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Windows Start Menu Discussion

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By your reasoning I guess that Apple shouldn't be making commercial products either, then? given that they apparently seem to think it's more than possible for products to be interoperable without forcing them to all use the same UI.

You say that as if that isn't a goal of theirs.

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I disrespectfully disagree with about everything you've said. I can only shake my head at Neobond for deeming this front page material. It fails as a history lesson, on the challenges the Start menu was built to address, and how the new system addresses those. In fact, your post is so scattered, its hard to decipher exactly what you are driving at most of the time beyond touch support good - in my best Frankenstein.

For example, you spend a ton of time complaining about how the old All Programs was a complete mess yada yada, without coherently addressing how the new All Programs addresses these problems. You cite the 'scary' Misc, Accessories and Systems folders, which still exist. You say that it was a sea of folders, when now its a sea of icons with little hierarchy (which freaks you out for some unnamed reason). It still inherits hierarchy shown by how it alphabetizes by the folder name and it doesn't bother to remember what grouping you select from the zoomed view (which is the feature that was supposed to make it easier - and fails).

I also find it amusing that many of the current problems you cite with the Win7 taskbar, like the pinned items restrictions, didn't exist in its more classic form. So progress is the removal and then partial re-addition of the same feature? Additionally, you most certainly could pin folders and documents in the Win7 Start menu so you're factually wrong there too. In fact that brings up another thing the new menu can't do, pin content.

The only clear change I've seen so far is that it rewards me for using the Taskbar more and Start less. I use four common app launch methods everyday in Win7, now I'm down to two.

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Hey there strangers ;) I found a decent article comparing the old to the new, I thought I'd share it since it seems relevant to the start menu discussions we've been having in several threads.

http://www.techradar.com/news/software/operating-systems/windows-7-vs-windows-8-what-youll-need-to-relearn-1085293

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For example, you spend a ton of time complaining about how the old All Programs was a complete mess yada yada, without coherently addressing how the new All Programs addresses these problems.

It's cleaner and better laid out. Each app is separated into a category of it's own, and gone are the scary sounding folder names (in fact the folders are gone now too). If you go back to my first post, you'll see that the current Start Menu (once you click into "All Programs"), is a mix of 'homeless' apps, buried apps, and foldered apps. It's quite literally a mess.

The All Apps menu is clean, easy to read and understand. It's not cluttered, or space-hindered like the current Windows 7 Start Menu is.

You cite the 'scary' Misc, Accessories and Systems folders, which still exist. You say that it was a sea of folders, when now its a sea of icons with little hierarchy (which freaks you out for some unnamed reason). It still inherits hierarchy shown by how it alphabetizes by the folder name and it doesn't bother to remember what grouping you select from the zoomed view (which is the feature that was supposed to make it easier - and fails).

Yes, and no. Both folder have been renamed and users can now see what's in them without having to click them. A lot less scary when you don't have to worry about "Messing thing up" or "breaking anything". Yes, those are direct quotes from my own Mom, who is afraid to click on anything she doesn't know.

Folder hierarchies are so 1970's. We can do better than sound like we're recent 70's CS majors from MIT. Again, All Apps lays everything out, in a clear manner, with no space wasted. I can see what I have without wasting mouse clicks, and I'm not cramped into a small corner of the screen.

I also find it amusing that many of the current problems you cite with the Win7 taskbar, like the pinned items restrictions, didn't exist in its more classic form. So progress is the removal and then partial re-addition of the same feature? Additionally, you most certainly could pin folders and documents in the Win7 Start menu so you're factually wrong there too. In fact that brings up another thing the new menu can't do, pin content.

If you can pin folders to the Start Menu, there is no clear and easy way of going about it. I haven't been able to pin folders since Windows 98.

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It's cleaner and better laid out. Each app is separated into a category of it's own, and gone are the scary sounding folder names. The All Apps menu is clean, easy to read and understand. It's not cluttered, or space-hindered like the current Windows 7 Start Menu is.

post-5317-0-82335900-1343538889_thumb.jp

It's quite literally a mess.

Its easy to show a poster child at low res, but lets look at a more realistic example. Quick, find Notepad! The Metro app side doesn't even get the benefit of the barely visible folder titles. Don't get me wrong, I get that users want better ways to see into the containers, but to dismiss the idea of containers completely is foolish. Even if we are talking about people with basic competency. You don't just throw your stuff around on your desk, why would you want that here?

For example, why does the All Programs use a different semantic zoom than the pinned screen? What exatly is this new organizational method supposed to look like if we are tossing the desktop metaphor?

post-5317-0-55467100-1343540607.png

That is the kind of organizational help Metro is missing. In its current state there are few visual cues to tie groups together. On top of that the main pin screen and all programs offer little control of the containers themselves. I find it funny that they now force the Start corner location (another peeve), show us a heat map of the most easy to hit target regions, yet force us to organize from the top left instead of the lower left (WP7 at least has a grid).

If you can pin folders to the Start Menu, there is no clear and easy way of going about it.

The main point was pinned content but its pretty easy to do it for folders too (drag shortcut to Start button or pin Explorer). Another place where the new Start menu has no synergy with the taskbar or filesystem, and no proposed solutions for it by release. As someone who generally prefers to open from the file and not the application, I don't like being corralled into working that way. Creating an over reliance on applications to handle basic file system interaction is a dangerous road when its those same bad developers that made them do this to begin with.

The overall problem is we don't know if it will have merit cause right now its just a sketch, a prototype. A beta component shoehorned onto an otherwise solid release. Which is fine to develop and grow, but not ok to mandate. That is what was most missing from your post, something to balace your exuberence on what it could be vs what it is right now.

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Its easy to show a poster child at low res, but lets look at a more realistic example. Quick, find Notepad!

Winkey, "note", Enter. I think the All Apps screen is no more than an afterthought, to support an outdated mode of launching programs.

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Search is a more efficient way without argument. There will always be a need to browse though, so we still need an all app view of some kind. Especially since Start now handles Add/Remove behavior among other things. Most simple users still know how to hit All Progs - Accessories. It was merely an example of how the new Start is still 'cluttered and space-hindered' if you chose to look at it that way. People scan in rows so adding more X and Y has a falloff point of usefulness, and eventually still does require scrolling. If space-hindered is merely cutting off text labels, then semantic zoom is guilty too.

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