1. AaHaa's Avatar
    Well, I don't think it should be done exactly like this, but I just wanted to show a little idea I had.
    In my very humble little opinion... the desktop and Modern UI aren't really that different. They're both interfaces with shortcuts/icons, a taskbar and dedicated apps. I really think it shouldn't be so hard to merge the two.

    Let's take a look at the differences and similarities:
    - Desktop has a file explorer and files can be stored on the "main screen" (desktop). This isn't possible in Modern UI.
    - Desktop has a taskbar at the bottom, Modern UI has one hidden on the left side of the screen.
    - Modern UI is optimized for touch, desktop isn't.
    - You can have multiple windows with different sizes open on the Desktop. In the Modern UI, all apps are fullscreen, although they can be snapped.

    If we merge these differences and similarities, what would we get? I think it'll look something like this:
    windows9_2.jpg

    Basically, this is the Modern UI startscreen with a taskbar at the bottom. Here, the active apps will be shown; just like the "old" bottom-bar on the desktop and the hidden taskbar to the left in Modern UI. If you open a new app, or tap one of the apps in the taskbar that are already running, the start menu will disappear, and the window of the app will pop up, just like the current desktop:

    windows9_1.jpg

    Now, if Microsoft would come up with something like a bigger border around these apps, it would be pretty easy to resize or drag them when you're using touch-input. It would take away ALL the criticism like "it feels awkward with mouse and keyboard" and "I don't want fullscreen apps". If you touch the background or tap the Start button, the open windows all minimize and the Start Menu reappears (like screenshot 1).

    One of the only things I haven't thought about (yet) is the file explorer... It might be possible to store individual files and folders on your startscreen (like tiles), but I'm not sure about that yet. Another solution might be a very sophisticated, deeply integrated seperate "file explorer-app" that you can boot up just like all other apps.
    Tell me what you think! This was made in 30 minutes, so it's not THAT thought out, but I really think Windows 8 offers an opportunity for something like this.
    teckris likes this.
    10-29-2013 12:45 PM
  2. DBDev's Avatar
    Yea, that looks really good!
    10-29-2013 12:52 PM
  3. constantinosmi's Avatar
    To me this would be a step back. This looks more like the previous windows versions than 8. It is a good idea but I think this should have come before even windows 8 was released but after windows 7. The 8.1 update made a great difference to me, especially since you can have two applications half-half. That is my opinion of course.
    Jaskys likes this.
    10-29-2013 01:17 PM
  4. taymur's Avatar
    no, it should go the other way around, built the Desktop into the modern UI, not the other way around, try again :P
    10-29-2013 01:25 PM
  5. AaHaa's Avatar
    The desktop IS built in the Modern UI right now... right? There's a tile that transfers you to your desktop, you can snap it, you can close it, Charms is still there...
    I'm not trying to built one thing in the other, I'm trying to merge them to one, fluid experience ;)
    10-29-2013 02:40 PM
  6. drachen23's Avatar
    I agree with constantinosmi. It's a step back. Modern UI is all about touch interactions. Overlapping windows with tiny little window manager controls and touch don't go well together. Just ask anyone who has ever used a Windows tablet pre-Windows 8. It's hard to hit those little controls without a mouse. I'd say that most people don't use a computer in a way that requires overlapping windows. Most people just use whatever app they have open full-screen. If they need to see documents or programs side-by-side it's now sane in Win 8.1. I've seen very little to convince me that the desktop is a necessary metaphor for modern everyday computing anymore. MS needs to make some tweaks to how the UI works with a mouse and keyboard, but I'd say 85% of current users won't miss the desktop at all.

    The remaining 15% are people like me, and that's only at my work and my main home computer. I'm a computer programmer by trade and I often have dozens of windows on multiple monitors from different web browsers, Visual Studio, Photoshop, SQL Server, remote terminals, etc open at the same time. Modern apps would not work for me nearly as well. Ever seen the Facebook app full-screen on a 30" 2560x1600 monitor? It's ridiculous. Graphic designers and others with similar needs to mine would still want to use desktop-based apps, but they are going to be considered "legacy" into the future. I have mixed feelings about it, but it's clear that MS is pushing hard for that and I understand why they're doing it. I just wish it didn't have to come with computers being so locked down and MS as the sole gatekeeper for what you can and can't have on your computer.

    For consumer computing on Windows, the desktop (and ironically the window) is on its way out.

    on edit: OP's idea is basically Stardock's ModernMix.
    10-29-2013 09:35 PM
  7. azcruz's Avatar
    Pass
    10-29-2013 09:39 PM
  8. AaHaa's Avatar
    Just ask anyone who has ever used a Windows tablet pre-Windows 8. It's hard to hit those little controls without a mouse.
    on edit: OP's idea is basically Stardock's ModernMix.
    That's the whole point: a lot of people want to keep their good old resizable windows. Another, smaller amount of people, want to use Windows with touch. It's true that resizable windows are hard to control with touch, but what I'm trying to say is that Microsoft should try to make those windows easier to handle with touch. Bigger borders, bigger buttons, et cetera. What they did now was that they went all-out touch with Modern and stayed the same with Desktop, creating two different experiences. That's also why my concept isn't the same as ModernMix; ModernMix makes apps a little bit more easier to control with mouse, but it doesn't make desktop apps easier to control with touch. I'm not looking for compromizes, I think these two interfaces should be able to merge flawlessly.
    10-30-2013 07:41 AM
  9. drachen23's Avatar
    That's the whole point: a lot of people want to keep their good old resizable windows. Another, smaller amount of people, want to use Windows with touch. It's true that resizable windows are hard to control with touch, but what I'm trying to say is that Microsoft should try to make those windows easier to handle with touch.
    Believe it or not, I agree with you to an extent, at least for myself. I'm a power user with multiple. large screens. I use Windows 8.1 on my desktop exactly like I used Windows 7. The thing is that we're the minority of users. Most people I know that aren't techies or graphics/audio professionals use just one relatively low-res monitor (1080p or less) and maximize the programs they use so they are full screen. They are no more or less productive with full-screen apps than overlapping windows (because they don't overlap them). Trends these days are moving away from desktops and towards laptops and tablets. Desktop PCs with large screens are becoming much more rare. I've heard a lot of complaints from new Windows 8 users, usually "how do I get back to the start menu?", "how do I see the tabs in IE?" and "how do I shut this damn thing down?", but I've never once heard someone ask how they could go back to tiled apps. They mainly only want the desktop so they can go to their file dumping ground. I think we should put that metaphor out to pasture as well.

    Bigger borders, bigger buttons, et cetera. What they did now was that they went all-out touch with Modern and stayed the same with Desktop, creating two different experiences. That's also why my concept isn't the same as ModernMix; ModernMix makes apps a little bit more easier to control with mouse, but it doesn't make desktop apps easier to control with touch. I'm not looking for compromizes, I think these two interfaces should be able to merge flawlessly.
    The desktop metaphor is awful for touch and mobile computing. Bigger buttons and borders are a waste of valuable real estate on a small, low-res screen. That's why Apple and Google have been working every version to reduce the size of the control chrome on their web browser apps. There is virtually no OS chrome on any of the big three tablet OSes. It's all app. Tablet PCs have been around in some way since 2003 and were a disaster. It took until the iPad with touch-designed controls and a single-app interface to really hit it big in the tablet space.

    I see where Microsoft is going with this. They want to avoid the feeling of two different experiences. It's important from a branding perspective. There are really 4 main consumer Windows experiences: desktop, laptop, touch-enabled laptop and tablet. Desktop sales are dropping like a rock, laptop sales are steady and tablet sales are booming. If the Modern UI paradigm can work well for the healthy 3 out of the 4, that's the way to go. They just need to tweak the mouse interaction with the OS a little in the Modern UI, and they have the three covered pretty well. Desktop Windows programs truly are legacy these days. Think about how many must-have apps there are on desktop-style Windows. What can you think of? MS Office and web browsers really. How about mobile? Stuff like Whatsapp, Instagram, Flipboard and branded apps like NFL, Yelp, Facebook, etc. That's where the interesting things are happening. Desktop is comparatively dead.

    The desktop will be legacy software, but that means it will be integrated into Windows for decades. Right now in 2013 you can still run 16-bit Windows 3.1-era programs from 1992 on the 32-bit version of Windows 8.1 and 32-bit programs from the Windows 95 era on 64-bit Windows 8.1 systems. You will still have the desktop for the next decade at least, probably longer. You can still interact with Modern UI apps in your old windowed way with ModernMix, and that's fine. It's a great example of the odd-man-out adapting to the new normal. That's what I do on my own desktop and in my professional workstation. I would never do it on my tablet even if Windows RT could use ModernMix. There are a ton of improvements to the desktop in Windows 8 over Windows 7, so it's not like they are just abandoning it and letting desktop fans fend for themselves. It's just that MS has chosen where they want Windows to go, and it's where the action is - not the desktop.
    10-31-2013 11:46 PM

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