Creating Unity Between 'Desktop' & ' Metro' - Your Comments Needed! - RRS feed

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  • It's been a long road for Windows, and I can proudly say I've spent my time with every single version since 3.0 (& Several Version of MS-DOS too!)

    I'm very excited for the new usage model that windows is preparing the OS for, the mobile device market is sorely lacking in true productivity and compatibility.  The new models of interaction with a system are exciting, through touch (Metro) and motion (Kinect for Win8!) New advancements in gaming (Windows Live Games) In storing user profiles in the cloud (Windows Live) Remote Computer Control (Live Mesh) and Virtual Machines (Hyper-V)

    */- I have some pretty great ideas about how my Desktop, Metro & Start menu options and Documents folder should sync up with my live account!  If you want to really win over the masses, I should have remote access to my home server for media under the same account.  -  I will start another thread for my thoughts regarding Live account login, Media Center and Home Servers in the Cloud -/*

    Now there is the major issue that seems to be resounding on the reviews of the 'Metro' interface which are pointing to a serious user experience issue.  For the last decade, we have become accustomed to the 'Windows' experience, to which I am directly referencing to the ability to run applications in a window.  The window is capable of being minimized/maximized, resized and positioned at the users will.  Critical application information is available in the window pane. Contextual menus, close/resize, and application name are all displayed and available.  

    Secondary to the 'windows' interface, was the Start menu and task bar.  This is the primary application launch area, as well as program status and control.  From a purely simple connection, the new Metro interface would be considered a much improved Quick Launch.  In-fact, I do see the familiar design elements carried through a little bit. If you're really missing it, moving the mouse to the lower left corner and hovering will pull up a remotely familiar Start menu. (Minus a few elements)

    Regarding the jarring switch between the old Desktop and new Metro,  I believe that a few simple design elements can really pull the two together.  I will break my suggestions down into basic concepts and recommended functions. I want everybody who reads this to add their input.  Even if it's just a "Hell Yeah 2a!"  I've underlined the elements that I've trying to start a discussion about in this thread. Microsoft needs everyone to give their input to pull off a great user experience!

    1 : Connecting Old Windows with Metro Windows:

    It's a bit of a jolt switching from desktop mode to metro mode, and It's not very metro-sexual yet at all.  Can metro really even be considered to be running apps in a window?  It seems to me that apps are in-your-face fullscreen, or Houdini completely.  I can still resize programs in the desktop, and any old applications are running right there in the ribbon, side by side. -- Apps are hidden

    a)   The Desktop/Start menu/Task bar is a critical structure of Windows OS ( See Ref : 1 ) The Desktop has been there since 3.0 & The Start menu has been around since Win 95.  The ribbon updates that were introduced in Windows 7 should not be left out of the metro fix!  I want my app's to appear in the ribbon right beside the old programs.  I want to be able to pin and start up app's from the desktop.  If you really want to get me excited, I want live previews on mouse over too! 

    b)   It should be possible to run App's from within the desktop infrastructure.  Think of a virtual machine with Windows 8 Metro App Interface running in Windows 7 desktop mode.  ( See Connecting Metro -> Desktop : 2 ) 

    2 : Connecting Metro Windows with Desktop Windows

    I totally understand that developer preview isn't even a beta yet, so there is alot missing still.  So this recommendation should not be a big suprise. Areo mode is required element to taking metro from the kinder garden coloured blocks to the next generation in design.  Round off the corners just a touch, or better yet make it an option, and make opacity an slide-able option as well.

    a)   This is related to Areo mode, but requires special mention.  I want to be able to specify background images for everything.  I mean EVERYTHING!!!  Lock screen, Login, Start up, Desktop, Metro, Shut down, Context-menus & even individual app's!  I really mean this one.  For the ultimate in personalization and to create a true human connection with my machine,  I want to be able to decorate My Windows like my high school locker.  Nice lock screen, but really, is that it?  This could make for some really great themes that highlight different usage patterns/device types.


    b)   I think that Apps should not be limited to full-screen only.  Especially when moving to multi monitor displays.  The simplest way to do this without disturbing the app infrastructure would be to re-create the side-by side lock from desktop mode in metro mode.  My dream is that the metro mode would allow for fully re-sizeable app's (or alternately push apps to a window in desktop mode)  In my opinion, running every app in full screen is not "Windows" any more ( See Ref : 2)

    3 : Controlling Metro App's (In a Windows Environment):

    Regardless of the amazing multitasking abilities baked into the windows core, I want to be able decide to shut down an app, from a context menu within that application.  In-fact, the entire context menu (right click) should be available for any running Metro app.( See Ref : 3 )

    a)   The Hover Start Menu (for lack of better descriptor) When you select the Settings option it slides out a green panel on the right hand side.  I believe that this should house all of the application specific context menu options as well as the option to Close/minimize the app.  Like the start menu comes up to hover over the bottom left corner, the context menu should be available by hovering over the right top corner. 

    b)   The task manager needs to have it's own Metro skin.  I definitely do not want to rely upon a task manager app developed by anyone but the operating system developer.  I don't want an eye candy task manager either.  It should have exactly all of the same advanced control options available.  I recommend just skinning it, and giving you a one button option to switch from Metro to Desktop mode.


    I have taken the time to express my ideas clearly (I hope) with the intention of reaching out to the Windows 8 Development team.  I want to believe in 'the one OS to rule them all', and I have always been a windows supporter (Even ME)    My opinion is just a primer for a bigger discussion.  It should be our ideas, the users, that shape the direction of the most effective and productive OS (so far!)


    Saturday, September 17, 2011 3:55 AM

All replies

  • Sorry, you are in the wrong forum. This forum is for people who write software to extend Windows Shell (e.g. add a toolbar to Windows Explorer or a new virtual folder under my computer). If you want to ask Microsoft about issues not related in writing software for it, try the Windows 8 forum for non-developer questions.

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    Visual C++ MVP
    Saturday, September 17, 2011 2:32 PM