Designer's concept for Windows 8.2 brings Modern UI to the Desktop

Even though there are rumors that Microsoft may be working on restoring the Start menu to a future version of Windows, there are still plenty of people who have their own ideas on how the company can improve on the current Windows 8.1 user experience. This week, a 20-year-old designer named Jay Machalani offered up a highly detailed proposal for Windows 8.2 that not only includes a version of the Start menu, but seems to successfully merge the Desktop and Start screen interfaces.

Machalani, who labels himself as a "UX/UI & Branding Architect" on his website, has been working on his future Windows design for a few months. He writes that he personally "loves Windows 8" and that he thinks it is "the best OS for productivity and awesomeness." That being said, he also thinks Windows 8 "is filled with massive flaws."

In a post entitled 'Fixing Windows 8', his concept for Windows 8.2 attempts to bring back a revamped Start menu to the Desktop UI, but one that has a Modern look and feel. Machalani states:

You can make it bigger or smaller, pin your apps and live tiles, resize them, get a quick access to the Classic apps Jumplist (loved that feature from Windows 7), access the notification center, settings, power options and search. It makes sense.

The Modern Start screen has received a smaller makeover in Machalani's concept. There's a 'Computer' section that offers a quick way to look at a PC's file structure, along with any connected hardware devices like a smartphone. The Charms bar has also been modified so that it brings up any notifications.

The concept also allows for Windows 8 apps to run on the Desktop UI and even for Modern and Desktop apps to be operated at the same time. Machalani has put a lot of effort into this design and he won't mind if some of his ideas show up in a future Windows release. He states, "Microsoft this is all yours, please take all of it."

Source: Jay Machalani via The Verge | Images via Jay Machalani

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My all new future Windows 8.2 concept.

I have redesigned the start screen to use 1 accent color for the tiles just like in WP8. Third party app devs can still choose to use a color for their apps, but default apps will use 1 accent color (except IE in this concept): http://i.imgur.com/5TfSbvc.jpg (Black background: http://i.imgur.com/6XmvRMk.jpg)

The Win+X menu has become the hidden start menu! In Windows 8.1, when you right clicked the start button, a menu showed all power user tools and shutdown options. In this concept, I have added the All apps menu and a Search box so you can search for apps, settings, files in the hidden start menu. Just start typing as usual and results show up on the right, hit enter on your desired result. To get to the hidden start menu, you just right click the start button. You can change the Start button/Win key's behavior to show hidden start or Start Screen on left click or Win key press. This is just a rough concept, more things like username and Docs, Videos links could be added. http://i.imgur.com/YGWMGSI.jpg

You now have a choice to run Metro apps in a window in this concept (in this case, Skydrive app): http://i.imgur.com/O7uVFhr.jpg

Here's a GIF of the concept in action: http://i.imgur.com/d1e6JDG.gif

Edited by WinMetro, Dec 15 2013, 8:20pm :

WinMetro said,
My all new future Windows 8.2 concept.

I have redesigned the start screen to use 1 accent color for the tiles just like in WP8. Third party app devs can still choose to use a color for their apps, but default apps will use 1 accent color (except IE in this concept): http://i.imgur.com/5TfSbvc.jpg (Black background: http://i.imgur.com/6XmvRMk.jpg)

The Win+X menu has become the hidden start menu! In Windows 8.1, when you right clicked the start button, a menu showed all power user tools and shutdown options. In this concept, I have added the All apps menu and a Search box so you can search for apps, settings, files in the hidden start menu. Just start typing as usual and results show up on the right, hit enter on your desired result. To get to the hidden start menu, you just right click the start button. You can change the Start button/Win key's behavior to show hidden start or Start Screen on left click or Win key press. This is just a rough concept, more things like username and Docs, Videos links could be added. http://i.imgur.com/YGWMGSI.jpg

You now have a choice to run Metro apps in a window in this concept (in this case, Skydrive app): http://i.imgur.com/O7uVFhr.jpg

Here's a GIF of the concept in action: http://i.imgur.com/d1e6JDG.gif


I hope that your trolling.

I'd have to agree with the people against this idea. For one, the tiles only look nice when live. But, they constantly pound away at your router. Not a big deal when at home, but imagine 200 employees with live tiles in an office.

Second, I haven't seen one app really worth downloading. The few I have tried take longer to load than just clicking on their corresponding website. Other than eye candy, they serve me little purpose and often have very, very limited ability. The only apps I do use are the ones provided by the OS as these expand on the subject (e.g., weather, stocks and news app).

I have a 2-in-1 Asus T-300 transformer. The tablet is a fully functioning touch screen computer. Even in undocked mode, I run 99% of the time from the desktop. That 1% is looking at the weather app or stocks app.

This guy is brilliant.

I really hope that someone at MS board will see this.

This is what Windows 8 should be at the beginning.

Looks absolutely hideous. Already got an iPhone and put up my Lumia on eBay. Next laptop will most likely be a MacBook - never in a million years I thought I would say this (been using Windows since 3.1, 3.11 for Workgroups being my first windows "upgrade") but I have no clue what the hell are they thinking with Windows 8 and Metro. Definitely some good ideas in there but that's all there is - good ideas - end result is a god damn mess and I don't even know how they can fix it at this point.

I even got two Surface RT tablets for dirt cheap on Black Friday - one is already on eBay, other one I let my wife keep but she uses her Android phone more - can't even look at the damn thing to see what time it is without swiping or tapping on crap - everything simply takes more work to get even simple things done on Metro. iOS is also very simple and easy to use system but it doesn't need to hide stuff away and treat you like you're a god damn moron trying to use it...

*rant over

"I don't like it, it's new and scary"


Said everyone who's to stupid to move on from XP, even though XP stops getting security updates early next year

Looks a lot like the Office 2013 UI, which I really like and would like to see more integrated into Windows UX. You are missing the Quick Access Toolbar stuff though, unless it was on purpose.

Need one more in Windows 8.2. That is the easy to distributed modern apps offline. In Android there is apk, in Nokia S60 there is SIS, in Windows there is exe. We can easy copy those file in media storage and execute it to install, no need internet. Modern Apps?

You know what the saddest thing about this will be? The desktop's inability to scale to high DPI displays is going to ensure that 1366x768 is going to stay for a while longer. Metro apps scale wonderfully, and it's because Metro apps could avoid the legacy constrains of the desktop. Goddammit.

FalseAgent said,
You know what the saddest thing about this will be? The desktop's inability to scale to high DPI displays is going to ensure that 1366x768 is going to stay for a while longer. Metro apps scale wonderfully, and it's because Metro apps could avoid the legacy constrains of the desktop. Goddammit.

The inability to scale drives me nuts. I'm running at 125% DPI, and many things look jagged and out of place.

Thanks Jay. Great idea. And you put up a lot of hours into it.

I like the new landscape Start menu, maybe MS will make the "Mini Metro menu" as a modified version of the one Metro IE has right now.

But the big idea you got is the icon consistency anda battery status on Tab. Yes, I really love Metro-like icons even in Desktop.

Again, thanks Jay.

It wasn't what I thought it would look like based on the topic.
I don't like the silly start menu, that's going backwards and looks weird. I like the addition of the Computer information and definitely having a notifications section.

Need one more in Windows 8.2. That is the easy to distributed modern apps offline. In Android there is apk, in Nokia S60 there is SIS, in Windows there is exe. We can easy copy those file in media storage and execute it to install, no need internet. Modern Apps?

I don't like the design at all. Stardock's looks the best. (Win 7 style with flat Metro look)
The Windows 7 start menu was definitely the most efficient and faster access to everything.
It takes me forever to navigate Windows 8.1, and everything I do has multiple boxes popping up mentioning access rights, etc. etc. and that's even with the UAC off.
I'm sure after some tweaking, the Windows 8 may be more usable.
Sure its definitely faster than Windows 7, but that's about the only benefit I can think of.

The 1st and 3rd screens are amazing. The redesigned start menu looks great, and the modern apps running in a window on the desktop is exactly what they need to do.
I just wish they would ditch that useless start screen.
Ive been using Windows 8.1 for a over a month now, and tbh i've haven't even been there in over 3 weeks.
If M$ made the OPs idea, I can see alot of Windows 7 users upgrading too.

The first and third screens are quite nice! Especially considering they are only concept art, with a big team behind that MS could have something really elegant on their hands for the first time in their existence.

All he's done, essentially, is blend the old Start Menu and Sidebar concepts into a single pop-up mini-Metro interface. It won't work on small touch screens, which is fine since they'll be using the full Start Screen. And it will work with desktop screen small to large to multi.

So, it's definitely fine with me as a jumping off point.

It needs a little of everything to please everyone. Don't see why adding a little flexibility and putting in a more effort towards graphics for a GRAPHICAL user interface is so hard to comprehend. MS needs to start hearing it's customers right along force feeding it's own ideas. They're very lucky 99% of us NEED windows to work or they would have felt it a whole lot more than they did.

I personally want the glass back as an option. Adding depth and layers to this interface would really take it (back) to the next level.

I would rather stay with the out of the box UI. As far as concerning the Start Menu, I agree that Microsoft should of offered Start Menu and Start Screen in Windows 8 and 8.1 so that those who are not happy with either can configure accordingly. The windowed apps, I am not so sure.

the zune software for desktop should apply how all the modern UI such as explorer, media player look. Sadly, it didn't make it or even show up in the windows 8.1. As a result, the UI feel make it looks inconsistent across all the application. It's just a minor tweak from the desktop point of view. No one feel it's a big step up from windows 7 and everyone think the modern UI is redundant to their productivity and daily task. So it became a flop in everyone mind. It can be fixed but they need to focus more on desktop segment because that's what majority of people using it.

Looks alright. Don't like the chosen color palette but that's configurable. Thing is, if you have to spend this much time worrying about the Start Menu, is it in or out, how to design/redesign it, then something is wrong. All that effort should be spent somewhere else.

Whatever they ultimately do, they better listen to feedback from real users so that they can get it right and spend all that effort on say, features and applications, and not the Start Menu that telemetry told someone (wrongly) that no one cared about anymore.

Wow. This is what Windows 8.2 should be like. Metro for touch and Desktop for mouse/keyboard. Unification of design language as much as possible between Metro and Desktop. A redesigned Start Menu integrating live tiles.

Yikes, why do the window control buttons their design change with every tipe of app? They also look ugly. I do like some stuff through.

This would fix my biggest grip about Modern UI, which is the lack of a proper task or status bar that is always visible by default (expect for things should be full screen like some games and video playback). Being able to choose whether a Modern UI application runs full-screen or windowed (and switch back and forth) really should have been an option from the very start. The whole snap thing is not a good replacement and I honestly hardly ever use it. I have no problem with the WinRT API itself, just how programs that use it are displayed.

****ing terrible. Absolutely crap. Just because Microsoft has adopted tiles on one screen, does not mean they have to apprear on the start menu and every other screen you can fit them into.

It's also not doing anything new on the desktop, and looks like he's trying to drag up an old idea concept and clutter it with something that merely shares the similarity of the Windows 8 operating system. What needs to be realized, is that all the desktop and metro features could be completely merged into one multifunctional interface, perhaps getting rid of the start menu completely, putting the live tiles in the desktop to replace shortcuts or supplement them, and have the taskbar appear as an optional component at the bottom of the screen like traditionally, but only when full screen apps are loaded. It's possible all open apps should appear on the desktop as tiles for app switching, and also on the taskbar for traditional full screen apps. When user wants to load new apps, they return to the desktop which is basically the start screen. Newer Windows 8 apps might just not use the taskbar switcher, with emphasis on the modern touch interface controls.

There would no longer be two systems of apps running along side each other as it currently is. It would all be integrated.

"They" still don't get it--tacky tiles on a desktop. When are "they" going" to learn (if ever) the UI for a tablet, just by the form factor itself, has to be different than that for a desktop.

Can't say I'm a fan. Visually it's rather bland and I don't see any benefit over the Start Screen, which at least leverages the full resolution of modern displays. I can also see customisation being rather impractical, as you now have a separate Start Screen and Start Menu.

Yet you said you don't want it (regarding the start menu)

I want it. Always have. I want Windowed metro apps even more! I would LOVE to run metro in Window in the desktop. That would be a dream come true. Why should MS force pople with large monitors to run fullscreen apps. Metro apps are great, but it would be even better running in the desktop.

Nothing needs to change. All apps can act the way they do now. Plus RT and tablet versions could continue running metro apps in fullscreen. It's the best of both worlds.

Nazmus Shakib Khandaker said,
Yet you said you don't want it (regarding the start menu)

I want it. Always have. I want Windowed metro apps even more! I would LOVE to run metro in Window in the desktop. That would be a dream come true. Why should MS force pople with large monitors to run fullscreen apps. Metro apps are great, but it would be even better running in the desktop.

Nothing needs to change. All apps can act the way they do now. Plus RT and tablet versions could continue running metro apps in fullscreen. It's the best of both worlds.

I don't want that old piece of crap back, no.

I read the article headline, thought I was gonna roll my eyes...only to find myself liking those screenshots a lot more than I thought I would, especially the first one. I definitely like the idea of mixing the main Start screen tiles along with the bottom part where icons are mixed in with longer text.

I was mentioning just yesterday in some forum thread that I'd like to have exactly that sort of thing to group together links to folders or remote shares. That would do quite nicely.

"the best OS for productivity and awesomeness" ?
If a designer works on another productivity area other than his own, then we could see a good productivity OS.

Honestly, i'm sick to my guts of the Start Screen and the stupid half-backed apps.
Bag it and kill it with the hottest chemical fire available... and lasers >

Use the metro design language alright, i admit it's beautiful, but stick to classic desktop usability or more compact elements.

thartist said,
Honestly, i'm sick to my guts of the Start Screen and the stupid half-backed apps.
Bag it and kill it with the hottest chemical fire available... and lasers >

Use the metro design language alright, i admit it's beautiful, but stick to classic desktop usability or more compact elements.

Compact elements don't work anymore.

Dot Matrix said,

Compact elements don't work anymore.


A nonsensical statement, since compact elements are the only things which afford usability for real work rather than "online playtime".

Windows Nashville said,

A nonsensical statement, since compact elements are the only things which afford usability for real work rather than "online playtime".

You want compact elements on high resolution and high DPI screens?

Or have the Start menu open either the App list or Start Screen with selected apps/programs that you choose.

Totally agree; especially since I like being able to choose (and to be able to personalize the heck out of Windows 8.x).

For example, if his version would be the next Windows (which I find to be somewhat unlikely) then I would want to revert the changing ui from the desktop to the start screen and vice versa to the one that Windows currently has (his switching is, in my humble opinion, not as nice as it is now)

osm0sis said,
I like them too, but I really don't feel like mock-ups need to be front-page news.

He got help from Microsoft employees in making this.

NoClipMode said,

I dont see him mention anywhere that MS helped him. He just thanks some MS workers that most likely answered some questions and had nothing to do with the designs.

"Andrew Howell from Microsoft helping me with some very useful research material"

I love it. touch and mouse friendly. open space design... The only change I make it that I make Close Maximize and minimize buttons Larger so touch doesn't miss one

Adding gestures is counter-intuitive in GUI design because there is no way for a first time user to sit down and learn or even guess even 90% of the ones Apple has already put in.

Swipes, pinches, taps, double taps, etc. can make sense to new and old users because they have analogs in the real world. All of the other attempts at adding gestures aren't getting used now, so adding more doesn't really make sense.

It's like adding invisible GUI elements (one of Windows 8's most egregious mistakes). No one knows there is anything there, so why would they try and click or touch it?!

I understand that. Of course, it would help if it was a consistent experience across the board too, which it is not.

Guess we better opt for fatter buttons lol.

And yet you're not complaining that Windows 7 is next to impossible to use if you don't know how to click and drag or that right click context menus are a thing. Or that file selection is a royal pain if you don't know how to use shift and control. There is a learning curve to all UIs, as long as the implementation is simple, consistent, and isn't changed frequently this isn't a problem. Training is just something that has to happen.

The desktop designs are nice but I have learned to live without the 'start button' at this point so it's not a big deal to me.

ka-la said,
Have to admit, most of these so called designers don't get the Modern UI design guidelines and principles right

I'm no designer and neither do I, but as a personal viewpoint it looks good, regardless of the potential lack of guidelines adhered to.

este said,
The desktop designs are nice but I have learned to live without the 'start button' at this point so it's not a big deal to me.

Oh yeah, don't get me wrong, I love Windows 8 (with/without start button).

I think you're lost somewhere; guy did what Microsoft wasn't bothered enough to do - blended two interfaces, environments and you're giving me "UX guidelines for Windows Store apps"?

I always thought a more touch-friendly start menu and taskbar in "desktop" mode along with detection of whether you are using a touch device to determine if these should be enabled or not, would really be everything this Windows 8 needed. Then a new development API for "Modern UI apps" on top of that, and you're done.

Microsoft made everything so much more complicated than they needed to. I don't get the whole new environment thing, when they would have got away with just a few touch interface tweaks & support to the desktop interface, and a login screen with good touch support and notifications...

If Modern UI apps could be made to start in full screen mode, and with a new gesture to replace Alt+Tab and some more window management gestures, I think they'd come a long way towards a pretty seamless experience despite being in "desktop" (which would be the only mode).

Yes, old-style applications would of course suck in this interface since buttons etc would be too small for convenient use, but at least you could design new ones with a new API aimed for touch and then basically get everything without having to switch user experiences altogether!

Apps compiled for the new API could then be made available in a Windows Store that is shared with the Windows Phone platform, and compiled apps binary compatible. A bit like the idea behind cross-platform toolkits like Qt.

Then abandon Windows RT and call it a day...

Edited by Northgrove, Dec 16 2013, 11:21am :

Nah it's sexy. But almost anything will be better than the current desktop. Nearly all the icons on Win 8 desktop are from Vista, seriously dated and completely out of place.

If MS updated all desktop icons to Metro style, that alone would make switching between modern UI and desktop a lot more seamless.

fusi0n said,
Modern Look is still Fugly.

No trolling, just don't agree. I think the modern (metro) UI looks very fresh and gives me what i want. I do however feel that it requires the user to 'make it their own' in that to get the moat out of it (to even like it) you have to put things where you want them, kind of like how things have always been but i feel a lot of people aren't doing.

heres my usage of desktop and laptop, both running w8.

desktop: i have apps like office apps, adobe cs apps, cmd, ftp client, vis studio, teamviewer, rdp, browsers pinned to taskbar, my desktop experience is absolutely no different than 7.

modern ui: i have apps that display info positioned exactly how i want them, email, calendar, news, sport, specific sports criteria based tiles, weather, contacts, Facebook etc. The rest are further along. These are grouped into games (modern ui games along with desktop games), media (bbci, itv, Netflix, plex etc) these are off screen as they do not display info i want to see 'at a glance'.

so j have a screen one click away that gives me loads of info I'm interested in (the start screen) and one that has all my productivity apps at a one click reach (they are also on start screen).

i find myself more productive on W8.

also on a side note, i live that games and apps j buy from the store show up on my synced start screen, and a click is all it takes to initiate an install of said paid/free app with the tile in the same place on both systems.

i love windows 8, and i feel that the reason I love it is because i embraced it rather than fought it, i seriously have a better experience now with W8 based systems and the syncing etc than with W7 systems.

i will also add this, i setup pcs for people, i work in IT, its my job, but when i have to work in a W7 system now i get continuously frustrated with little things lime no native ISO support, no quick access to control panel or admin screens (w8 its right click bottom left).

The Microsoft wizards (?) still haven't figured out that form factor dictates the best usable UI. Hint: one UI for tablets and smart phones and another UI for laptops and desktops. LET THE USER DECIDE! What is so difficult about that?

TsarNikky said,
LET THE USER DECIDE! What is so difficult about that?

As long as it's not at the exclusion of the others, I totally agree.
Part of the windows dilemma is none of the UI paradigms can offer the complete experience.


Once that is realized