Jump to content



Photo

Windows 8 Start Screen - addressing icon clutter


  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 Denis W.

Denis W.

    The True North!

  • Tech Issues Solved: 4
  • Joined: 06-March 05
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario [CA]
  • OS: Windows 8 Pro and OS X Mavericks
  • Phone: iPhone 4S

Posted 04 September 2012 - 07:19

My opinion on Metro apps remains the same for the past week, and sporadic days in the previews - they're still stale. Really annoyed at how gimped the functionality is and how heavily they're tied to Microsoft's own services, However, besides that, I find the Start Screen to be alright in a keyboard + mouse setup.

Compared to pinning the applications to the Windows Vista/7 style Start Menu, this offers the option to pin much more applications, without the need to shrink items to a small 16-pixel high menu item to fit more items in as was the case in the Start Menu. And since the tiles are fairly large, the amount of time to hit a tile is reasonable regardless of its location on the screen.

However, one major problem remains. It's not the way to invoke All Apps (though instead of hiding it in the command menu, perhaps it should be a large tile itself?. It's not that apps are now laid flat when viewing All Apps.

It's that every. Bloody. Application gets thrown onto the Metro Start Screen after install, so long as it points to an executable. The clutter piles on quick after a fresh install and loading your must have applications. After promoting the "user in control" mantra with the superbar in Windows 7, where only users can decide what goes on there (though developers have found ways to auto-pin to the superbar), it's bizarre - or perhaps lazy - for Microsoft to take a step back and allow any application to be shoved onto the front page of the Start Screen.

So an idea of how to address this problem. Why not reserve two columns or so dedicated to just showing recently installed applications, or recently used apps? It will essentially be the same as the Start Menu, where by default the space under the pinned applications acts as a MRU of applications, with new applications floated to the top and highlighted in yellow.

With this column users are free to drag out the apps they want to keep persistent and in a place they can memorize. If users don't pin anything that's their choice, but at least then the applications won't spill across many pages in a completely random order.

Or alternatively, there could be some magic button you can hit for Windows to automatically guess the category of applications and arrange them as such - could be a background list of applications updated by Windows Update to determine which app goes where.


#2 Dot Matrix

Dot Matrix

    Neowinian Senior

  • Tech Issues Solved: 3
  • Joined: 14-November 11
  • Location: Upstate New York
  • OS: Windows 8.1
  • Phone: Nokia Lumia 920

Posted 04 September 2012 - 12:52

You're talking about old apps that are designed by their developer to throw garbage into what was the Start Menu. Give it time, and clutter will be decreased.

#3 vetCalum

Calum

    Neowinian Senior

  • Joined: 10-January 07

Posted 04 September 2012 - 12:59

Those are perhaps good suggestions, but I don't think I'd like those sections on the Start screen, so if they could be turned off, I of course wouldn't mind.

I'd just rather Microsoft had not done this. The apps go in the Apps section when they're installed; there is no need for them to be automatically pinned to the Start screen. It's irritating to me, but I'm not that bothered, as I have no problem unpinning them. My concern is how messy the Start screens of unorganised users could become; those users who don't care about keeping their Start screen tidy and useful.

#4 OP Denis W.

Denis W.

    The True North!

  • Tech Issues Solved: 4
  • Joined: 06-March 05
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario [CA]
  • OS: Windows 8 Pro and OS X Mavericks
  • Phone: iPhone 4S

Posted 04 September 2012 - 16:49

You're talking about old apps that are designed by their developer to throw garbage into what was the Start Menu. Give it time, and clutter will be decreased.


While that would be nice in theory, Microsoft did discourage developers to stop using nested subfolders back in Vista, yet developers kept doing it.

I'd just rather Microsoft had not done this. The apps go in the Apps section when they're installed; there is no need for them to be automatically pinned to the Start screen. It's irritating to me, but I'm not that bothered, as I have no problem unpinning them. My concern is how messy the Start screens of unorganised users could become; those users who don't care about keeping their Start screen tidy and useful.


Exactly, with respect to the cleanliness aspect. Looking at desktops of typical users they're an unorganized mess of apps and personal files or scrap. Can't expect them to play cleaning maid on the Start Screen on a regular basis.

But new apps should be floated up to the Start Screen to aid discoverability. Just not in the way Microsoft is doing right now.

#5 Dashel

Dashel

    Disgustipator

  • Joined: 03-December 01
  • Location: USA

Posted 04 September 2012 - 16:54

Devs could give two ****s about fixing it, they haven't bothered in decades. Which is why MS threw in the towel and made it almost impossible for them to add them to the superbar in 7. It all hinges on the broken All Programs to me, MS knows its a worse cluster**** of icons so it auto-pins so users will rarely drill down that far. For me, it really highlights the lack of drag-select and why for some reason it doesn't allow multiple 'unpins' - its fraking terrible on a laptop to clean up so users will have the same cluttered Start as they did a cluttered Desktop.

#6 streetw0lf

streetw0lf

    Neowinian

  • Joined: 03-January 04
  • Location: USA

Posted 04 September 2012 - 17:01

Install Classic Start Menu. Have it start up with the desktop instead of Modern. Get rid of the Modern mini start menu in the bottom left corner when hovering there and make the middle mouse button click get you to the Modern screen if you want. All of this done in CSM plus much, much more. Makes W8 like good old W7. Still can't figure out why MS designed W8 the way it did. The corporate world won't be beating a path to it's door anytime soon IMO.

#7 George P

George P

    Neowinian Senior

  • Tech Issues Solved: 1
  • Joined: 04-February 07
  • Location: Greece
  • OS: Windows 8.1 Pro 64bit
  • Phone: HTC Windows Phone 8X

Posted 04 September 2012 - 17:02

One thing to know is that the metro/winrt apps from the store can only pin one tile to the start screen when they're installed unlike desktop apps that toss things up everywhere. If you don't want stuff pinned to the start screen, the installer, at least for a number of apps that i've used, has a option to "add to start menu" or w/e it's worded as, unchecking this shouldn't put anything on the start screen in Windows 8 like it shouldn't put anything in the start menu in older versions of Windows.

Apps that don't give you these choices at install are fail, and it's the developers fault really.

#8 +Brandon Live

Brandon Live

    Seattle geek

  • Joined: 08-June 03
  • Location: Seattle, WA

Posted 04 September 2012 - 17:05

I'd just rather Microsoft had not done this. The apps go in the Apps section when they're installed; there is no need for them to be automatically pinned to the Start screen. It's irritating to me, but I'm not that bothered, as I have no problem unpinning them.


I think you're inverting the design. The Start page is designed to have all the apps you use, period. It is assumed that if you install an app, you intend to use it, so that's where it's put. The "all apps" view is a place to find all the random utilities included with the system (which you can pin if you expect to use them regularly) or the uninstallers (plus readme files and other random junk) installed by desktop applications. And it gives an option for power-users to put banish rarely used apps there.

How to filter the set of shortcuts installed by a desktop app (especially a pre-Win8 one) so that the "right" ones make it to Start is a challenge, but for the most part it becomes apparent for large toolsets like Visual Studio, and the sort of people installing that are likely to figure out the whole "unpin things you don't want" thing.

My concern is how messy the Start screens of unorganised users could become; those users who don't care about keeping their Start screen tidy and useful.


If they don't care, why be concerned for them? :-)

For me, it really highlights the lack of drag-select and why for some reason it doesn't allow multiple 'unpins' - its fraking terrible on a laptop to clean up so users will have the same cluttered Start as they did a cluttered Desktop.


What do you mean? You can multi-select as many tiles as you want and select "unpin."

#9 George P

George P

    Neowinian Senior

  • Tech Issues Solved: 1
  • Joined: 04-February 07
  • Location: Greece
  • OS: Windows 8.1 Pro 64bit
  • Phone: HTC Windows Phone 8X

Posted 04 September 2012 - 17:06

Install Classic Start Menu. Have it start up with the desktop instead of Modern. Get rid of the Modern mini start menu in the bottom left corner when hovering there and make the middle mouse button click get you to the Modern screen if you want. All of this done in CSM plus much, much more. Makes W8 like good old W7. Still can't figure out why MS designed W8 the way it did. The corporate world won't be beating a path to it's door anytime soon IMO.


Business wasn't going to upgrade to whatever Windows 8 was regardless, it's outside they're update cycle. MS knows this, and others should have picked up on it anyways. The companies that either just upgraded to Windows 7 or have already planned to upgrade to Windows 7 soon (after months of testing etc) are never going to upgrade to Windows 8. It's a fact. The only way you'll see Windows 8 in businesses is through new devices like tablets/laptops and so on, and that's where Windows 8 and the new UI works best.

MS will cater to business with Windows 9 which will fall into their update cycles and will be something they'll look to when the time comes.

#10 Dashel

Dashel

    Disgustipator

  • Joined: 03-December 01
  • Location: USA

Posted 04 September 2012 - 17:20

What do you mean? You can multi-select as many tiles as you want and select "unpin."


My mistake. Looks like that was fixed for RTM. (Still can't pin multiples to Taskbar though and All Programs has no multi-select at all.)

#11 OP Denis W.

Denis W.

    The True North!

  • Tech Issues Solved: 4
  • Joined: 06-March 05
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario [CA]
  • OS: Windows 8 Pro and OS X Mavericks
  • Phone: iPhone 4S

Posted 04 September 2012 - 17:38

One thing to know is that the metro/winrt apps from the store can only pin one tile to the start screen when they're installed unlike desktop apps that toss things up everywhere. If you don't want stuff pinned to the start screen, the installer, at least for a number of apps that i've used, has a option to "add to start menu" or w/e it's worded as, unchecking this shouldn't put anything on the start screen in Windows 8 like it shouldn't put anything in the start menu in older versions of Windows.

Apps that don't give you these choices at install are fail, and it's the developers fault really.


To my understanding, current installers have "create program group (or folder in Start Menu)" and "add to Start Menu." I think the latter means throwing a link to the parent level folder - probably not the area above the Start Menu's MRU.

So even if you uncheck the second option, assuming the installer only offers that, the app will still create a program group and thus spill icons onto the Start Screen.

Devs could give two ****s about fixing it, they haven't bothered in decades. Which is why MS threw in the towel and made it almost impossible for them to add them to the superbar in 7.


Yeah, a few apps (i.e Opera and Chrome) found ways to pin themselves to the superbar.

#12 OP Denis W.

Denis W.

    The True North!

  • Tech Issues Solved: 4
  • Joined: 06-March 05
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario [CA]
  • OS: Windows 8 Pro and OS X Mavericks
  • Phone: iPhone 4S

Posted 04 September 2012 - 17:43

If they don't care, why be concerned for them? :-)


Leaving it like this in the short term, I'd wager they would probably give up on trying to hunt down icons on the Start Screen and go straight to search.

I see it like the move from toolbars to the ribbon: sure, you could reorganize the toolbars in Office if you really wanted to, but most didn't and left it as a cluttered mess.

#13 Dot Matrix

Dot Matrix

    Neowinian Senior

  • Tech Issues Solved: 3
  • Joined: 14-November 11
  • Location: Upstate New York
  • OS: Windows 8.1
  • Phone: Nokia Lumia 920

Posted 04 September 2012 - 17:51

Leaving it like this in the short term, I'd wager they would probably give up on trying to hunt down icons on the Start Screen and go straight to search.


I see it as less of an issue too, if users install from the Store.

#14 Dashel

Dashel

    Disgustipator

  • Joined: 03-December 01
  • Location: USA

Posted 10 September 2012 - 20:29

So, has anyone found a solution to the 'inverse' issue? ie That as soon as one user 'unpins' installed applications from the Start Screen, those icons are also unpinned on any subsequently created users - so they have to go in and repin all of the office suite for example (without the ability to multi-select) from that travesty of an All Programs menu.



Click here to login or here to register to remove this ad, it's free!