Windows 8 UI improvement ideas RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • First of all, sorry for my English. :)

    I'm not sure if this is the right place to post UI improvement ideas, but I'll do it anyway. :)

    Skydrive Folder with Pictures - Skydrive folder contains all pictures and they have numbers in the top right corner so you know what to look at.

    Picutre 1. Windows Start Menu Dev Preview

    This is the menu behind scenes right now (as I see it). By my opinion it has no real structure. It has groups, but lets say users can easily loose themselves if these tiles continue growing.

    Picture 2. Windows Start Menu Redesigned

    I would place folders or groups as default on first screen. There really aren't too many options. There are only apps and games if you ask me. After that you can go into details, but still get the same result (Office apps, Internet apps, Design Apps, System Apps or RPG Games, Strategy Games etc.).

    Picture 3. Inside Application Folder

    The main thing I'd propose is to enable user to write name of the group above the grouped files. Here you can see Office and Adobe names above their grouped files. The line below is to be wider by one block with each new row (Office has 2 line blocks, Adobe has 3). Line is an indicator of a group.

    Picture 4. Installation Prompt

    Last but not even close to least. To avoid Windows placing files at the end of the list (which I find quite annoying since I place everything I use often in front), an installation prompt should appear every time user wants to install something, asking where to place these files. Since I made groups of Apps, Games and System, they appear and it still offers user to add new tile if not satisfied with current choice. Of course, there are some additional buttons just to show how flexible this could be.

    Well, I have many more ideas I'm willing to share. Some maybe stupid, some interesting, but I do need feedback. :) What do you people think? Let me know :)

    Edit - Links updated now...

    • Edited by slavkec Tuesday, September 27, 2011 9:23 AM Updating links
    Monday, September 26, 2011 7:27 PM

All replies

  • Your links don't work. I get an error and see nothing.
    "A programmer is just a tool which converts caffeine into code"

    Monday, September 26, 2011 7:31 PM
  • Links updated and should work now. :)
    Monday, September 26, 2011 8:14 PM
  • Overall I like your ideas for groups as a way to reduce home page sprawl, even with just the basic dev preview apps and some of the sample apps compiled it seems like I'm swiping forever to get to the end of the list (I'm using a tablet). Your suggestions (brilliantly illustrated by the way) look clean, elegant and look like a natural extension to what I've seen in 'Metro' so far.

    I see one problem though: If you have an app with an active tile (not sure if that is the correct term) say 'Outlook' in the Microsoft Office group and it had a real time update of unread messages, next meeting etc. How would i see that unless I opened the Microsoft office group?

    I actually like the grey scale effect you've used in your illustrations, I think that should be considered as a system wide option for metro.

    I say keep the ideas coming, I'm sure Microsoft would rather get constructive posts like yours than all the complaints about the old start menu not being there anymore.

    Monday, September 26, 2011 9:24 PM
  • First of all, thank you for the kind words. They seem to be rare these days. :) Second, I updated my links to Skydrive folder containing all the work, and now pictures have numbers in top right corner. And about the problem... there are 3 solutions if you ask me.

    1. Get into Apps tile and find your desired app (and yes it's your idea already) :D

    2. Quick fix - Pinning the desired app in front, something like desktop used to be, BUT I would NEVER use that cause it still leads to clutter (same as it is now).

    3. A bit harder, but much cleaner fix. Assign value to tiles. Let's say you have 2 important meetings this week in your Outlook app. If value is not 0, then windows will alert you and pin the tile in the main screen as illustrated in picture 5. It can be called tasks or alerts or something else. This can also be used for mails and any other app that has live update linked to a tile. I hope I was clear enough about this solution. :)

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011 9:34 AM
  • I would think as more and more applications get made for windows 8 you will get groups like this but I think microsoft need to do something for Legacy applications or at lest allow us to change the application icon to PNG icons so they show up nicer :P than the old 32-bit icons
    Technical Beta Tester || Matthew John Earley BSc (hons) || www.o0MattE0o.myby.co.uk
    Tuesday, September 27, 2011 12:50 PM
  • I'm sure groups will come too (folders took a while on the iPad too) but the issue with the number of tiles is made worse by the size of the tiles (and I'm not suggesting they change that) and the fact that you have tiles from both Metro and desktop. In one weeks of running win8 I have more clickable tiles/icon than I had after 6 months of owning an iPad. This is a more urgent problem for Win8 than it was for iOS.

    Are you suggesting that legacy (desktop) apps should be able to display icons smaller than the current smallest tile size? If so I think thats a great idea - I already know the icon for my older apps I don't need a big tile, something a quarter the size of a small tile would still be recognisable and present a finger sized hit target.

    Acer W500 tablet Ageing HP laptop Too much apple stuff
    Tuesday, September 27, 2011 2:06 PM
  • Ok, it seems pointless to argue or point out something of technical nature. I bet if they don't implement using custom icons on tiles, someone will make an app to do that :) . Now, lets go a bit further. I uploaded 3 more pics on Skydrive (link is at the top in first comment).

    I find strange not knowing how many apps I'm running. There is no indicator and only thing you can do is slide/click through until you reach desired app. On picture 6 I placed an indicator of currently running apps on system. It shows 0 in green, as in "Yay, no apps, you're ok". In picture 7 there are 2 apps running and you have a choice to click/touch and see whats running. And picture 8 is showing something that resembles task manager with running apps inside it.

    What I'm getting at is COMPLETELY removing the desktop we all know with all those icons, quick-bars and clutter. I'm aiming at clean and simple in every component. Let me know what you think :)

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011 3:37 PM
  • Seems like I'm running blog here (I'm actually thinking about it :) ). I added one more pic (picture 9), with start menu icons placed on the "Running apps" bar. You can see them all in my Skydrive Folder. Feedback is very welcome. Any answer is good. If you don't like it, say it, and why. :) If you like it, say it, and why. :) I'm testing something here, and I need help. Any comment is a good comment :)
    Tuesday, September 27, 2011 8:09 PM
  • Hi slavkec.

    I quite like your ideas and pictures. Well done.

    The Metro UI is so different to the Explorer shell we are all so used to - to the point that it is difficult to judge the value of Metro, either by itself or in comparison to what we currently have on the desktop. What might help is to create a better point of reference between the two user interfaces, by hypothetically altering Explorer to mimic - to some extent - what Metro is all about (and personally, i'm still working out what Metro is all about, other than touch-friendly targets).

    I'll give a rough idea of what i mean, and perhaps your graphical skills might come in handy here...

    Suppose you could launch Explorer-as-shell without loading the start menu or taskbar. Suppose also you can control the size of desktop icons, making them medium or large, as you wish, but not only that, you can also choose a new folder view which is a combination of Details view, and medium/large icons view.

    Now lets take the start menu, merge it with the taskbar and display it in a window 'embedded' into the desktop. It actually doesn't look a window, except for a traditional scroll-bar. Ok, so this start_menu/taskbar_on_desktop_in_large-details_view is accessed by pressing the Windows key, which does the equivalent of what WinKey-D, or WinKey-M does in Win7.

    The way the start menu and taskbar are merged is this; because we are in details view (with large icons), we can add arbitary colums. Lets add a Restore column, and a Close column. These buttons are equivalent in function to those at the top-right of a window. The difference now, is that not only are these buttons added to the desktop, but you can use them to determine if an application is running, because in that case they will appear active, whereas if the corresponding app is not running, they will be dulled ("greyed-out"). The close button column also means you will not have to struggle to work out how to close running apps!

    Here is the command syntax to launch this hypothetical Explorer shell:

    explorer /desktopOnly /icons:<medium|large> /details:<yes|no>

    If you can visualize what i'm talking about i'll have explained it better than i think i have (obviously!). Remember, this is not meant to be some great idea, but a reference point to better show why Metro is required - or not, as the case may be.

    One extra touch i would add to this design is to leave an area at the bottom of the desktop free, so that a small amount of "operating system debris" can be displayed (date/time, system alerts, etc), using Bginfo. Over to you...


    • Edited by Drewfus Wednesday, September 28, 2011 3:14 PM minor edit
    Wednesday, September 28, 2011 3:05 PM
  • Hmmm... it will take some time for me to completely understand what you meant, but it is a minor problem, because I will draw something and then you'll correct me if I got it wrong.. I thought about redesigning Explorer and Media Center right after I finish the front page, as it is not complete yet (clock, icons for sound, internet connection, updates etc. are about to be placed in the next picture). I planned to place these in the top right since, currently is a space in need of filling. I do like the breathing space, but now it's a big hole and it's obvious on pictures :). And I'm also thinking about changing that Running apps with an old XP "Run" icon (that app with lines indicating that it's moving in a direction with great speed), making it a single button in a corner and maybe removing the bar.

    If all goes in a direction I imagined, the need for this desktop we all know will be thing of the past (or maybe 2 versions of Win8 with and without it). :) As soon as I finish start screen, which I hope you'll check and comment, we're off to Explorer and I'll need your help there :)

    Wednesday, September 28, 2011 3:30 PM
  • As soon as I finish start screen, which I hope you'll check and comment, we're off to Explorer and I'll need your help there :)

    Yes i will, and thanks!

    Hope this helps...

    1. Visualize a desktop with no icons
    2. Remove start menu and taskbar (like 'auto-hide taskbar' is enabled)
    3. Now visualize an Explorer window in Details view, and displaying users start menu
    4. Merge 1 and 3 - that is, embed the Explorer window into the desktop, so they become a single object
    5. Make icons large
    6. Add two columns called 'Restore' and 'Close' - except instead of text, they are buttons
    7. Make most rows have greyed restore and close buttons, but some rows have active look. Ex: Red x


    • Edited by Drewfus Wednesday, September 28, 2011 4:06 PM edit 3.
    Wednesday, September 28, 2011 4:01 PM
  • I think we have the same idea about Explorer look, but we'll see where it goes. :) I finished Start menu. Check Skyfolder. Pic 10 - I removed that start bar and now the blocks are just fairly aligned. I also separated Start blocks from Explorer, IE and Media Player. Added "Running apps" as an icon. I placed the tray icons where they used to be, but realized that space is running out on bottom and solution to this would be to make same "hide inactive icons" button as in win 7.

    However, on pic 11 I placed it on top an got what I was going after. Now you can (if it ever gets implemented) add things to tray without worry of running out of space, since you have a lot of it in two rows.

    I'm very sleepy now. :) Leave some comment, or something and tomorrow I'll read it. (I'm GMT +1) :D

    • Edited by slavkec Thursday, September 29, 2011 6:31 AM Typo
    Wednesday, September 28, 2011 9:32 PM
  • The start blocks is a nice idea. It gives the page a more interesting look, and some contrast, plus there is all the functionality.

    What package are you using to do this stuff?


    Friday, September 30, 2011 6:50 AM
  • I'm using Adobe products, but I can work with any program that has line, pen and basic shapes. :) Personally it has way more options than I need, but with it I feel most comfortable. This whole concept from 1 - 11 is made in Illustrator alone. I'm currently using Photoshop just to resize jpeg's and set the quality (so the pic isn't 30 megs :) ).

    I always use shades of gray when I work on prototypes (something like pencil sketches) 'cause it's neutral, and I can emphasize something important with warm or cool colors (red and green in my case). Later on I use combination of Illustrator and Photoshop, especially Photoshop if there is some hard core coloring involved. :) Hope, that explains what you asked.

    Now back to main topic :). First, I have had some heavy work yesterday and today, so the design of Explorer will start tomorrow.

    But what I meant to ask you (anyone can jump in, it's a forum after all) is, shall we stick to the old "hard drives left, folders and files right", or shall we try something new? I'm thinking of leaving, beside the start button, search, share and settings embedded in Explorer, cause all of them can be used while exploring...  :) From now on I suggest we focus on tablets, cause they are more limiting than desktop PC.

    Open for discussion! :)

    If you lack info, you get negative result by using positive strategy. Therefor, information is power.
    • Edited by slavkec Friday, September 30, 2011 3:55 PM minor edit
    Friday, September 30, 2011 3:48 PM
  • Thanks for the info.

    "...shall we stick to the old "hard drives left, folders and files right", or shall we something new?

    Well i left out a bit in the ordered list above. :-) Redo point 3...

        3. Now visualize an Explorer window in Details view, with Navigation pane hidden, and displaying users start menu

    Only details pane is visible - no drives. So it ends up looking a little like the page design you see if you click on "YourUsername's threads", in this forum, except that its a start menu list, not a thread list (obviously).


    Friday, September 30, 2011 4:08 PM
  • I edited pic 11 (Skyfolder)  a bit cause I realized that you really don't need a start button on a start screen since other buttons are there by default (in my example). It will appear in apps like Explorer or Media Player for navigation purpose (coming back to start screen). :)

    Off to explorer. :))

    If you lack info, you get negative result by using positive strategy. Therefor, information is power.

    • Edited by slavkec Saturday, October 1, 2011 10:33 AM link, minor edit
    Saturday, October 1, 2011 10:29 AM
  • It's good slavkec, although i'd suggest making the 'WinKey Start' in the top-left a little smaller.

    I also came up with an idea for IE, in this thread http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/windowsdeveloperpreviewgeneral/thread/4f367181-33a7-402b-af9d-a2b5779f38f2 Maybe have a look at that if you get a chance.


    Saturday, October 1, 2011 10:57 AM
  • Hmmm... interesting idea about book mode. For someone who's into heavy online reading it could be useful. We could try something :)

    Ok, I uploaded an early concept of explorer (pic 12) with tons of features missing (Skyfolder). I focused on folders and files. I thought about making icons for both, but then realized: folder holds files and other folders, it's big :D So folders are 2 file blocks in length.

    - If you double tap folder or file you get into/run it.

    - If you tap the lower-right corner of folder or file you select it.

    - If you double tap the corner you select all.

    - If you tap once, you get different options on top menu where new file/folder and burn are.

    I'd make settings button unique for every page, so if you tap settings in Explorer, you get the settings for Explorer. If in IE, then you get settings for IE, while on Start you get Control Panel.

    I have so little time to work on this, but I will as soon as I can. :)

    Oh, and I edited pic 11 a bit (dimmed the logo, explorer icon etc.)

    If you lack info, you get negative result by using positive strategy. Therefor, information is power.

    • Edited by slavkec Sunday, October 2, 2011 6:51 PM
    Sunday, October 2, 2011 6:48 PM
  • I think these are some of the best ideas I've heard about the Start Screen. You seem to have read my mind as to what I want from a Start Screen. I agree that traditional Start Menu links like recent, Games, System, All Programs, etc. should still be placed on the Screen, at least by default. I also like how the taskbar is still there in the Screen. One user suggested it before and I concurred then. Maybe it could include some Windows 7 taskbar functionality such as showing running apps (space allowing) or just showing whether or not the pinned apps (like IE and media player in your mockup) are running. And I like the new "tray" at the top of the screen. But I'd suggest putting the User Tile and username in there somewhere like the current Win8 build has. Maybe replace the Start icon with the User tile/name.


    Great ideas. I hope MS gets to implement them in Windows 8.

    Monday, October 3, 2011 12:05 AM
  • @slavkec: "Hmmm... interesting idea about book mode. For someone who's into heavy online reading it could be useful."

    It's not just of benefit for reading, but also side-by-side comparisons. See thread for details.


    Pic 12 is a good start, but in my vision the start screen is more like a list view than a tiles view. But its your design!

    Having said that let me redo the list i wrote above, because i thought of a few extras :)


    1. Visualize a desktop with no icons
    2. Remove start menu and taskbar (like 'auto-hide taskbar' enabled)
    3. Now visualize an Explorer window;
        * In Details view
        * Displaying users start menu
        * With Navigation pane hidden
    4. Merge 1 and 3 - that is, embed the Explorer window into the desktop, so they become a single object
    5. Make icons large - and details, correspondingly
    6. Add a column to the details view, containing Restore and Close buttons, for running apps, and a 'Last edit/open time' for non-running apps. The last edit time looks like '1d,4h' or '36 mins'. This tells you when you last edited a file with the corresponding app (or blank | when app was opened, in case of utility). Last edit time will appear active, if app has a known list of recent files, else dulled. If known, clicking on 'last edit time' opens the recent file list, overlayed on start menu list (which dulls).
    7. During shutdown, if user has open files, system adds warnings/messages to this 'Start Desktop' (rather than displaying a special window, like Win7 does). Tool tips might auto-display - like 'Force Close' over close button(s). Note this would be for another picture/screenshot.
     That describes the "Start Menu\Programs" presentation. Here is overall desktop layout:
    1. Start Menu occupies bottom 80-90% of desktop, divided into three sections:
        @top: Permanent list of important links, corresponding to right-side of Win7 start menu. Unscrollable.
            @upper: "Start bar": Single row of commonly opened apps icons. Text here (greyed) states: "Drag program icons here for quick launching..."  @far-right -1 is recycle bin ; @far-right is drop-down arrow for viewing start bar in list/details view.
            @mid: Column headers: Up (button), Name, Status (Restore/Close | lastEditTime), Properties (displays context-menu (dependant on Desktop/Metro app-type)), Type (Game, Multimedia, Graphics, Productivity, Utility, etc). Sort the start menu by click/touching one of these headers.
            @lower: "Start Menu\Programs" in large list view (described above). Scrollable.
        @base: Run/Search field. Auto-complete list overlays start menu list, like Win7.
    2. 'Background info' occupies the top 10-20% (remainder) of desktop. Includes; Start title, date & time, system messages, new email/message counts, link status, Username & pic, etc.


    Hopefully i've made this complicated enough :)

    "I have so little time to work on this, but I will as soon as I can. :)" No hurry!


    • Edited by Drewfus Tuesday, October 4, 2011 8:37 AM mods
    Monday, October 3, 2011 5:55 AM
  • X-Squared, thank you for your feedback. I find your additional ideas of user tile and running apps very valuable. You said I've read your mind, and I all can say is I don't read minds, but only use logic, and yours is very good. :) I added those two things to start screen. There are two apps running and left/right bars are not needed, but when there are more than 5, they will be. :)

    Drewfus, thank you too for your idea spam :) I suggest you learn basics of drawing, cause picture can say a lot more and help people understand a lot better what you want and have. I learned this the hard way :)

    This will be my last post on this thread cause this seems to be a forum of complainers and rants and all that is constructive is more or less ignored. Anyway, I have a project running and can't find enough time for this.

    Pic 11
    is now changed: user tile and running apps are in.
    Pic 12 Explorer refined a bit. Some buttons added, selection more pretty, hard drives in running apps place. :)

    If there were more people interested in creating, rather than attacking and devaluing, I'd continue this even if it took my free time.

    And I will finish this post with a quote from a very dear movie of mine:

    "There is one thing you should never forget. No matter how gifted, you alone can not change the world. But that's the reason why the world we live in is so special". :)

    My mail is slavkec@live.com. If anyone has any creative idea about anything let's try and make something together.


    If you lack info, you get negative result by using positive strategy. Therefor, information is power.
    • Edited by slavkec Monday, October 3, 2011 7:17 PM wrong mail
    Monday, October 3, 2011 6:32 PM
  • "I suggest you learn basics of drawing, cause picture can say a lot more and help people understand a lot better what you want and have."

    Your right, and i think i will do just that.


    Tuesday, October 4, 2011 3:14 AM
  • I like you idea but its starting to look cluttered to me...
    Technical Beta Tester || Matthew John Earley BSc (hons) || www.o0MattE0o.myby.co.uk
    Tuesday, October 4, 2011 8:45 AM
  • I lied a bit, cause this is my last upload now. :) I uploaded one last final design of the start screen (Skyfolder) for those who like colors more than gray shades. :) Thanks for all of your views and comments, it meant a lot to me :)

    Bye for now ;)

    If you lack info, you get negative result by using positive strategy. Therefor, information is power.
    Tuesday, October 4, 2011 10:17 AM
  • Well the color certainly helps. It makes everything more understandable as well as improving the appearance. The horizontal scroller at bottom-right is an interesting idea. Oh, and thanks for the hat tip :)

    The only thing i would say against it is that i'm not sure about the use of tiles in Metro Start. Tiles look a bit too big and simple to my eye, without helping the touch user much, except for being an easy target. They get that bit right, but are tiles what you really want in touch system?

    Contrast with my idea of;

    Large Icons view + Details view = Large Details view

    The whole beauty of (large) details view, is that each column can become a touch target in its own right. Consider;


    [Icon]   "Display Name One"   [r] [ x ]   Category      <-- Running app

    [Icon]   "Display Name Two"   elapsed   Category      <-- Closed app


    With this layout, there are four or five buttons you can press for each application name - not just one big tile. Also, it could be extended; holding down [Icon] and pressing "Display Name" might take you to Uninstall, Category might take you to that section of the App Store, etc. So it's a more sophisticated layout than 'tiles view', without using more space, but with elements (targets) that are big enough for touch, just (and 'just' is what you want).

    Additionally, the size of the icons (hence row height), and the show|hide status of the vertical scroll bar can be altered as required, determined by things like IsTabletPC, IsMouseConnected status, and user preference.


    Visit when you can...


    • Edited by Drewfus Tuesday, October 4, 2011 12:40 PM
    Tuesday, October 4, 2011 12:20 PM
  • A few points to add:

    1. Any list/details view will require vertical scrolling. Horizontal scrolling might be preferable for touch use "in theory", but the advantage is immediately lost when tiles are the target objects, because their large extent in the scrolling dimension means that your simply trading scrolling distance for scrollability. So overall no benefit. Meanwhile the mouse & keyboard user still wants vertical scrolling, and if any group is going to get the benefit of the doubt, it should be the existing user base. Also, although left-right flicking (touch-scrolling) might be somewhat preferable to up-down flicking, visual scanning of items is always easier in the vertical plane than the horizontal.
    2. A details view start menu, even with large icons, is not going to use up all of the horizontal pixels. Other than leaving this area (right-side) of the desktop blank, some use could be found for it. I'll suggest; Objects. The most obvious object would be an app canvas for small, functional apps that don't really suit running full screen. Stuff like Calc, Weather, Stocks. Maybe Skype. Also in this section could be Windows Update and program installation details, detailed system messages (instead of popups) and/or new system log entries, graphs and charts (disk use, etc), App Store ads :-( , new email/message details, etc.
    3. The object canvas might remain visible on the users lock screen, to enable monitoring of particular tasks and/or system state.
    4. The dual-pane Start-Canvas split would aid many things, including search; Program names and recent files results could appear within Start, and other results like mail messages and picture thumbs could appear within Canvas.


    Altogether much more functionality and scope with large details view start menu + objects, as opposed to the bland repetitiveness of tiles.


    • Edited by Drewfus Friday, October 7, 2011 12:14 AM add #4
    Wednesday, October 5, 2011 2:46 AM
  • I'll try and continue my work and post it on facebook. My face is www.facebook.com/slavkec . It's public so you really don't have to be my friend if you don't want to :) . Drew my man, I think I have a solution to your explorer wish :) It's a combination of details and no details :) Hint: a button called "Details" ;)

    If you lack info, you get negative result by using positive strategy. Therefor, information is power.
    Wednesday, October 5, 2011 5:45 PM
  • I'd prefer a button labelled 'Tiles', and a tile labelled 'Details' ;)
    Friday, October 7, 2011 12:14 AM
  • Skydrive Folder

    Explorer is going in the right direction I hope. I uploaded a work in progress pic. I'll explain once it's all there :) And yes, Tiles it is! :)

    If anyone has something to add or improve, please go ahead :)

    If you lack info, you get negative result by using positive strategy. Therefor, information is power.
    Friday, October 7, 2011 8:54 PM
  • New Skydrive Folder *only color pictures

    Windows Explorer - Tiles View

    I'll try to be brief as possible. This can still be upgraded or downgraded any time. Colors are also optional and are subject to change, so don't mind that too. :)



    • Shortcut to start screen - Select an executable application and pin it in Apps, Games or System folder (you can create a new one also). A new group is created "New Group 1" with pinned file inside. You can then rename the group or do whatever you want to do.
    • New File - Creates a new file. You choose the name and extension.
    • New Folder - Creates new folder.



    • Cut, Copy, Paste, Rename, Properties, Delete



    • Burn selected files to disc (excluding tablets)
    • Mount ISO file - Mounts selected file to a virtual drive.



    • Tiles (this view)
    • Details (coming…)



    • Same as in old explorer, but with added "Pin this path" icon at the end. This is useful when you have a long hierarchy of folders and you want to save locations you regularly use. Also useful when copying files from one location to another. Once pinned, folder appears as number under "Pinned" bar on the left side of the explorer (subject to change/remove).


    My locations

    • By default it contains Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos and Downloads (subject to change/remove).
    • Pinned (explanation under Breadcrumbs)
    • Network - Same as pinned, but this time pinned folders are somewhere on local network (subject to change/remove) (maybe excluding tablets).


    File system

    • Yellow blocks are folders (group tiles). If folder is pinned, it displays its number (this could also display number of files in folder).
    • Green blocks are files (regular tiles). Extension of the file is shown in lower left corner.
    • All tiles have a selection box in lower right corner.


    Hard drive/External drive Indicator

    • Displays current hard drives on the system. Mounted files and external drives add new letters.



    • Tap once anywhere on a tile to select it. Once selected, tap selection box of another tile to add it to selection (to de-select tap the same selection box again). Double tap the selection box to select all files in current folder.
    • Once selected, you can use Edit and Tools.


    Windows Settings button should be unique for every application to save space and for better organization. Settings for explorer could contain size of the tiles, additional tools/buttons that can be added or removed from current Create, Edit and Tools groups etc. So when you're in Explorer you set the Explorer, when in IE you set the IE etc. :)

    If you lack info, you get negative result by using positive strategy. Therefor, information is power.

    • Edited by slavkec Sunday, October 9, 2011 10:01 PM link
    Sunday, October 9, 2011 8:26 PM
  • Blue version of Explorer tiles and details view is done. :) Check Skydrive Folder. And I think I'm done here. Phew... what a day :D
    If you lack info, you get negative result by using positive strategy. Therefor, information is power.
    Thursday, October 13, 2011 11:13 AM
  • Windows 8 Seems to be a Great Release of windows Series but still it requires some updates,

    slavkec Suggests some cool ideas, i have to add some of mine

    Windows 8 UI definitely should have to update, Windows 8 should have 3D look as there are many 3D machines are available in market, 

    The concept of new start menu is great but there should be an option to choose the old one. New looks needs more improvements 

    Monday, October 17, 2011 4:44 AM
  • My 2 Pennies:

    1. Mesh the Metro UI start screen with the Desktop.
           ...So that Metro (Tiles) float in front of the desktop background (with your icons hidden)
          *the Win key could be used to toggle Metro UI overlay on/off, fading-in/showing icons on desktop as normal & fading Metro Tiles away.
          *When in Metro-Mode = Same new start menu
           --Both Modes should allow both horizontal and VERTICAL scrolling to make use of space and     functionality, as well as orginazation and convenience.
         *When in the more traditional Desktop mode = Start Menu similar to Windows 7 (with new style to it, but full-featured/customizable).
         A key improvement as well would be to be able to give the option of Apps to be launched as Metro style or Desktop Style (The new internet explorer, for example, would be one and the same, not two different browsers for two different UI's!  This would solve yet another caveat of the current UI.  I like the concept of Metro, but I think my Meshing of the two would make Windows 8 more efficient and much more user friendly, as well as enjoyable for all platforms (Desktop PC, Notebook PC, Tablet PC).

    2.  Customization (very important to everyone, and even more important to power-users who use a wide array of applications).

           *Easy Customization of tiles (use your own original-created tiles to pin/launch any app from  Metro and/or Desktop).
                       ... Not just the icons, but entire Tile Customization would be a big improvement.
           *Zoom/Size features for both Desktop and Metro.

    On a side-note, I sent some suggestions to MS directly..... They basically seem to think they know what's best for their users (that's us).  Maybe it's just me (highly doubt it), but maybe we would know better what works for us and what doesn't!....

    ... And yes, the new UI is pretty cool, it just needs some serious overhauls, and needs to play nice with the desktop, keeping us free to choose how our PC behaves. (Personal Computer... what's that mean?)

    What are your thoughts everyone?  Also, Can anyone tell me how to easily create my own tiles to launch apps from Metro UI? Thanks.

    • Edited by c-tekk Thursday, November 17, 2011 5:55 PM
    Thursday, November 17, 2011 10:43 AM
  • I especially agree you should be able to put headings on tile groups.  It's what I was looking for when I installed office, photoshop, many games and even my websites and designs.  Also, I think they got it backwards and you're right, newly pinned items should prompt for location on-screen.

    Good Thread!... I hope the MS team is taking good notes here!  Some of us are serious power users and know what works, what doesn't.  I do like windows 8.  but it does need some fixin'.  As it sits the D.P. is nice to some degree, but I have to admit that it's quite cumbersome and the idea of having Metro and the desktop in two different sandboxes (it feels almost like you're switching from one OS to another just to launch an app), so it is somewhat redundant (two different ie browsers? (lame)).  ie10 should be one browser.  Maybe allow it to be toggled between Metro style and traditional desktop/  I posted some other ideas that I think would greatly enhance the user experience, the overall UI, the speed and freeing up of some valuable resources (ram, cpu etc). I know that alot of folks are slamming MS for the Metro UI, especially Desktop/Notebook(non-touch) users.  I welcome the metro UI, but it has to be part of the desktop, it has to be more integrated rather than the way it behaves now.  Why have little icons on generic tiles? let's allow the user's to make their own tiles easily for launching apps(via right-click). 

    • Edited by c-tekk Thursday, November 17, 2011 5:53 PM
    Thursday, November 17, 2011 10:54 AM
  • Picutre 1. Windows Start Menu Dev Preview

    This is the menu behind scenes right now (as I see it). By my opinion it has no real structure. It has groups, but lets say users can easily loose themselves if these tiles continue growing.

    @ slavkec

    Does your Tablet allow you to do the "semantic zoom" you can see demonstrated in the Build video about the Touch Language?   (I haven't found a way to post a link, just to say open the Build app and do a search in it for Touch Language.)   FWIW my Tablet (HP TouchSmart) only shows a shrinkage of about 1 row vertically and an increase in the number of columns only by 2.   But the video definitely gave me the idea that the paging and grouping mechanisms provided by semantic zoom will help solve this problem very elegantly.   I think we need to wait for the next build before worrying too much about missing functionality in the Start Screen.   ; )

    Wow.   I just found out how that would work using two hands instead of just the one-hand "pinch" gesture that is suggested.   Just hold your thumb over the opposite corner while scrolling--so sort of like blocking the flow. 

    BTW provided you aren't just using a slate you can always use your keyboard to navigate through the Start Screen.   What I don't understand is not being able to open my Touch Keyboard for it.   E.g. then even slate users could find more of the potential navigation of the Start Screen...  Oh.  Now I do.  The best extra they could then do is be able to press Ctrl-CursorRight (but not End or Home <w>).    But perhaps I have something configured incorrectly because I can't even get the Touch Keyboard to open for the Search pane.   Maybe I have to disconnect my secondary monitor?...

    Still no keyboard.   OMG.  Semantic Zoom is working in the Search pane (e.g. using my blocking thumb idea)!   Only with Projector off, e.g. not Extended.   Thank you for making me find this!   ; )



    Robert Aldwinckle

    Thursday, November 17, 2011 6:32 PM
  • @Robert

    I'm glad you told me about that video. I just watched it and I like all the features presented there. I'm also aware that my design concerns are premature since it's only development phase of the product, but if I ignite one more idea with my idea, I'm happy. I don't need to be right, but maybe being wrong is also right, 'cause it will also cause someone else to think differently and better improve on my bad idea :) That's the whole point here. If I helped you find or think about anything involving creativity, I'm glad I did. You also helped me here, so thank you back :)

    If you lack info, you get negative result by using positive strategy. Therefor, information is power.
    Friday, November 18, 2011 10:20 AM