Possible steps back in Windows 10


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May 29, 2014
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(I hope a similar thread doesn't already exist. The forum is kinda cluttered right now, due to activity)

This thread is not for bashing Win10 or complaining or something.
I want to talk about actual or potential issues with what has been shown. Stuff that is obviously inferior to older concepts or might break an established work flow.

Specifically, I'm talking about two aspects that I have noticed:

- "All Apps" list from Vista/7 era
- Side-swipe opens a downgraded task switcher

For the first point, some might remember that Microsoft even made a long-*** post about why the Windows 8 model is better.
And I agree with it.
Windows 95 to XP had an "all apps" views that filled the whole screen, was hard to parse visually and had a set limit to how much it could display. If you had too much software, it would actually leave the screen boundaries.
Obviously, that's sub-optimal for a modern system, where you might have hundreds of programs.
Then Vista/7 came. Many may have forgotten already, but the "all apps" view in that version was atrocious. It's limited to a tiny window, where you can't see anything at a glance and instead have to scroll around endlessly. No one complained about it, because the search feature made that view obsolete. Search means that "all apps" shouldn't be where you start your programs regularily - Instead, it's where you go to see what software you have installed.
Still, it was a mess to navigate.
And now we have the Windows 8 view. It's scrollable, allowing it to scale infinitely. It also separates all elements in a visually distinctive style, which is easy to understand at a glance. However, the nature of its navigation (expanding all folders at default, with semantic zoom used to have a folder view) made it unintuitive and sometimes even messy. It was also too hard to access without touch, due to the small hitbox of the arrow that you had to click on, if you hadn't set it as default view.

Windows 10 is now the perfect chance to get the best out of all three worlds.
Instead, Microsoft decided to say "**** it" and bring back the one aspect of Windows 7 that basically everyone agrees to hate.

The second aspect, the task switcher, may or may not be an issue, depending on what Microsoft's rationale is.
I have a Surface RT and I loved the gesture-based controls. They were intuitive and actually impress people who happen to see you navigate the OS. It's basically a little bit of Minority Report and one of the killer features of Windows on touch. (Together with standardized I/O options and desktop-grade functionality even on RT. Yes, I used my Surface RT with an external monitor more than once - The lack of Compilers is really unfortunate. I even found use for CMD)
The task switcher was simple - Swipe once to go back to the last used program, swipe multiple times to go through the entire list, swipe out and then in again to show all active apps.
The former option allowed for quick navigation with a lazy gesture, making it very intuitive and comfortable to use. The latter displayed all tasks on the left side of the screen, as that's where your thumb rests when activating the task switcher, while your right hand generally holds the device.
Both clever design choices. And both apparently not implemented in Windows 10, where there's no distinction between the two gestures and where the task switcher is displayed in the middle of the screen.
They should have improved on the old system, as it got cluttered quickly with too many apps and obviously didn't have virtual desktop support. Instead they might have thrown it out altogether.

My guess for their rationale is that this is intended for stationary touch use, i.e. "non-touch mode". Which means that the touch screen isn't held in your hand, thus making selections with both hands viable.
This idea only holds water if "touch mode" actually uses the old system, which may or may not be. Maybe I should trust Microsoft on that front.
They did keep the Charms bar, after all, because of how intuitive it is on touch. Also, if I understand correctly, the Charms Bar was disabled for non-touch access, which is completely sensible. It should have been like that from the start - Task bar and title bar for mouse/keyboard, task switcher/charms bar/gestures for touch, and neither accessible through the other input method, but existing side by side and filling the same functionality niche.

Then again, that is the same Microsoft that always displays the scroll bar on Windows Phone on the right, where it's invisible to right-handed users. It's also the company that lowered the contrast on the Windows 8 scroll bar so much, that it can't be used as navigation feature on longer pages, as the grey indicator goes invisible in front of the white background.
So I guess I'll not put *too* much hope into them.
...I will have lots of feedback to give.

Did anyone else find concerning aspects in yesterday's presentation? Maybe a minor detail that most people don't even notice?

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