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Is it just me or those Metro apps really sucks so bad?

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#61 theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 17:18

This is not true. Many of the apps are designed to be great on desktop PCs (as well as mobile ones). I use the Music and Videos apps all the time on my desktop at home (and Music pretty regularly at work). I also use Mail, my own Foursquare app, Messaging (mostly when people FB message me), Modern Reader, and that's not counting the ones I use mostly for the tiles (Weather, Calendar, etc)


The apps you list are some of the worst examples of Metro apps. If I want to play an MP3 the last thing I want is for the Music app to take over the entire screen for what is essentially a background process - I then either have to snap it to the side or task-switch out of it. It's the same when playing back videos - on the desktop I can choose whether VLC starts fullscreen or in a window according to preference; with Videos it runs fullscreen or can be switched to a useless side-snap mode. Mail wastes screen space to an absurd degree, especially when my desktop monitor is 2560x1600. Even Solitaire - which is a well designed app - is hugely constrained by the Metro design model, meaning you can't have it open alongside a file transfer or a browser window.

Microsoft should have allowed Metro apps to exist within the desktop environment - that is allow them to scale and feature the traditional window chrome. Then users would have had a choice at how they use apps. Instead Microsoft decided to dictate to users what they can and can't do and it's frankly insulting to anyone familiar with the Windows platform. Windows 8 is a great operating system on the desktop but the integration with Metro is shocking, without even going into the anti-competitive nature of preventing Metro apps from being distributed via other stores. I'm torn on the start screen, as it offers a lot of very worthwhile improvements (utilising the entire screen; easier arrangement of apps; greater visual customisation; live tiles) but still comes across as somewhat clunky when used with mouse and keyboard (I've been using it for over 6 months as my exclusive operating system).

Windows 8 might be great on tablets but Metro apps just don't work well with a desktop computer, especially not with high resolution displays. I wouldn't go as far as saying it's a tablet interface but I would say that it's a bad interface for keyboard and mouse. Oh, and the charm bar is terrible.


#62 +Brandon Live

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 17:29

The apps you list are some of the worst examples of Metro apps. If I want to play an MP3 the last thing I want is for the Music app to take over the entire screen for what is essentially a background process - I then either have to snap it to the side or task-switch out of it.


I have no problem with this. I launch Music, tell it what to play (and while I'm doing this, the full-screen immersive experience is really nice and makes the task much easier). Then once I start something playing, I either use Start or the back-stack (upper-left corner) to go do something else.

It's the same when playing back videos - on the desktop I can choose whether VLC starts fullscreen or in a window according to preference; with Videos it runs fullscreen or can be switched to a useless side-snap mode. Mail wastes screen space to an absurd degree, especially when my desktop monitor is 2560x1600.


Video is most often a full-screen experience to begin with. I have a 2560x1600 monitor at work, and I don't really use Mail there because, well, I'm at work and Outlook is more suited to that environment. But those monitors are extremely rare. At home I have a 23" 1080p monitor and Mail works very nicely there.

Even Solitaire - which is a well designed app - is hugely constrained by the Metro design model, meaning you can't have it open alongside a file transfer or a browser window.


Why not? You mean because the file transfer or browser window isn't visible unless you use Snap? How is that a problem? I know people are used to switching apps by clicking on their overlapping windows arranged around the desktop, but really that offers no greater efficiency than the Win8 model. It's just as easy to use the corners to go to Start or back to another app. And you have the benefit of letting Solitaire actually make the most of your screen.

Windows 8 might be great on tablets but Metro apps just don't work well with a desktop computer, especially not with high resolution displays. I wouldn't go as far as saying it's a tablet interface but I would say that it's a bad interface for keyboard and mouse. Oh, and the charm bar is terrible.


Several of the apps work great for me on my desktop (and as was said on the B8 blog, you'll see a lot of improvements coming to the Microsoft ones in the next few weeks). And more apps are appearing every day.

#63 PGHammer

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 17:37

how could that be? all the Windows 8 fanboi's have been telling us how much faster Windows 8 is at everything!


And not all of us run a lot of ModernUI apps; in fact, I run just three - MeotroIRC, MetroTwit, and AccuWeather.

I've stated *multiple times* that I love Windows 8 - however, the ModernUI *app* base isn't why.

#64 zhangm

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 17:38

I have no problem with this. I launch Music, tell it what to play (and while I'm doing this, the full-screen immersive experience is really nice and makes the task much easier). Then once I start something playing, I either use Start or the back-stack (upper-left corner) to go do something else.


I hope that the Snap feature is made more flexible in the future in terms of how much screen estate can be allocated to Metro apps. I'm a bit disappointed at how Reader makes it difficult to view documents side-by-side, whether you're working with multiple PDFs, or going between a desktop program and the Metro app.

#65 nub

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 17:51

Your not multitasking it right.


Metro multiasking? lolol

Then provide some actual evidence.


You're quite thick.

#66 Dot Matrix

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 18:40

Microsoft should have allowed Metro apps to exist within the desktop environment.


That's the last thing you would want. Metro is all about playing with different devices. Consumers have voted that they don't want the desktop on these different devices. It would be a usability nightmare.

#67 theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 18:42

I have no problem with this. I launch Music, tell it what to play (and while I'm doing this, the full-screen immersive experience is really nice and makes the task much easier). Then once I start something playing, I either use Start or the back-stack (upper-left corner) to go do something else.


When I launch an MP3 I don't need to see the application playing it back, as it is essentially a background task. Therefore having Music take over the entire screen is remarkable tedious, especially when the app doesn't have any worthwhile functionality - it's not like you're getting a great visualisation or dynamic internet feeds giving you information about the track and artist.

Video is most often a full-screen experience to begin with.


Don't get me wrong, that is how I use it most of the time - I have it set to fullscreen on my second display. The issue is that there are times when I want the video to play alongside another application and that simply isn't possible with Metro, ignoring the virtually useless side-snap mode.

I have a 2560x1600 monitor at work, and I don't really use Mail there because, well, I'm at work and Outlook is more suited to that environment. But those monitors are extremely rare. At home I have a 23" 1080p monitor and Mail works very nicely there.


It didn't feel any more at home on my previous 24" 1920x1200 display. It's a huge amount of space for very little in the way of content.

Why not? You mean because the file transfer or browser window isn't visible unless you use Snap? How is that a problem? I know people are used to switching apps by clicking on their overlapping windows arranged around the desktop, but really that offers no greater efficiency than the Win8 model.


I don't need Solitaire to run in fullscreen mode, nor would I choose that out of preference. That is especially true now that I have a 30" monitor, as I typically have numerous windows open and quickly switch between them - that usually includes iTunes, Steam and a chat window, a browser window and iTunes. When I play Solitaire on Windows 8 I find I actually have to sit further from the screen in order to be able to see the cards properly. Put simply, it doesn't fit to my needs - it forces me to use my computer in a way that doesn't interest or benefit me.

And you have the benefit of letting Solitaire actually make the most of your screen.


It's not a benefit. It's bigger, but it restricts my ability to multi-task. It's not like the new start screen where the extra real estate means I can see more tiles - you can't see any extra cards in Solitaire.

Several of the apps work great for me on my desktop (and as was said on the B8 blog, you'll see a lot of improvements coming to the Microsoft ones in the next few weeks). And more apps are appearing every day.


There are a few apps I've found useful so far - XE.com and Cocktail Flow spring to mind; News Republic is alright but I've found it to be very unreliable (unexpected exits, etc). The problem is that they really are the minority. I'm sure there will be many apps targeted at desktop users and with compelling functionality but that still doesn't do anything to address the usability issues with the WinRT app model - snapping is inconsistent (when side-snapped you can't drag to the top like with Aero Snap); there are still peculiarities (when you side-snap an app it leaves the main window blank, requiring you to click to return to the start screen); it's bad for multi-tasking (the top-left app switcher is clumsy and apps can't be run side-by-side with full functionality); it's bad for auto-updating (I always have to trigger updates manually despite it being set to auto-update - it's nowhere near as smooth as Chrome manages); apps are slow to launch (in comparison to traditional apps); it's bad for low light environments (brightly coloured load screens that are difficult to stomach when first waking up); it's terrible with multiple monitors (you can't run WinRT apps on both screens and dragging between screens is inconsistent with desktop apps); it's inflexible (you can't side-snap two browser windows side-by-side like you can on the desktop).

I have no problem with change if it provides me with tangible benefits, like the new start screen does. The trouble is that WinRT apps interrupt my workflow, waste massive amounts of screen space and come with a large amount of restrictions.

#68 theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 18:47

That's the last thing you would want. Metro is all about playing with different devices. Consumers have voted that they don't want the desktop on these different devices. It would be a usability nightmare.


Metro apps already are a usability nightmare already - allowing them to interact with desktop apps would at least facilitate better multi-tasking. I'm talking about for desktop users, as an option. I'm not talking about making it default, especially not on tablets. I'm aware that you can switch between Metro apps as it stands but currently a) it's hidden off screen, b) the apps change position, c) it doesn't show desktop apps, meaning you have to look in two different locations. You need a shared task switching environment, which is exactly what the taskbar was designed for - adding an extra hidden taskbar just makes things more convoluted and less helpful for novice users on desktop systems.

#69 HawkMan

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 19:06

You're quite thick.


Yeah, going for ad hominem attacks instead of intelligent arguments clearly shows of your excellent IQ level.

#70 Dashel

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 20:12

I know people are used to switching apps by clicking on their overlapping windows arranged around the desktop, but really that offers no greater efficiency than the Win8 model.


Its hidden now so that's an extra gesture every time you switch apps for starters. Since they had multiple target areas, cursor travel is reduced as well.

App switching isn't really the point though, the desktop simply provides a more information rich canvas. This is the issue and your comments further the perception that there will never be much more in the way of flexibility than the 2/3 split, which is a huge usability hit. As usage complexity increases, so generally does your need for a higher density workspace. That ceiling is why Win8 has caused so much resentment since its clear it doesn't want to tackle that part of the 'desktop' problem.

In fact, you highlight exactly why I have so little faith in the Metro. When your expert opinion is that the music app is fine, how can we take you seriously on anything? It further goes to show the disparity between our different philosophies. Software as great as Zune won't be possible in Metro, and the Music app shows everything we need to know about what is wrong with it.

I will also concur with the sentiment that Metro apps seem slow. I haven't done any measurements, but the full screen nature seems to spotlight the loading times and refreshes of content for me.

#71 Dot Matrix

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 20:39

Metro apps already are a usability nightmare already - allowing them to interact with desktop apps would at least facilitate better multi-tasking. I'm talking about for desktop users, as an option. I'm not talking about making it default, especially not on tablets. I'm aware that you can switch between Metro apps as it stands but currently a) it's hidden off screen, b) the apps change position, c) it doesn't show desktop apps, meaning you have to look in two different locations. You need a shared task switching environment, which is exactly what the taskbar was designed for - adding an extra hidden taskbar just makes things more convoluted and less helpful for novice users on desktop systems.


There are no desktop apps for them to interact with. And if they have a desktop equivalent, are already connected to each other via the cloud. Metro apps are designed from the ground up to be fundamentally different. They're not designed for the Win32 environment for a reason.

#72 happyout1

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 20:46

Used Win8 for a month or so, like it in general, but most of the time I find myself still using the desktop. I like the idea and design of the Metro apps, however they seem to be annoyingly slow and user-unfriendly. For example, the Mail app can take more than half a minute to launch, while the Office 2010 Outlook takes less than half the time. Also you cannot switch out of the app while waiting for it to start. For desktop apps, if the startup time of a certain app is slow, you can just launch a browser or media player or whatever during the wait. For Metro apps, if you switch out during the startup to browser the web or something, when you switch back, it will still be at the startup screen. So you need to keep staring at the whirling circles when waiting for the Metro app's slow startup. This kind of things make the Metro apps really annoying to use IMHO.

what the **** have you done lately?

#73 billyea

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 21:00

I really want to use the Metro apps. I've even connected my Blackberry (without Data) to MS Office Outlook to Microsoft Account to Facebook in a kind of sync-loop, because I want to be able to make changes in one and have them propagate to the built-in apps. But they have so many quirks that make them hard to use!

Messaging:
- Half the messages from Facebook don't appear
- Shows FB contacts as offline (and won't receive messages from them) even if they are online on the main site and sending messages

Mail:
- Won't notify of new messages in folders other than Inbox
- Refused to download the attachment in a mail. Office Outlook downloaded it fine.

Music:
- No autoplaylists (my biggest issue, this was how I organized music)
- No independent volume control. It's either loud music or quiet system sounds.

Reader:
- Font rendering isn't as crisp as Adobe Reader
- No fit-to-screen option?

People:
- Reads information about me from the Microsoft Account instead of Facebook account and my contact card in Office Outlook
- FB feed late to update

Video:
- Seriously? No Custom filters? No MKV?
- <see Music>

Windows 8
- Half half snap please

I've brought up the complaints with the music app before, and I've gotten that it's 'by design'. Simplified by design I can accept. Crippled by design? Not so much. It seems that Microsoft is being lazy, thinking that if we don't like the Metro, we can just use desktop apps. This is creating experience segregation, which I thought they didn't want with Windows 8.

#74 Denis W.

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 21:32

I'm slowly getting used to some Metro apps, but the stock Metro apps as shipped with Windows are far from my favourites.

Mail: I like how Exchange is built in. What I don't like is the context menu limited to just the folder. I can't mark an entire folder as read if I wanted to. I also don't have the option to resize the mail columns - the message pane is a bit narrow for 1280x1024. I also can't use less-used features such as requesting a read receipt. There also doesn't appear to be a way to (un)mark a message as junk (I guess you could move/unmove out of the junk folder).

Music: can't seem to open .m3u files properly. I have a playlist that opens fine on my laptop, but not my desktop, but they're both the same playlist and both open fine in WMP. The now playing animation is buggy; sometimes the song name and artist disappear until you back out of the now playing view and go back in. The animation isn't as fancy as it was in older Zune Software versions, with the massive styled scrolling text.

Reader: doesn't open some PDF files properly. Also I sometimes open a PDF beside another window, so a forced fullscreen view isn't helpful.

Maps: The imagery is blurry and I can't make it only point to a location without requiring BOTH from and to locations.(edit: update took care of that) Bing Maps on the web has sharper imagery and does allow location-only entry.

Video: haven't really used it, but I stick to MPC-HC as I have video files with subtitles.

Messaging: Seems too much like a pseudo-inbox, plus it relies on the People app to hunt down online contacts. Much prefer traditional IM clients like Pidgin.

With that said, some third party Metro apps that I do like is the app for our national news broadcaster, Tweetro, and TuneIn Radio.

#75 farmeunit

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 21:41

you are not a power user if you failed to use Windows 8

its the same as Windows 7 but with more added goodness


Power user and tech geek are two different things. Power user's need things to work and work well without tweaking things or "working around" functionality. If you're used to doing things a way it's hard to change, and you have to be able to justify that change. For some people Win 8 will disrupt their workflow.