Jump to content



Photo

Multitasking on a Surface is a Snap


  • Please log in to reply
14 replies to this topic

#1 bardigolriz

bardigolriz

    Neowinian

  • Joined: 28-February 13

Posted 02 March 2013 - 16:10

I had Tweetro and Mail running on my Surface RT. I tapped on a link in Tweetro to open the page in the browser. I finished reading the article in Internet Explorer. I swiped in from the left edge. What app was I switched to?

Tweetro, of course. I expected the swipe to be interpreted as a back to last app gesture, and that it was. Then I waited for a second or so. I swiped in from the left edge once more. Although not as confident as last time, I still expected to be switched to Mail, as an IE to Tweetro back to IE swiping sequence didn't make sense.
I was wrong. IE was swiped back in. I needed to find out why and see if there's some underlying logic that determined this. I would have been disappointed if there wasn't. Fortunately, it became quickly apparent what the rationale was. And I wasn't disappointed.

See, on Windows 8, the app that's swiped in from the left edge depends on when you last did a left swipe to switch apps. If like in my example you wait a second or more, you're returned to the previous app. The time delay results in an assumption made that you're continually switching between two specific apps. For example, you're writing an email but consulting a website/document/etc. as you write it. However, if you do a swipe within a second or so of the last, the switched to app is not the one you were on previously, but the next in the queue. The assumption here is because of the minimal time interval between swipes, your intention is to swipe through your running apps rather than jumping back to the last app.

Confused? Watch this video (apologies for the poor production values).

This is pretty great. It makes multitasking even without snap frictionless; you can switch between two apps seamlessly without any interruptions. This is a stellar feature on Windows RT that demonstrates a commendable attention to detail. It's one of those things you may not consciously notice, and that would explain why I've not come across anyone heaping praise on it.

It's little big details like this that make the Surface RT an attractive alternative to the iPad. There are many points that the iPad beats the Surface on, but multitasking is not one of them. And multitasking is a big deal. It's no small win. And that's why Microsoft should really be making a bigger effort to emphasise the practicalities this win brings to the user.

This was a post from my blog focusing on Microsoft's devices and services' UX/UI found at http://mtrostyle.net. Check it out if you've a moment. If you enjoyed reading it, would appreciate it if you spread the word. Catch me @mtrostyle.




#2 sidroc

sidroc

    The critic

  • Joined: 25-October 03
  • Location: Somewhere

Posted 02 March 2013 - 16:23

Lol at multitasking and full screen or 1/4 and 3/4th screen apps only apps in same sentence. We have gone backwards not forwards Metro snap should of been centered not only 1/4th of the screen.

#3 siah1214

siah1214

    Neowinian Senior

  • Tech Issues Solved: 2
  • Joined: 09-April 12

Posted 02 March 2013 - 16:25

Lol at multitasking and full screen or 1/4 and 3/4th screen apps only apps in same sentence. We have gone backwards not forwards Metro snap should of been centered not only 1/4th of the screen.

Yeah that'd be ****ing fantastic on a 10 inch screen.

#4 sidroc

sidroc

    The critic

  • Joined: 25-October 03
  • Location: Somewhere

Posted 02 March 2013 - 16:27

Yeah that'd be ****ing fantastic on a 10 inch screen.


I would rather have same functionality 5 inch apps than one crippled 2.5 inch app and a fully working 7.5 inch app.

#5 siah1214

siah1214

    Neowinian Senior

  • Tech Issues Solved: 2
  • Joined: 09-April 12

Posted 02 March 2013 - 16:52

I would rather have same functionality 5 inch apps than one crippled 2.5 inch app and a fully working 7.5 inch app.

The 2.5 in app is for Netflix or news feeds or Bing, usually supplements the 7.5 in app. If I want to interact with the full capabilities of 2 apps, I'll just swipe between them.

#6 HawkMan

HawkMan

    Neowinian Senior

  • Tech Issues Solved: 4
  • Joined: 31-August 04
  • Location: Norway
  • Phone: Noka Lumia 1020

Posted 02 March 2013 - 17:11

I would rather have same functionality 5 inch apps than one crippled 2.5 inch app and a fully working 7.5 inch app.


a half screen app wouldn't be able to offer the same functionality as a full screen or three quarters screen app does. you'd instead end up having something similar to to quarter app screens today just with more space.

we're talking about a small handheld device here. if you want full multitasking, get a pro tablet and multitask on the desktop.

half and half screens may arrive with blue or 9, but don't expect half screen mode on apps to be the same as full screen, it'd probably be a third mode with alternatively a scaled up quarter mode for apps that haven't programmed in a half screen mode.

The 2.5 in app is for Netflix or news feeds or Bing, usually supplements the 7.5 in app. If I want to interact with the full capabilities of 2 apps, I'll just swipe between them.


You have to understand that all of the peopl who complain about the metro multitasking don't use pads at all in general. and don't get that these apps are primarily for pad usage. though some apps where the activity is full screen in nature also work great on a desktop, like netflix.

#7 MorganX

MorganX

    MegaZilla™

  • Tech Issues Solved: 1
  • Joined: 16-June 04
  • Location: Midwest USA
  • OS: Digita Storm Bolt, Windows 8.1 x64Ce Pro w/Media nter Pack/Core i7 4790K/16GB DDR3 1600/Samsung 850 Pro 256GB x 2 - Raid 0/Transcend M.2 256GB/ASRock Z97E-ITXac/GTX 970
  • Phone: Samsung Galaxy S5 Active

Posted 02 March 2013 - 17:26

Lol at multitasking and full screen or 1/4 and 3/4th screen apps only apps in same sentence. We have gone backwards not forwards Metro snap should of been centered not only 1/4th of the screen.


My wish list is for a more granular Snap. If you're going to put a tablet-centric UI on a desktop, you must accommodate both.

a half screen app wouldn't be able to offer the same functionality as a full screen or three quarters screen app does. you'd instead end up having something similar to to quarter app screens today just with more space.


Really depends on the app and how it's snap view is designed. Some things like Netflix, you just want a larger image in the snap view, while typing a Word doc, browsing web, or in a spreadsheet on half of a 27" screen.

When app is properly designed for Snap, it's very good. Whether you like Modern UI or not, when it works, it works well.

#8 HawkMan

HawkMan

    Neowinian Senior

  • Tech Issues Solved: 4
  • Joined: 31-August 04
  • Location: Norway
  • Phone: Noka Lumia 1020

Posted 02 March 2013 - 18:04

My wish list is for a more granular Snap. If you're going to put a tablet-centric UI on a desktop, you must accommodate both.



Really depends on the app and how it's snap view is designed. Some things like Netflix, you just want a larger image in the snap view, while typing a Word doc, browsing web, or in a spreadsheet on half of a 27" screen.

When app is properly designed for Snap, it's very good. Whether you like Modern UI or not, when it works, it works well.


And that as I said requires apps to be specifically designed for and optimized for a third snap view, 50/50.

As much as Ubuntu likes to fantasize that apps can perfectly scaled from a 1/5 aspect ratio to a 16/9 aspect ratio and look good and work good all the way, that's just not going to happen. automatic scaling and flow can work well, after all that's how the start screen works. but with such radical changes form entirely opposite aspect ratios, you need at least 3 steps in the layout the auto flow can switch between as it hits the limits of the layout it's currently in.

and even then, a fully dynamic flow system doesn't make much sense to me, I'd say quart and half screen and full screen would be enough and be easier for the users and developers. being able to granularly scale inbetween those makes little sense and adds practically nothing to usability.


And as an addition, "when" they add 50% view, they'd also be able to directly enable triple split of the screen with two quarter apps on the sides and a 50 app in the middle. though honestly, I see little benefit to this and it would seem a bit messy while giving you very little work space for your main app. at least on 10 inch tablets. and for desktops, multi tasking is still going to be desktop domain.

#9 jakem1

jakem1

    Neowinian Senior

  • Tech Issues Solved: 3
  • Joined: 17-November 06

Posted 02 March 2013 - 19:06

Lol at multitasking and full screen or 1/4 and 3/4th screen apps only apps in same sentence. We have gone backwards not forwards Metro snap should of been centered not only 1/4th of the screen.


Lol at the hater. By the way, it's "should have", not "should of".

#10 Dashel

Dashel

    Disgustipator

  • Joined: 03-December 01
  • Location: USA

Posted 03 March 2013 - 01:05

I quite like that behavior as well, plus its a fun gesture.

#11 Hum

Hum

    totally wAcKed

  • Tech Issues Solved: 13
  • Joined: 05-October 03
  • Location: Odder Space
  • OS: Windows XP, 7

Posted 03 March 2013 - 01:08

I'm sure this wasn't written by a Microsoft employee :whistle:

#12 Rickkins

Rickkins

    Neowinian

  • Joined: 04-April 07
  • OS: Windows 8, Desktop Mode
  • Phone: Galaxy S3

Posted 04 March 2013 - 15:37

You guys slay me. Thanks for the early morning laugh. :rofl: :rofl: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

#13 threetonesun

threetonesun

    Neowinian Senior

  • Tech Issues Solved: 1
  • Joined: 26-February 02

Posted 04 March 2013 - 15:41

I'm sure this wasn't written by a Microsoft employee :whistle:


They made 3 whole posts, they seem genuine to me. :D

#14 OP bardigolriz

bardigolriz

    Neowinian

  • Joined: 28-February 13

Posted 06 March 2013 - 15:58

They made 3 whole posts, they seem genuine to me. :D


I definitely don't work at Microsoft. At least not to my knowledge.

#15 ahhell

ahhell

    Neowinian Senior

  • Joined: 30-June 03
  • Location: Winnipeg - coldest place on Earth - yeah

Posted 06 March 2013 - 16:05

"This was a post from my blog focusing on Microsoft's devices and services' UX/UI found at http://mtrostyle.net. Check it out if you've a moment. If you enjoyed reading it, would appreciate it if you spread the word. Catch me @mtrostyle."

So in other words, blog spam.

:s