control Panel items so that it takes 5 clicks to get to the thing you want rather than one in the "Classic" view.

    I cannot argue that on a phone Metro is the right design, it ticks most of the boxes, it's easy to use with the input methods you have available on most Windows Phone 7 devices, ie your finger. Full marks they got that right after Apple showed the way with the iPhone, trying to run Windows with a stylus on a phone is WRONG!

    That said, what they are doing here is wrong for a Mouse and Keyboard PC running in a desktop case, laptop or Netbook, its design I think is all about touch which is not what you are doing on PC, Laptop and netbook form factor. Productivity users do not want to poke about with their finger when mouse and keyboard just work much better for that. 

    I have used many slates and tablets and I am sorry, but hand writing on a screen is just plain inefficient.  It's definitely better than it used to be as the horsepower of tablets has improved so that the handwriting algorithms have got more headroom to work in and be usable, but most office workers can type much faster with a keyboard than they can get hand writing recognition software to work. I think this is why most tablets have an on screen keyboard as most users prefer to type than hand write.

    Which is why I say that Aero is superior to the current Windows 8 Metro in every way in the context of a non-tablet user.  For a tablet user, then Metro it is better in some respects as long as you throw away where we are with Windows O/S development over the last 20 years.

    Clearly Aero is not superior if you are a non-productivity user who just wants simple apps and wants them on a relatively low powered tablet using their fingers, clearly Aero is probably not for you, but what MS are trying to do is give us one O/S that caters for both and I am OK with that as long as they stop Metro trying to dominate eveything at the expense of the productivity user who does not have or want to be poking a touch screen.

    I agree that Aero offers some new development possibilities, but I want it to be less dumbed down (which was right for a 4 inch phone screen) but should NEVER be brought to the Windows environment in its current form as it stifles so much of what is good about Windows 7 type operating systems.

    Remove the stupid 2D interface, allow metro windows to overlap, make the Win7 Start menu and task bar work with metro, remove all the limitations that were imposed on Metro because it was designed for low powered small screen phones. Then give us a new improved Metro that plays well with current style Windows applications and then and only then, will I be up for writing Metro apps.

    Unless they do all the above, this will be Vista Mark 2 and I am not wasting time on it learning new stuff that comes to nothing!

    Siv


    Graham Sivill - Martley, Worcester. UK
    • Edited by Siv Wednesday, September 21, 2011 3:54 PM
    Wednesday, September 21, 2011 3:53 PM
  • Aroush, agreed the damned start buton needs to change! This is the only topic I' interested as well. To me the UX in Each of the UIs is great. One we're all used to and most of us love, the other (to me at least) is new & exciting and brings ways of interacting with a PC. I think Microsoft has succeded in developing what I"m loosely calling a "Post-Desktop" (not "Post-PC)" OS.  But I think a lot of us (you & I at least for sure) agree that they are failing on the execution of integrating the two.

    As someone who has done UI/UX design for quite a while and too many UAT session to remember, this is my only focus in these forums.

    I love Windows as an OS. In 1994 I started my own advertising/graphic design studio using Windows 3.11 for Workgroups. You can imagine the reception that got from my peers in the industry. "It couldn't be done", they said. "I can't believe you're going low rent". I was told. My response was always the same.  "Better,  Faster, Cheaper. Why would I want anything else?" 17 years later, I'm still doind what I love to do on the platform I love to do it on.

    That's why getting Microsoft getting this right is so important to me. For years Windows has helped me be successful. Now I feel like Its my turn to help Windows be more successfull.

    I know the code will work. I know the horsepower will be there to complete the tasks I need it to. My only concern, and we all must admit  its not Microsoft's greatest strength, is will it be elegant and intuative.

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011 3:57 PM
  • Siv,

    Again, agreed that there things in Metro that need to be fixed. Big things. Only two apps to a screen is a biggie for me as well. It makes sense in some contexts, but is counter intuitave in others.

    But all the "Metro is only for tablets" folks are missing the big picture.

    1. A well designed Metro app can easily be designed for both tablet and traditional imput use. There are some things that need to be re-thought, but that's why we were given the preview a year out. To solve these issues.
    2. You are basing your opinions on the software and devices you are using today. Can you not envision a time in the very near future when almost every device has a screen? There will be no need for a "tower" chained to your wall by a power cord. Your device will dock and power larger monitors if it's to small to be "productive" in traditional envorinment. It will be your desktop, your laptop & your tablet. You will touch it, write on it, talk to it, motion control it and yes, even use a keyboard and mouse.

    But for the sake of argument lets say you're right. Lets say that Metro will never be anything but a dumbed-down, consumption driven UI. Can you see no benefit in having a "simple" Word doc editor for using in a mobile environment? Or a Power Point viewer for meetings?

    Do you see no value in having real-time information piped right to your desktop? Server loads, Sharepoint document status, idle PCs on the network to add to a render farm. Heck, even quick in/out of office status notifications for the people on your team? I would love to have this information at my fingertips without the need to open an application,  or more to the point, four applications.

    You may not see Metro as a place to do "productive" work, but it can definately enhance productivity.

    Metro is a starting point. A launch pad. It's where you get to see information and decide how to act. It's where you get to choose what type of computing experience is right for the current situation.

    And if you, as a user hate it, or see no need for it, you get to turn it off. You never have to look at it again. Until, of course, you upgrade to something that will take advantage of it.

    Thursday, September 22, 2011 5:37 PM
  • Robb,

    Good comment, but I think I am a bit more paranoid about the way things are going than you.  I know Sinofsky has said they are not working to a deadline as such, but I think they were aiming for a Christmas release, seeing this version I sincerely hope that is wrong now, unless the developer preview is a stabilised offshoot of a very early build and they are just playing with us and they have actually solved all the issues we are screaming about here and are doing some checking of assumptions...

    Sinofsky to Ballmer, "OK if you don't believe me it's crap, let's put out that early version of Metro to the Devs and I bet you fifty bucks they go mental at it!", Ballmer , "OK it's a deal!".

    Well I think Sinofsky is $50 better off!

    I am only joking :)

    Back to serious:

    1. Full marks for trying something new (Metro on PC).

    2. NO marks for thinking you can just lift the code from Windows Phone 7 and make Windows run it like a phone.

    3. NO marks for trying to force existing users to suffer an awful experience (Metro) compared to the rich experience they get with traditional Windows 7.

    I do want Windows 8 to be different and strike off in a new direction, but only if it makes sense. This patently does not, why does it not:

    1. You lose discoverability, Metro does not help you work out how to do things. How many people in these forums (me included) could not figure out how to shut Windows down using the Metro interface. (I know why, because on Windows Phone 7 you press the hardware button to get out of your phone, so if no-one did anything to the Metro code as it stood, you would have to press the power button on your PC to exit and judging by this preview someone quickly cobbled it into the Settings WTF!!!)

    2. You lose the multi-tasking, I know you don't really as Windows is under there somewhere screaming to be let out, but the problem is when you are in Metro there are no tools or gadgets close at hand to help you use it, you have to resort to the underlying Windows O/S to respond to keyboard presses to give you the Alt+Tab list. Oh and that is f**ked up because you have two thousand "suspended" Metro applications cluttering the list up and how would you do that on a tablet anyway .. oh yes plug in a keyboard as there is no ALT key on the on-screen one under certain circumstances. I know you can click/poke at the left side of the screen, but then you have to go through the list sequentially which because there are 200 paused apps can take a while. If there are gadgets to help you, then I refer you back to point 1 as I haven't found them.

    3. It's cak handed, If you don't know how to start a new tab in IE10 how do you do it? Right-click, the top bar comes down, you hit the plus symbol, it takes you to a blank page of recently visited pages (favourites?) where you can pick frequent or pinned page. I don't I want a new page loaded in my default search engine, how do you do that?? After stabbing around in there for hours getting no where task managered it and gave up. In the Aero version, I just click the new tab.  I am sure if I could be bothered there is some way you can do it through the interface, but God it's annoying.

    Now this stuff is just wrong with ANY device, whether we have a small phone like device that sends an image to a screen and displays a virtual keyboard and mouse on my desktop, it's not the device, it's the way the Metro O/S works.

    I am not in charge of writing IE10 so no matter how brilliant a programmer I am I won't be able to make IE10 do what I want.

    Your comment about Metro being a "Starting point" doesn't seem to me to be the way MS see it, I get the feeling this is the way the O/S is going to be and older paradigms are on their way out. If it is, then when the point comes that I can no longer get to an interface that I enjoy like (Aero), Windows and I will be parting company.

    I just cannot believe that everyone who uses Windows will want to have a thing you poke your fingers at.  There will always be people who work in an office at a desk (because that is the most comfortable way to work for the average working day) and for whom the idea of using their finger on a touch screen would a) be uncomfortable and b) cak handed when you want to do precision editing or writing.

    I personally don't like the Metro start screen it's garish with all the different colours and styles of tile, it looks messy. Also the idea of all of your application icons laid out on a scrollable screen is just a modern day version of the old "Program Manager" idea that was thrown out as bad idea when we last when through a pardigm shift.  I have just managed to train all my users to stop cluttering their desktop with billions of Icons and now MS are bringing it back WTF!!!

    The whole point of doing away with the Program Manager were as follows:

    1.  When you start an application it naturally covers up the desktop background so you have to move things out of the way to get back to start another application, so you are always wading through your open applications to get to it.

    2. Because the desktop originally was finite in size it meant your program manager groups soon got full to brimming and scroll bars started appearing all over the place, so not only did you have to wade through loads of open application windows to get back to the desktop, you also had to then scroll about in them to find what you wanted. (Sound familiar!!)

    3.  When Windows 95 was envisioned with its start menu with cascading folders, it was like Metro today, new shiny and some people hated it.  I loved it because OK it was new and different, but it solved all the problems I was having with Windows, now I had a bar that ran along the bottom of my screen that reminded me what I had already got open and stopped me opening multiple copies (particualrly important then as resources were very limited). It also nicely folded away all these icons into a cascading menu where I could group items together in a related way that wasn't in my face and only appeared when I wanted it to.

    4. The other big advantage of both the start menu and the task bar was that they were always there over the top or around the edge of what I am doing, always visible at a glance. Now I know what my system is doing, running and advising me.

    Wind forward to Metro and guess what all the bad things of the Program Manager are back!!! That is why I am NOT HAPPY!

    The tiles might give me some initial feedback when I first start up, but as soon as I start a Metro app they are gone hidden behind the full screen application I am running that hides everything my full fledged O/S can give me. I would like server loads and sharepoint status idle PCs etc etc , but no good if I can't see any of it?

    Please note this is not aimed at you, I am just pointing out the huge problems that adopting this crippled interface will bring.  I do want Windows 8 to work with tablets and other mobile devices, it's a gaping hole that many buiness users want to fill and using iPads is never going to work in business.

    I want to stop the rot now and turn this juggernaught off this ridiculous path they are heading in and get back to a sensible form of Metro interface that I can write applications for and that won't make consumers run off into the arms of Apple and businesses to Linux.

    Please listen MS before it's too late.

    Siv


    Graham Sivill - Martley, Worcester. UK
    Thursday, September 22, 2011 8:16 PM
  • Siv, I think you bring up a lot of good points, and we do have a lot to be concerned about. But I do want to at least ease the concern about the release date. There is no way that Microsoft is targeting a Christmas 2011 release for Window 8. This was an early preview, not even a beta. There is a ton left to do, and they know that. We might get a beta before Christmas, but I wouldn't even count on that. At this point I think we are looking for a launch in the fall to winter 2012 range, depending largely on how much more work they have done that they didn't show in this preview. And remember, part of the point of this preview was to give developers a chance to start writing applications to target the new OS, so there is something for users to download at launch. They have to give us time to do that (I use the term "us" loosely, since I personally have no intention of writing a Metro app under the current restrictions). So there is a lot of time left; whether Microsoft makes effective use of that time to address user concerns is another matter.

    (Note: I have no inside knowledge, my analysis of potential release dates is based on past experience and what I have seen of Windows 8 so far.)


    Moderator | MCTS .NET 2.0 Web Applications | My Blog: http://www.commongenius.com
    Thursday, September 22, 2011 9:36 PM
  • David,

    I sincerely hope you are right as this is definitely not prime time.  I won't be writing anything for it until I can see there is a point.  I mostly do database applications and I cannot see how this interface would be of any use to my users. There just isn't the richness in the UI to do the day to day stuff I need in my interfaces.

    I really wish MS would come clean and tell us what the real vision is with this because it's just not grown up enough to be put onto a Windows PC.

    Siv


    Graham Sivill - Martley, Worcester. UK
    Thursday, September 22, 2011 9:52 PM
  • I agree, Metro is a hassle when working with many programs, but not only that, Metro slows down the computer. The problem is that when an app was used and you switch back to desktop, the app is still running and that takes up cpu usage, but other than that, when i disabled Metro through the registry setting, Win8 beta is basically the same as Win7. I'm thinking Metro is mainly focused towards phones and the new touch screen computers in the market.
    Tuesday, October 18, 2011 6:00 PM
  • DAS,

    I totally didn't notice it was on an RU site.  I just had read about it on a Windows 8 fan site.  I haven't actually used the link because I have loved ribbon since Office 2007 Beta.  If it knew it was .ru, I wouldn't have even mentioned it.

    Sorry!

    Mike

    Friday, November 18, 2011 3:40 AM