Microsoft discusses Windows 8's Metro UI changes

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Microsoft's Windows 8 developer preview has been out for about a month, and while first impressions have been generally favorable, it has also received some harsh criticism from people who just don't like the new Metro UI Start screen. In a lengthy post at the official Building Windows 8 blog, the company defended the new user interface, but has promised to make some tweaks to satisfy unhappy users.

Marina Dukhon, a senior program manager on the Windows 8 Core Experience team, said one common theme in the feedback received has been an immediate rejection to change with the assumption that it will reduce productivity. Dukhon threw out a lot of facts and figures trying to analyze how people use their computers before moving on to detail upcoming changes to Windows 8's apps screen, customization options, and a possible replacement for Windows 7 jump lists.

At first glance the first thing you'll notice about the redesigned apps screen (pictured above) is that it is much denser than the previous version, fitting more app icons onto the screen and reducing the need to scroll back and forth to find applications. The new screen also does away with the original alphabetical list of apps for a hierarchical one that can be organized by program groups -- for example, apps that are part of Microsoft Office or Adobe Creative Suite.

Responding to users clamoring for Windows 7-like Jump Lists functionality, Microsoft also said it will be adding more customization options to the start screen. Marina Dukhon clarified you can already do things such as unpin tiles and resize wide tiles into square tiles, but more options are coming in the beta. It's not clear if it will include a solution for users who may want to access recently used document files from the start screen.

You can check out the full post at Microsoft's Building Windows 8 blog for more details on the upcoming changes and the telemetry data gathered from users that Microsoft is basing its decisions on.

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