Windows 8 is an extremely exciting OS. It has strong implications toward the future of operating systems and personal computing. Overall, I think the concepts that Microsoft has introduced with Windows 8 are very positive. Like others out there though, a major concern of mine is the lack of seamless integration between the “old-school” and very familiar desktop UI and the new, bold and beautiful Metro UI. Judging by the Windows 8 build that was released to developers this past week, I would describe the integration between these parts as confusing. With that said, I am not here to complain. I am here to offer-up a suggestion! So Microsoft, listen up!
Suggested Solution : Rather than replacing the start menu with the Metro UI interface, implement it as an enhancement to the desktop.
As it stands right now in Windows 8, the primary point of integration between the desktop application (as Microsoft is now calling it) and the new Metro UI is the “Start” button. If a user is working within the desktop interface, clicking the “Start” button brings he or she back to the Metro UI. I think this decision will prove to cause some major headaches for power-users that rely on searching and quickly accessing multiple applications at a time. It puts too much necessity on the somewhat limited taskbar as an full application manager. In any case.. lets get to the point:
I suggest keeping the task bar and start menu interface accessible at all times while replacing what is currently used as the desktop with the Metro UI interface. The following are a few reasons why I think this would be a good idea, along with some functional possibilities of the implementation:
- The desktop is a place where users store things they want to access quickly. The tiles in the Metro UI serve the exact same purpose. So, why not combine these two areas into one, rather than having the Metro UI AND a desktop in separate locations?
- The Metro UI / Desktop Application would be contained in one interface. Thus, there would be no uncomfortable and drastic switches between operating environments.
- Dragging items to the “desktop”, which would be the Metro UI, could create new live tiles rather than desktop icons.
- Applications could run on the desktop / full screen or in a windowed format. Users could be given options of where to open each application.
- Tablet users and power users would BOTH benefit from the Metro UI without sacrificing any productivity. Tablet users can easily Ignore the non finger-friendly explorer windows and power users would have the option to use the Metro UI or not to manage applications and search for files.
- No-one really cares about getting a good view of their desktop background. Desktop backgrounds exist because the desktop serves no other functionality than an easily accessible folder.
- Explorer windows can be themed to match nicely with the Metro UI… No ribbon please (personal preference).
Disclaimer: This is not the opinion of a software developer.
I am not a software developer. I have no idea if this is technically feasible, but I think the concept would work great! My assumption is that there are reasons this would be a technical challenge since early facts about Windows 8 suggest that the two Uis run very differently at the core. I am still interested to find out what people think about this concept.