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win8 Common sense fixes to Windows 8

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Always reminds me of the Font Dialog debacle starting with Vista's UI. Pages and pages, threads and threads bemoaning how ugly it was. They updated it in 7, and all of a sudden, no one gives a ****.

vista was ugly though, for me it was how they used the greens. it just made the whole UI an eyesore

7 changed that and used light blues instead making the UI much easier on the eyes

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vista was ugly though, for me it was how they used the greens. it just made the whole UI an eyesore

7 changed that and used light blues instead making the UI much easier on the eyes

I thought it was better than the ballpit blue that they used for Luna.

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Clearly common sense ideas. For the record, just because you think they're good ideas, does not common sense make.

I guess... But there's really three common threads to these ideas. One is to both reveal and emphasize the context of critical hidden UI elements for Desktop users expecting them to be visible and remove superfluous elements offering no functionality that would apply to the current environment. Two is to offer more flexibility in how Metro apps can be used if Microsoft expects Desktop users to take advantage of them. Three is to more closely align TileWorld with the world of the Desktop unless Microsoft expects users to live in either one or the other (but the forced Metro elements even on the Desktop seem to suggest otherwise). So in short: Visibility, Clarity, Discoverability,Flexibility and Unity/Consistency. Now to be sure, I would expect Microsoft to improve substantially on these specific off-the-top-of-my-head ideas that were a result of a few lazy hours, but conceptually these all seem like fairly common sense UI ideas (to me) and are very much in line with widespread criticism of the interface. But hey, maybe users in the real world will prove me wrong and take to the UI like a fish to water.

But really, Is this really as well thought-out as some here seem to suggest?

post-5569-0-67766500-1363716148.png

The universal search icon is an awesome conceptual idea in theory, which I very much like. Whenever you think of searching, and regardless of the content you're looking for, there's just this one single (albeit hidden) icon to click no matter your place in the UI. But in practice, you have Metro apps that can't be searched despite the availability of the icon, Metro apps that can be searched but not via the Search charm, Metro apps that can be searched via the Search charm yet still duplicate the functionality via an additional Find icon (so why not just show a search box instead) Desktop apps that that can or can't be searched but never via the Search Charm and you have the systemwide search which is unselected if you're in a Metro app and thus still takes additional clicks, which is even the case when you're outside of a Metro app, since you need to specifically think of and make your selection according to whether you're looking for either a file, a setting or an app. So in the end, has usability increased? Has Microsoft lowered the hurdle and decreased the cognitive overhead necessary to successfully navigate the UI? Is it satisfying to use? Is the result actually better than a systemwide visible search icon plus an app-specific search box consistently visible at the same place whenever the app supports searching.

And to a lesser extent the situation is similar with the Settings icon. Great idea in theory, but in practice, on the Desktop at least, it breaks down fairly quickly. Especially when you start to hide actions in there (like the power options) that used to be rather discoverable and much quicker to use before.

And all of that would be easier to get used to if it wasn't for the fact that Microsoft have chosen to hide all of these critical UI elements, yet seem to see no issue with frivolously placing a gigantic Start header on the fullscreen launcher.

And, yeah, it totally makes sense that you used to be able to click on the systemwide control panel entry in the Start menu, yet perusing the global Settings from the universal Start screen merely presents you with Settings for that very page you're on (Settings for Start, not start here to get to Settings, that totally makes more sense than before)...

post-5569-0-53963000-1363716154.png

...and then a selection of plus a link to an actually very narrow subset of systemwide settings.

But, don't despair, you get a link to the control panel once you're in a Desktop app. No such luck when you're in a Metro app though.

Never mind the fact that certain textual elements and even buttons that are visible are nevertheless hard to identify as clickable in the first place.

And when your users (seem to) demand a windowed desktop search options, when they would like an option to boot to the Desktop, when they would like to see Metro apps in parallel to their existing applications it seems like common sense to simply offer them that functionality instead of forcing them to adapt to something that they like worse. It might make sense (again, common sense) to at least make sure there are no regressions in the new interface for Desktop users choosing to totally circumvent the added Metro environment (in so far as that is possible) if they already don't profit greatly from (positive) changes that the Metro environment has brought to Windows 8.

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This should be feature set numero uno for Microsoft concerning Windows 8:

post-420821-0-07274600-1363717842.jpg

It would be a dream to have Metro apps across multiple screens.

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This should be feature set numero uno for Microsoft concerning Windows 8:

That would actually benefit a fairly small group. More than 85% of Desktop-PC Windows users and more than 95% of Laptop Windows users take advantage of only a single monitor.

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It was more of a UI comparison. With Movie maker live they basically DUMB'ed the UI down.... apparently they thought the old movie maker was to complicated.

I know they removed most of the features from the new movie maker, but what if they had given all the features of the old but with the new UI? It would still suck balls because of the removal of the old timeline.

I know what you are saying. How can Adobe Photoshop or 3ds Max (many many many many more programs like these) POSSIBLY become a metro application? Can you imagine all the issues with it?

I do not see metro applications become a serious thing.

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I know what you are saying. How can Adobe Photoshop or 3ds Max (many many many many more programs like these) POSSIBLY become a metro application? Can you imagine all the issues with it?

I do not see metro applications become a serious thing.

Photoshop already has a mobile app. Hell, they even have a web app. There's nothing there preventing them from making a metro app.

Office will becoming to Metro soon too. The current OneNote app, Evernote app, the Skype app, Lync, etc all are proving Metro's worth. Yes, it is a "serious" thing.

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Does that mobile application do every single thing that Photoshop CS6 can do? No. I am not referring to a photoshop elements - like feature set. I am referring to the full Photoshop CS6 Extended feature set. There is no way a metro application can exist with all the tools, filters, mini windows, and more. It will be a productivity nightmare.

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Does that mobile application do every single thing that Photoshop CS6 can do? No. I am not referring to a photoshop elements - like feature set. I am referring to the full Photoshop CS6 Extended feature set. There is no way a metro application can exist with all the tools, filters, mini windows, and more. It will be a productivity nightmare.

Metro supports in-app menus. Look at the circular menu in OneNote. It's all but guaranteed Metro will evolve to fill a bigger role.

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Not a single example you listed is better than their desktop component, nor removes the need to install 'both' on Win8.

Do you guys just ignore history? Last I checked, 'apps' (aka widgets) were never meant to compete with 'full' applications. Sure, functionality has marginally increased, but philosophically I can't help but think you simply don't get the niche mobile apps fill (and hence why they can be more simple). Unless we adopt the (stagnant) premise that such simplicity is 'good enough' for everyone.

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Metro apps don't have to be simple if a dev wants to make something more beefy. There are UI elements in place to allow you to expose just as much functionality as a desktop app if you want. The bottom app bar, the top bar, the right side slide out section, you can have menus, you can use a radial dial to if you want. The only difference here is that the WINRT API is so new and Win32 has 20 odd years of development behind it. How advanced were desktop apps in their first few years, do any of you even remember?

To say or think metro/WINRT apps can or will never become more advanced in time is silly.

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I have an easier, better solution to Windows 8: Windows 7

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To say or think metro/WINRT apps can or will never become more advanced in time is silly.

I didn't mean to imply that. I actually agree with you, but you must admit we are still waiting to see. I'm just saying their competition has quite a different approach. The problem(s) is still that, yes, while it is exciting that we are starting over in a sense and are in many ways forking from '20 years ago', there is still quite a climb ahead. Not only do they still need to invent the new paradigm, they at some point will have to set guidelines on use. I'm sure you've noticed already that MS has quite a problem with apps not following the guidelines, yet somehow MS keeps approving them (and these are major ones like ESPN etc).

It just doesn't fit with a closed marketplace to have little to no oversight of the end game.

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I didn't mean to imply that. I actually agree with you, but you must admit we are still waiting to see. I'm just saying their competition has quite a different approach. The problem(s) is still that, yes, while it is exciting that we are starting over in a sense and are in many ways forking from '20 years ago'. Not only do they still need to invent the new paradigm, they at some point will have to set guidelines on use. I'm sure you've noticed already that MS has quite a problem with apps not following the guidelines, yet somehow MS keeps approving them (and these are major ones like ESPN etc).

It's just quite a lot of resources for those that would use Live Movie anyways.

I agree with your points, lots of developers aren't putting in the effort needed but at the same time MS needs more apps so I think they're not being tough on things. I believe once we get metro versions of the other office apps that developers will step up their efforts.

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I have an easier, better solution to Windows 8: Windows 7

Oh, waah, 10 years from now that statement won't hold any water. People said they'd cling to XP forever, but nowadays, they given up on that, same will come of Windows 7.

Not a single example you listed is better than their desktop component, nor removes the need to install 'both' on Win8.

Do you guys just ignore history? Last I checked, 'apps' (aka widgets) were never meant to compete with 'full' applications. Sure, functionality has marginally increased, but philosophically I can't help but think you simply don't get the niche mobile apps fill (and hence why they can be more simple). Unless we adopt the (stagnant) premise that such simplicity is 'good enough' for everyone.

Apps != widgets

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That would actually benefit a fairly small group. More than 85% of Desktop-PC Windows users and more than 95% of Laptop Windows users take advantage of only a single monitor.

They still improved multi-monitor support in Windows 8...

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I have an easier, better solution to Windows 8: Windows 7

I wish all you whiners would actually just move back to Windows 7 and STFU already.

:crazy:

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They still improved multi-monitor support in Windows 8...

And I'm not saying they won't do this. Only that it wouldn't make a difference for 90% of Windows users. And multi-monitor usage is concentrated in the high-end enthusiast/professional space where I would expect Metro to be used much more sparingly (if at all) to begin with. Thus I personally wouldn't see this as a high priority item at all. It would also seem to be an admission that there's real value to keeping multiple apps up and visible at once (d'oh) when Microsoft has been promoting a way of working with apps where you concentrate only on a single one of them with at most an additional sidebar, even on 30" screens. At that point, why not go all the way and allow windowing or at the very least flexible tiling of Metro apps which would at once solve the multiple monitor issue as well and would allow a far greater amount of people to take advantage of the new functionality.

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By the way, the latest version of ModernMix supports

- restricting the minimum size of Metro windows

- a button for activating the Charms bar in the upper right corner of the app

- having the task bar visible next to a "full screen" Metro app

.

post-5569-0-45287900-1363795095.png

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By the way, the latest version of ModernMix supports

- restricting the minimum size of Metro windows

- a button for activating the Charms bar in the upper right corner of the app

- having the task bar visible next to a "full screen" Metro app

The whole point of Metro is to eliminate clutter. These things don't need to be visible on screen every second. It's nice to have my screen space available to my content and work, and not cluttered with every single control known to man.

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The whole point of Metro is to eliminate clutter. These things don't need to be visible on screen every second. It's nice to have my screen space available to my content and work, and not cluttered with every single control known to man.

Do you autohide your taskbar?

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The whole point of Metro is to eliminate clutter. These things don't need to be visible on screen every second.

Except that the task bar can't be revealed at all when you're in Metro, let alone be made permanently visible. Also, I wouldn't necessarily consider the task bar to be "clutter"...

It's nice to have my screen space available to my content and work, and not cluttered with every single control known to man.

Yeah, but that's kind of a non sequitur in this context...

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Do you autohide your taskbar?

Yes. I do.

Except that the task bar can't be revealed at all when you're in Metro, let alone be made permanently visible. Also, I wouldn't necessarily consider the task bar to be "clutter"...

Yeah, but that's kind of a non sequitur in this context...

What? There's a taskbar at the top right corner...

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I'd say the only true common sense fixes are:

1.) Make the Charms Bar not a piece of ****. If all you use is Modern UI, it's fantastic until it kicks you back to the desktop. If you use the desktop, it's incredibly useless and worse, also very easy to bring up. Ambiguous titles, important tasks being under layers, etc.

2.) Make Search, ironically, modern. If you pin a shortcut of the shell extension for searching from File Explorer, it works incredibly well. If you use the abomination that is Modern UI search, good luck. It's almost like asking the laziest person you know to find something. If they need inspiration, look at "Google Search" on Android phones.

3.) Just because someone might be using Windows 8 on a touch-only device, doesn't mean they don't want customization. Even if they have to do something annoying like Apple does (small link at the top left or top right of the app) to access a useful number of options, it would be extremely helpful.

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What? There's a taskbar at the top right corner...

You mean in my screenshot? Yeah, that's ModernMix doing its job, a commercial 3rd party hack (that admittedly works rather well all things considered). Metro apps aren't even listed on the task bar by default. If you include advantages ModernMix brings with it in your argument, then you can hardly argue that Microsoft have made prudent out-of-the-box decisions? Guess what though, I agree with you on the following:

"These things don't need to be visible on screen every second."

But that's not the same as saying, these things shouldn't be visible at all whenever you're in a Metro app. A user's decision for or against using a Metro app doesn't necessarily correlate with the wish for a distraction-less single-tasking environment. Unless Microsoft specifically wants to exclude everyone else from using Metro apps, in which case, fine, I guess it's not for people like me then, I already have an iPad, no need for such an environment on the Desktop.

But what about letting users put an app in a "no distraction" mode (and back again), or actually letting users customize the amount of "clutter" that they want to have removed from the screen. No? ok. :(

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