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Common sense fixes to Windows 8

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#1 Deactivated.

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 12:43

Having used modernmix and start8 for a bit now, here's how I think a number of suprisingly simple changes each could make Windows 8 quite a bit less confusing, easier to learn, more discoverable, much more useable and enjoyable and powerful for Desktop users, without Microsoft having (or seeming) to regress or run the risk of inconveniencing touch users in any way.

For the App Screen aka "Start Screen":
- Remove the useless "Start" header, take advantage of that newly available space by putting the user name there instead
- Put a magnifying glass icon in the upper right corner, activates the search charm/ all 'app apps' view
- remove the "all apps" entry from the app bar
- put a Settings/power icon in the lower right corner, activates the settings charm (which includes power options)
- Put an option to boot directly to the desktop into the App Screen Settings (turned off by default, I guess)


1appscreen.png

2appscreensettings.png

Benefits: Takes one click to show all apps or search or reach the settings and power menu, all easily discoverable. Give the user the choice as to whether he or she wants to skip the Apps Screen after a system start.

For Metro apps:
- Button and Keyboard shortcut for putting apps into a a window (possibly enforce minimum window size equal to minimum resolution for Metro apps, or equal to a minimum resolution as specified by the app creator – promote responsive design)
- put full-screen button in a modern app's title bar to set it back into fullscreen mode
- Make an app-specific search field or button mandatory, always in the upper right corner of the app
- Make a settings button in the lower right corner of an app mandatory

Benefits: Searching and app settings easily discoverable and clearly pertaining to the current app, improved multitasking due to windowed usage


For the Desktop:
- Put a settings/power icon on the bottom or far right of the task bar, activates the global/Desktop settings charm
- Put a magnifying glass icon in the upper right or lower left corner, activates a windowed search menu
- remove windowed Metro apps from the multitasking bar on the left
- show active/most recently used/pinned modern apps in the task bar
- Charms bar applies to the active app
- allow the 'Charms' bar and its hot corners to be deactivated
- the Share charm can be activated by clicking on a window title
- Allow integration of the Share charm into Desktop apps


4sharecharm.png

3desktop.png


Benefits: Settings/Power options easily discoverable / task bar can be used to switch between any kind of app / Charms bar hot corners don't interfere with Desktop usage / share charm becomes more useful and usable


For the Charms bar
- (optional:) remove the Search/Settings/Devices/Start charm, integrate the functionality of the Devices charm into the Share charm

Benefits: Sharing (to/with people or devices) always just one finger slide from the right away. Search and Settings reachable via the app itself, Start button unnecessary

For the new windowed search 'not quite Start' menu :
- Make a link to the App Screen the first item (as Start8 already does)
- Allow the user to select between a list of either recently used or frequently used apps or files
- put a button next to the search box to go fullscreen - activates the 'all apps' view/search charm

5windowedsearch.png

Benefits:
Windowed search option and most recently/frequently used apps/files list brings back important search menu functionality / user's choice whether fullscreen or windowed searching is preferred


#2 f0rk_b0mb

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 12:58

- I don't like the power off button in the corner. Put it under the user tile.
- Give us smaller tiles like WP8.
- New desktop icons that blend in with Metro
- Improve the stock W8 apps. No Ads!

#3 OP Deactivated.

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 15:22

- I don't like the power off button in the corner. Put it under the user tile.

I guess that would work. Although in that case I'm still not sure whether a user would know to look there for the power options? But, yeah, that would sure be an improvement over how it is currently.

The placement of the power/settings icon as I proposed it would be consistent with the Ctrl-Alt-Delete screen:

ctrlaltdelete.png

- New desktop icons that blend in with Metro

Absolutely. The current ones are embarrassingly out of date (and imho not that pretty to begin with)


- Improve the stock W8 apps. No Ads!

Definitely. Although, to be honest, I think the train has left the station when it comes to ads in TileWorld's stock apps. And I remember many Neowinians even defending that decision and justifying Microsoft's decision by claiming that the apps weren't part of the OS to begin with. In my opinion, if it ships with the OS and is even on the home screen out of the box, then it shouldn't come with ads. Definitely cheapens the experience.


By the way, I've never used Windows Phone, how do you reach app-specific settings in that OS?

#4 f0rk_b0mb

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 15:27

By the way, I've never used Windows Phone, how do you reach app-specific settings in that OS?


I'm pretty sure there's a settings tile. I might be wrong tho.

#5 BajiRav

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 15:35

I think your changes are purely from a mouse/kb user angle. There is no way to put settings/search in a corner like that.
1. It's too easy to hit accidently when you are holding a tablet
2. They will look weird on a multi-monitor system
3. You end up with two launch points for search/settings

I still think they should put the Power button under the user menu (removing the "start" text makes sense although it might be there for the same reason we had "start" on a button until XP).
I don't use Windows 8 with touch device of any type (no tablet, trackpad or mouse etc.) but I don't see a need for "boot to desktop".
1. If you are booting for the first time, what you do when you get to desktop? you launch a program. Just do it from the start screen.
2. If you are resuming from sleep/lock etc., you are taken back to desktop if that's where you locked your PC.

In both cases, I don't see a need for boot to desktop. I guess they will end up putting that option just to silence the critics.

For desktop apps, concept of charms is alien so no point in extending it there. And putting any buttons (power or not) on the taskbar is a bad bad idea. I'd rather have the full length of taskbar for my own use.

#6 BajiRav

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 15:48

I'm pretty sure there's a settings tile. I might be wrong tho.

Each app has its own settings button in the context bar at the bottom. It can be hidden (text: settings) or always visible icon. I don't think WP has any uniform UI guidelines wrt charms on Windows8. The share, search, settings and device charms are genius on Windows 8. :)

#7 xWhiplash

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 16:08

I don't use Windows 8 with touch device of any type (no tablet, trackpad or mouse etc.) but I don't see a need for "boot to desktop".
1. If you are booting for the first time, what you do when you get to desktop? you launch a program. Just do it from the start screen.
2. If you are resuming from sleep/lock etc., you are taken back to desktop if that's where you locked your PC.

In both cases, I don't see a need for boot to desktop. I guess they will end up putting that option just to silence the critics.


I am sorry I do not have my computer on 24/7 like everybody else here. for 18 hours, there is no need for it to be on or even in sleep. I am at work for 10 hours (8 hours and 1 hour travel time each way), and I sleep for 8 hours. 18 hours that the computer is not being used. So I turn it off. Not sleep....not hibernate....turn it off...with an SSD, there is no benefit from having it sleep or hibernate.

Also, what do you want people like me to do that do only use their computer extensively for the remainder of those 6 hours? I have a mac, so I boot between OS X and Windows 8 a lot during the day. Having such an option might not benefit you, but it would benefit me and businesses I am sure. It annoys me to hell having to click Desktop 3-6 times every day to get to the desktop. I am never in the Start Screen except for that first boot.

#8 OP Deactivated.

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 16:09

Thanks for your point of view, BajiRav! :)

I think your changes are purely from a mouse/kb user angle.

Admittedly I've not yet used Windows 8 using touch input, but I assumed my changes wouldn't inconvenience touch users

There is no way to put settings/search in a corner like that.
1. It's too easy to hit accidently when you are holding a tablet

If you mean the global buttons on the task bar, then they only appear on the Desktop, therefore shouldn't really be relevant for tablet usage? Plus, you'd already have that issue with all of the existing task bar buttons, e.g. the first app on the task bar?
As for the two buttons on the Start Screen, they are not quite as near to the corners, and in any case not any closer to the edge than the user picture currently is.

If you mean the app-specific settings/search buttons, then there are currently already other controls at that position, so I don't see what would change as far as accidental input is concerned.


2. They will look weird on a multi-monitor system

Not any weirder than the Start button looked on Windows 7?

3. You end up with two launch points for search/settings

Well, yeah. Because the context differs in each case. There's a systemwide settings/search button for systemwide settings/search and app-specific settings/search controls for app-specific settings/search. Does that not seem logical?

Never mind that what you mention is already the case unless you stay in the Metro environment only. Neither the search nor the settings charm works for Desktop apps. That's part of the problem. Currently, the Settings charm has the Desktop itself as its context, regardless of the app you're using. And the Desktop-specific settings charm offers both a link to the systemwide Desktop control panel as well as to the systemwide (incomplete) PC settings as part of the systemwide settings charm.

For desktop apps, concept of charms is alien so no point in extending it there.

But they have. It's there. Already. Right now. Only that it's not extended to desktop apps (let alone windowed Metro apps), but the Desktop 'app'.

And putting any buttons (power or not) on the taskbar is a bad bad idea.

So then the start button was a bad bad idea, too?

#9 zhangm

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 16:13

So then the start button was a bad bad idea, too?


It got a fair bit of ridicule when it was first introduced.

#10 OP Deactivated.

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 16:24

It got a fair bit of ridicule when it was first introduced.

The problem is...sure, you can get rid of it, in fact, maybe get rid of the system tray, too, and voilà, you have the dock on OS X (the concept of the superbar was already a step in that direction) . But then you have to put the functionality of the start menu and system tray somewhere else. On OS X, for example, you have the apple menu with links to System Preferences, power options and recent items, and you have the Spotlight icon and system tray equivalent on the menu bar (plus, the date and time, which Microsoft chose to make invisible by default in Metro mode). But Windows doesn't have a menu bar. I'm just not sure that the next best alternative are invisible UI widgets?! Never mind that I doubt everybody prefers to be forced to search and launch apps in full screen mode ...?

#11 ahhell

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 16:29

Common sense fixes? :|

It looks like you just randomly moved **** around to suit your tastes which is FAR different than trying to design a UI that MILLIONS of people will use.

#12 OP Deactivated.

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 16:48

Common sense fixes? :|

It looks like you just randomly moved **** around to suit your tastes which is FAR different than trying to design a UI that MILLIONS of people will use.

- both the search icon as well as the settings icon on the Start screen have merely been made permanently visible instead of hidden away in the Charms bar. The user tile was moved, since you can hardly argue that the 'Start' header has much of a functional advantage in the UI?

- the additional option to boot to the desktop does indeed suit my taste, and I can't see it inconveniencing anybody else (well, maybe the cunning strategists at Microsoft... ;) )

- the settings button was moved into the app. I think it would be hard to argue that that makes the app settings anything but more discoverable. (although I would even be fine with the current placement when it comes to that - this was more a result of thinking how you would reach app settings once you put Metro apps in a window and disable the Charms bar).

- There's already a 'Find' button in apps like Maps (which seems redundant when you have the Search Charm, and afaik Microsoft officially recommends against that). So if Microsoft is already backing down on that, why not put a search field in the app instead, consistently visible at the same position. Far easier to discover, arguably quicker to use than the Search charm. And far more consistent with Desktop apps.

- a windowed search is sorely needed on the Desktop, as far as I'm concerned. And again, hard to argue that a visible button makes that functionality anything but easier to discover. Plus, the magnifying glass is a well-known often-used UI concept that's already been used as part of the Start menu (and the Charms bar).

- much has been written about the hidden power options already...

#13 Dutchie64

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 16:51

some interesting ideas, but mostly it's all personal and no need when you actually take some TIME to get comfortable with W8.
Removing the charmsbar from the desktop is silly. Now I have to get back to the startmenu first to go to the crahrms bar again. Additional clicks...

For me adding the shutdown/reboot/hybernate etc. options to the user dropdown in the right topccorner would make more sense as an enhancement.

So most of you suggestions....for me... no.

#14 Hum

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 16:57

Shouldn't Microsoft have built-in the 'common sense' ... :shifty:

#15 Dot Matrix

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 16:57

- both the search icon as well as the settings icon on the Start screen have merely been made permanently visible instead of hidden away in the Charms bar. The user tile was moved, since you can hardly argue that the 'Start' header has much of a functional advantage in the UI?

- the additional option to boot to the desktop does indeed suit my taste, and I can't see it inconveniencing anybody else (well, maybe the cunning strategists at Microsoft... ;) )

- the settings button was moved into the app. I think it would be hard to argue that that makes the app settings anything but more discoverable. (although I would even be fine with the current placement when it comes to that - this was more a result of thinking how you would reach app settings once you put Metro apps in a window and disable the Charms bar).

- There's already a 'Find' button in apps like Maps (which seems redundant when you have the Search Charm, and afaik Microsoft officially recommends against that). So if Microsoft is already backing down on that, why not put a search field in the app instead, consistently visible at the same position. Far easier to discover, arguably quicker to use than the Search charm. And far more consistent with Desktop apps.

- a windowed search is sorely needed on the Desktop, as far as I'm concerned. And again, hard to argue that a visible button makes that functionality anything but easier to discover. Plus, the magnifying glass is a well-known often-used UI concept that's already been used as part of the Start menu (and the Charms bar).

- much has been written about the hidden power options already...


There is windowed search in Windows 8. Have you forgotten about the Search Bar in Explorer?

Also, don't judge Windows 8 until you've used it via touch, then you'll see why things are the way they are.