Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 12:10 UTC
Windows The Verge confirms an earlier story by Mary Jo Foley. "Microsoft is preparing to revive the traditional Start button it killed with Windows 8. Sources familiar with Microsoft's plans have revealed to The Verge that Windows 8.1 will include the return of the Start button. We understand that the button will act as a method to simply access the Start Screen, and will not include the traditional Start Menu. The button is said to look near-identical to the existing Windows flag used in the Charm bar."
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Missing the point
by Morgul on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 15:06 UTC
Morgul
Member since:
2005-07-06

"We understand that the button will act as a method to simply access the Start Screen, and will not include the traditional Start Menu."

Assuming this actually happens, Microsoft has missed the point again. While I find the mysterious hot corner to be a source of initial confusion, moving my mouse where years of muscle memory have taught me to move it got me past that particular hurdle pretty painlessly. The problem isn't the lack of visual indicators.

The problem is the Start Screen.

To put the finest point on it that I can, the Start Screen's visual metaphor fails. It assumes that all applications are created equal; something that simply is not true. Unlike mobile devices (or pretty much anything with a Palm lineage, like all modern smart phones, tablets, etc.), when I install an application, there's a good chance I've installed multiple executables, several of which I will only use once, maybe twice. (External configuration applications and uninstallers are good examples.) I don't want, or need immediate access to them, so hiding them under a folder (as done in the traditional Start Menu) makes perfect sense. Having them show up on the Start Screen (which has been my experience) is not what the user wants.

Desktop applications assume a hierarchical representation. Mobile applications do not. The Start Menu had a functional visual metaphor for showing both hierarchical and flat applications (The 'pinned applications' list). The Start Screen does not.

I guess, the final nail in the Start Screen's coffin is the fact that it's design is awkward (at best) for keyboard/mouse navigation, it takes up your entire screen (The Start Menu had a much higher information density, and worked great in the 1/2 x 1/5th rectangle allotted it.), and it's visually jarring.

No, Microsoft, it's not that your users miss having a button. Rather, it's that your users miss not having to struggle to find their applications. That's the whole problem with Windows 8, desktop users hate the Start Screen. Fix that, and you fix Windows 8.

Heck, I think a Metro-ized Start Menu could be really cool looking, as well as functional. Especially if on hybrid laptops, it expanded into the full start screen when switch to tablet mode. That'd be neat, and have some novelty...

Or, flip everything on it's head, and use something like Alfred on OS X( http://www.alfredapp.com/ ). Give us a floating search bar in the middle of the screen, in both the desktop and in Metro. Allow type to search, but also give a button to expand a traditional 'All Programs' style menu. It changes up the paradigm, and gives both tablet and desktop users something that works well.

I don't know. There's thousands of solutions to the 'Windows 8 Problem'. Microsoft, stop pretending it's not there, and fix it.

Reply Score: 9

RE: Missing the point
by MOS6510 on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 15:57 in reply to "Missing the point"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

You can hide apps on the Start screen, but the problem that while this is your choice you don't have this choice regarding the classic desktop where everything is hidden (because of the missing Start menu button).

If I want Excel on the classic desktop, as it is a classic desktop app, I need to start it from Metro, then I'm taken to the classic desktop where I can pin it to the task bar and use that next time as a launcher.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Missing the point
by avgalen on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 16:24 in reply to "RE: Missing the point"
avgalen Member since:
2010-09-23

Rightclick on an icon in the startscreen: unpin from start. Now it is hidden. But you can still start it the way you start it in Windows 7: Press the winkey and type a few letters, or rightclick somewhere and choose All apps.

Applications are hidden by default on Windows 7 and don't appear until you open the startmenu. Applications are showing by default on Windows 8. How can anyone claim that Windows 7 makes it easier to find applications?

And to add an application to the taskbar doesn't require you to open it first. Just rightclick and "pin to taskbar". Yes, that is right, the startscreen actually has options for making the desktop work nicely.

The problem with Windows 8 is that the intro video just shows you 5 times how to open the charms bar in a flash 1.0 level animation. If they would have provided a 1 minute video of "this is how Windows 8 works differently from previous Windows versions" that really would have solved most complaints. Luckily such a video is provided by most OEM's but techpeople never watch those

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Missing the point
by Nelson on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 16:16 in reply to "Missing the point"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29


The problem is the Start Screen.

To put the finest point on it that I can, the Start Screen's visual metaphor fails. It assumes that all applications are created equal; something that simply is not true. Unlike mobile devices (or pretty much anything with a Palm lineage, like all modern smart phones, tablets, etc.), when I install an application, there's a good chance I've installed multiple executables, several of which I will only use once, maybe twice. (External configuration applications and uninstallers are good examples.) I don't want, or need immediate access to them, so hiding them under a folder (as done in the traditional Start Menu) makes perfect sense. Having them show up on the Start Screen (which has been my experience) is not what the user wants.


Your right about this. Desktop applications showing up on the start screen by default IMO is the wrong decision. They should be able to be pinned if the user so chooses, but otherwise the Start Menu starts to clog up pretty badly.

Windows Store apps are forbidden from making more than one tile prior to the initial app launch, and subsequent tile creation requires explicit user consent through the UI.


Desktop applications assume a hierarchical representation. Mobile applications do not. The Start Menu had a functional visual metaphor for showing both hierarchical and flat applications (The 'pinned applications' list). The Start Screen does not.


I'm not quite sure what you mean here, but I can't imagine this is a great cause of confusion more than it is an exercise in pedantry.


I guess, the final nail in the Start Screen's coffin is the fact that it's design is awkward (at best) for keyboard/mouse navigation, it takes up your entire screen (The Start Menu had a much higher information density, and worked great in the 1/2 x 1/5th rectangle allotted it.), and it's visually jarring.


I've been using it on my laptop and I don't find it terrible, but the laptop I have had rather decent trackpad drivers which made swipping across the trackpad seamless.

That said, Windows Blue alleviates this a good deal by having the Search Charm not completely overlay the screen so its closer to traditional search on the Desktop using Windows 7.


No, Microsoft, it's not that your users miss having a button. Rather, it's that your users miss not having to struggle to find their applications.


I think all of the ways users traditionally found software is fundamentally the same. You can still go installer searching online and have an installer pin an icon to your taskbar, desktop, or start screen. Its completely the same.

Search works the same, sure at the moment its a full screen overlay, but honestly it doesn't kill anyone an the searching is much richer because you can actually search content within apps contextually.


That's the whole problem with Windows 8, desktop users hate the Start Screen. Fix that, and you fix Windows 8.


I don't think this is true, maybe some hate it, but certainly not all or anything near all. Instead of ripping out the start screen like some (maybe not you) suggest, its makes more sense to just refine Metro and fix its problem areas if there are any.

I think the changes in Blue show that Microsoft is doubling down on the Start Screen and Metro, not the opposite.

Reply Parent Score: 2