What I find interesting is that my now unsupported Windows Phone 7 is still a pretty solid operating experience far greater than my operating experience on a Windows 8.1 laptop, a laptop that was designed particularly for Windows 8 (the lonovo yoga).
It also appears (seeing that I follow tech blogs closely) that Windows Phone is continuing the path of great design, strong principles, and positive experience while making the operating system do more. While Windows 8 seems to be handicapping it’s capabilities trying to implement a bastardized version of Metro/Modern/RT or whatever they call it, and continuing that tradition of clusterf**k with Windows 9.
So. In being fed up. I shall present to you my list of what Microsoft needs to do to make Windows as good as Windows Phone:
- Call it something. Give it a real friggen name. The public loved the term “Metro” until you knee capped it to avoid some sort of trade mark owned by nobody anyone cares about.
- Stop making a “Metro/Modern/RT” start menu. Just because it’s where you start, it doesn’t mean it’s a “Start Menu”. This interface should be a desktop replacement on PC. All out, instead of icons scattered on a desktop have instead tiles positioned on a start screen. Put traditional “tiles/icons” like “My Computer” and “Recycle Bin” just to make a point – and yes – have them function like their icon predecessors did. Drag, drop, and everything.
- BRING BACK DRAG AND DROP in RT/Metro/Modern. The biggest reason for seeing multiple programs in one view is to do things across programs. We should have more capabilities between applications, not less.
- Horizontal scroll with the start screen should be optional. Vertical scroll if any at all… or just no scroll at all. The PC is too precision for there to be a need for scroll… There is more of a need for different zoom levels because of the resolutions, and if there is more desktop space needed aka start screen space. you can create a smart well designed version of multiple desktops then.
- Make Win32 programs modern and change the whole chrome of every window to be the exact same throughout: i’m talking, vertical snap, horizontal snap, and remember what size that window was opened too/snapped to. Opening up the calculator that was snapped thinly on the right, should by default open up thinly to the right when i open it up again. I hate resorting my windows/frames/whatever they are now called just to use a simple utility.
- Task Bar/Alt-Tab/Win-Tab menus… should be the same thing, and by that i mean, should just be the Task Bar. Just accept it. People want it always visible, and always accessible. Features like pinning links to it is also nice.
- Task bar should be visible when you drag up from the bottom (if you make it auto-hide). unless they put the task bar on the right, then it should be accessible from the right, ect…
- Here is an idea, if i drag from the task bar all the way across the screen (to the side opposite) show the desktop. And by desktop, i mean start screen.
- Closing an app should occur if i drag any window towards the taskbar, or minimize, or whatever you do when you close an app. (Apps in Windows 8 don’t really close, apparently)
- Switching apps should use the taskbar. Why did they make this rocket science? See my earlier point… Having 3 interfaces that do the same thing is ridiculous.
- Long press AND swipe from the right (by default the right side, unless the user puts the taskbar there) should be the context menu, and the context menu should show along side the selected context (or at least highlight what is selected, or blur out what isn’t selected). … I understand the purpose of using the bezel of a screen for functionality, as putting your hands in your view is not practical, but, if you need to touch the screen to select the content you need that context menu for… then… two different gestures (touch to select, then swipe in) doesn’t make sense.
- Bring back a start menu. But make it a list, literally a list. Just a list. A simple list. with universal search automatically selected when you hit it… And if the user types anything the list filters according to the search, and perhaps, the open app results show up in that list too.. because, who knows, context searches come in handy as well..
- Allow people to turn off the touch keyboard, or just have it peek out a bit when it could be needed. It’s annoying to lose so much screen real-estate every time i accidently touch a text area. using touch and a physical keyboard is so friggen annoying. I want to punch a small child every time it appears (and i’m not interested in shutting down the service – because i do from time to time go into tablet mode – which is nice)
- Make notifications make sense. It appears they got it right with Windows Phone 8.1… Why does the operating system that makes no money for Microsoft get better and more thought out dev?
- What the hell is wrong with the SHARE FLY OVER?! It’s like a full featured app that if you accidently touch out of, you lose all the content you were preparing…. no…. not cool….
- Make the people app work please. Windows Phone did a good job of creating a personal news feed of all social elements of your life, using this to find contacts, and other little goodies… but on Windows. Just fail. It actually is frustrating using it as a “contact” selector because of it’s insane failure to be useful and to connect to social services in a meaningful way.
So there you have it. A proper list of what Microsoft needs to do to make Windows more like Windows Phone in terms of experience… and, if you disagree with me: you are wrong.