Microsoft discusses Windows 8's Metro UI changes

By on October 12, 2011, 3:00 PM

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.




User Comments: 22

Got something to say? Post a comment
tehbanz tehbanz said:

and resize wide tiles into square tiles

facsinating! tell me more

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Looks too busy and unorganized as hell to me...

RH00D RH00D said:

If you whine like a little girl every time Microsoft makes a change, go download a Linux distro or buy a Mac and shut the hell up.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Oh, that's brilliant RH00D...the most widely used operating system in the world and when they want to make wholesale changes to it, I'm supposed to like everything they do, otherwise STFU.

You're welcome to take your Linux/Mac suggestion and stuff it you know where.

Guest said:

Please... return the "Classic Start Menu" !!!

Guest said:

Considering my resolution is 1920x1080, I have all the applications I use right in the Windows 7 taskbar (small icons). On the rare occasion I want to run another program, I hit the windows key, type the first few letters of the program's name and hit enter when it finds it. Voila the program is running.

Being on computers for long periods of time as well as late at night finishing up work while half asleep, it will not be comfortable to have to continuously raise my arms and touch navigate a 24" screen. It's just not productive. Let's think about it logically:

I have a 1800DPI mouse set at full speed, moving the mouse a little more than an inch crosses the entire screen (1920px). Moving the mouse up or down a little less than an inch covers the height of the screen (1080px). Now my 24 inch screen has a width of roughly 22 inches. So lets compare, what is faster? Moving a mouse one inch, or moving your arm 22 inches. Of course assuming you have two arms you can divide that number by two, so you need to cover 11 inches with each arm. Now up and down as well, so my screen is 12 inches tall. Again divided by two is 6 inches. 6 times 11 is 66. So you need to cover 66 square inches with each arm. However with a mouse you're covering 1 square inch...

Seems to me my mouse is 66 times more productive. ;p

Now if you're talking about getting rid of your keyboard as well. That's just ridiculous. I type over 100 words per minute. On a touch screen I type maybe 25 words per minute. Imagine writing a 3000 word essay on a touch screen.

I think touch screens are a phase, they're far from being productive in comparison to a mouse and keyboard. They're good for mobile computers and probably for people who are computer illiterate, but far from good for computer enthusiasts.

Guest said:

Jeez all those guys wanting the existing start menu / desktop. Just hit the desktop Tile. How difficult is that for you? Meanwhile some of us can appreciate what the new Metro UI offers.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

I think the best move would be to make the operating system as flexible as possible, as in fully customizable. I like the Metro UI, just not so much for my desktop computer. It?s great for mobile (touch screen) users, for example smartphone and tablet users but for my desktop I prefer the classic approach. If it were a feature that could be enabled/disabled it would allow the same OS to be run on all devices with maximum efficiency. Still I will reserve final judgment until I have been playing with the real deal for at least a few weeks.

Guest said:

Windows 8 Metro UI is a failure, it's such a shame that Microsoft has so much employes yet they can't find a brilliant idea for this new UI interface.

So what are those employes doing since they don't use their brains to come up with something cool and useful ?

Guest said:

lol - looks like a messy desktop... here I through some random icons on my desktop. Made the background green, and photoshopped the text "Apps" at the top. The only real difference is the text is underneath the icons rather than on the side.

http://img853.imageshack.us/img853/9798/appsv.png

Personally my actual desktop is completely empty aside from one folder.

reneeculver said:

This is not an improvement at all. It's more of microsoft marketing strategy to make everyone look the same and as importantly, to do the same thing.

To make this clearer, I have a brain. Why am I interested in making my Xtreme run like at the other touchpads when I dom't have (or want) a touchpad?

Renee

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

I'm impressed by the work MS is putting into WIndows 8 but again as I have stated before, $100+ for an OS which is releasing while Windows 7 is still new is just crazy in my opinion.

$30 -$60 fair

$60-90 Overpriced 90-150+ Ridiculous

150+ (your insanely greedy)

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I like the new start menu for tablets. I do not want to have to use it on my desktop if I do not want to. I installed the developer preview on a VM and was quite impressed by the start menu but once i found my way to the old school desktop I didnt like the start button opening the new menu - I would much prefer the old menu to be available. There are plenty of new features like the new memory management that justify paying for it to be installed on a new device. I have never upgraded to a new OS on the same PC apart from Vista - Win7 and that was via work for £20 anyway. Anyone that spends £100 on a new OS for a computer they already paid £100 for the previous OS is crazy

Guest said:

You guys do know it looks similar to windows 7 if you dont have the touch screen set up right. Just you get a bunch of new goodies (worth spending another $200?) maybe if you have money to watse, sure. Seening most just upgraded to win7

Guest said:

Right now Windows 8 is focused on the tablet/mobil market. They want developers to start writing a bunch of apps so they can say the Windows tablet has X amount of apps to complete with other existing applications. Many things will change from the Windows 8 Developers Preview to the Beta to the RTM. I do wish they would make it easy to use different GUIs on top of the OS so people can have more choice and use what they like, Metro, Win 7 style, XP style, Mac style, etc.

tonylukac said:

You think seniors can't read it now. That's why they have such a hard time with computers. I guess they'll use a magnifying glass.

Guest said:

Ya this is gonna be Vista all over again..That's OK..Windows 9 will get it right! I personally will not be using the metro tile system.It is way to cluttered and makes you think and search all over..I like being able to type what program I want and place things where I want..It might be usefully for tellers or someone who wants a touchscreen or can even afford one. I don't think they really thought this through.

leondobr said:

Windows 8 may be geared to hand held devices, and that's fine because Microsoft needs to be there, but if 8 can't be made to start up to the classic desktop by default for its huge base of full screen users with keyboards and mice, then it may be the final disaster that ends Windows' dominance on the desktop. No one with a decent resolution monitor is going to want to muck around with a screen full of tiles. That's just silly. I don't really care if they add a slew of features to try to appeal to hand held device users so long as they don't break the interface for their base.

There's plenty of time to get into the hand held market. None of the phones or pads or whatever that are currently out there are anywhere near good enough yet. All the hand held interfaces currently suck, and other issues such as battery life, connection strength, and user input interface won't be resolved for several years.

gingerbill said:

i don't know enough about it so i'm talking from a position of ignorance but that looks far too cluttered for my liking , i can't be the only one who wants to see as few icons as possible on my screen . I can fit a crazy amount on my screen now if i want but it's just a mess. And touch sreen just doesn't interest me , it sounds impressive but its worse than just using a mouse for desktop.

sammydad1 said:

I think the basic problem is that microsoft is trying to force improvements on a pretty solid platform (Windows 7) and thereby making work for themselves to justify the move to windows 8 and reinforce their revenue stream.

I find the metro UI pretty well distasteful and not needed.... Windows 8 is looking more and more like a Me/Vista release....

I think what we want are some real enhancements to help windows 8 run faster and do more...like WinFS maybe ?? If I wanted my desktop to behave like an iPad, I would own an iPad (I don't). Metro is going to be panned by the average user....the average user is NOT going to be found here on these forums....

Guest said:

The Metro UI looks horrible. The 1st thing I'll be looking for is a tool to remove all that crap from the desktop. Maybe I should get a copy and start development of a fix. hmmmmmm.

Guest said:

Easy. Give people the option to use either interface.

Seems to me that metroUI for tablets and touch screens is good but I really don't think it is that useful on a pc or laptop without a touch screen.Like I said: give people the option then gather stats and develop from there for Windows 9.

Do NOT take away the start menu. please.

I can see Me and Vista all over again. as for me? if the choice is between metro ui and start menu, I will be staying with Windows 7. it would be a shame, Windows 8 seems to offer a lot including Hyper-v

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.