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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RE[5]: Even if they do...
by Nelson on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 19:25 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Even if they do..."
Member since:

First let me say I appreciate you taking the time to actually address their rationale.

Well, let me say something: Microsoft only gathered statistics on how often and when the Start-button was clicked, but not the reason for this. The most likely reason for someone clicking the button was to find one or another item there that's used rarely and therefore makes little sense to have visible at all times.

Sure. I think we can agree that the primary use of the Start Menu is to discover applications not frequently used.

The problem? With the Start - screen you get either everything visible or you have to resort to search and, well, you may not always know how the item you're looking for is actually titled. The hierarchical menu of the old Start - menu made it easy to hide the items you didn't need often, but still if you needed something it was easy enough to check all the hierarchies available -- ie. Start-menu folders -- and dig in there to find the items in question you're looking for.

I think I understand this point a little better now, thanks. I personally don't find this to be an issue, but I can see why some would find it to be a visual annoyance.

The good news is that in Windows Blue the search pane shows the results inline without showing an entirely new screen.

Here's the link with the information w.r.t the Search Charm changes:

The hierarchical issue is alleviated in Windows Blue by allowing apps to be sorted alphabetically, by most frequent use, or by category.

Its not a 1:1 replacement I understand, but its a bit better than the situation today. Maybe it will work better for you an others.

In addition, the category view is already present in Windows 8. I'll go into it more below.

To give something of a more concrete example of what I mean would be e.g. a situation where you wish to adjust the settings of your USB-soundcard, but you can't remember what the utilities are named as or even how many different tools and utilities there are. So, you pop Start-menu open, open the full list of the items and look for the familiar name -- in my case, Creative -- and look under that.

Gotcha. I hear you 100% and understand this use case now. Next time you use Windows 8, try to trigger the semantic zoom on the "All Apps" page. (On Touch you Pinch to Zoom or by hitting the little "minus" button at the bottom right corner where the scrollbars are) and you'll get an overview of all the categories.

If you tap on the category it automatically jumps to that section in the list.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: Even if they do...
by WereCatf on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 19:42 in reply to "RE[5]: Even if they do..."
WereCatf Member since:

or by hitting the little "minus" button at the bottom right corner where the scrollbars are) and you'll get an overview of all the categories.

Sounds cumbersome with having to make silly, large movements with the mouse and having to hit small items with it, then making more large movements just to get the mouse to the same area it was before -- inefficient design.

As an aside, everything I mentioned in the previous comment apply to Ubuntu's Unity, too: it tries too hard to hide everything and make you rely on search to the point of making it hideously tedious to find what you need if you don't know what to search for. I've never personally liked Unity and I feel the Start-screen is too similar in all the wrong ways.

Anecdotal evidence is obviously just anecdotal evidence, but I find it that Average Joes and Janes don't know what to search for unless you have told them it before-hand or trained them specifically in how computer-based search is used efficiently, whereas just giving an easily-accessible list is much easier to comprehend.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[7]: Even if they do...
by Nelson on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 19:50 in reply to "RE[6]: Even if they do..."
Nelson Member since:

Yeah, semantic zoom discoverability is something I've struggled with in my own apps. My own analytics show that on non-Touch devices users don't even think to trigger semantic zoom.

I'm hoping that after Windows 8 has had some time in the market my customers get more accustomed to the UI paradigms introduced. The two biggest issues I have is Search Charm and Semantic Zoom (both on non-Touch, on Touch a majority of my people ~80% activate semantic zoom by day 2)

You can also use Ctrl+ and Ctrl- to activate and deactivate semantic zoom.

Its not perfect and I hope they work to make it better in Blue, but it is there if you need it.

Reply Parent Score: 2