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View Diary: Overnight News Digest: Coming Out Edition (25 comments)

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  •  Start button (8+ / 0-)

    If they asked me, I think MS should never have added the start button in the first place. It is bad design, in my opinion. Here's a critique of the button from 2005:

    The Windows start menu makes launching applications far more difficult than it should be. A giant horizontal menu may have seemed like a good idea back when Windows 95 was launched-- but clearly, it isn't. I curse every time I have to launch an app that isn't pinned to my start menu, or in the recently launched program list...

    The deeper problem with the start menu is that it's, well, a menu. Menus have poor usability. A single "Start" point for the user is a fine idea, but it really starts to break down when you make it into more than a simple, visible list of items, as the All Programs link does. A 2003 usability study showed that all menus are inferior to Yahoo-style index lists, and horizontal menus have the worst usability of all...

    It's clear that traditional menus have no place on web pages, and should be used sparingly in GUIs. And that's the critical problem with the Start Menu: it abuses menus. For launching applications, it's a usability trainwreck.

    I sympathise with MS trying to get rid of the bad design, but sometimes the cure is worse that the disease. Windows 8 didn't get the fix right. MS created a disease known as the start button and has no idea how to cure it that will be an actual improvement.
    •  Cascading menus have long been poor design (8+ / 0-)

      I only Search in the Start Menu, no need to navigate around for the few times I go there (i.e., most of my apps are already pinned to the Task bar).

      "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

      by wader on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 09:33:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Task bar (7+ / 0-)

        That's why MS thought they could get rid of it.

        In an interview with PCPro, however, Microsoft revealed that consumers had actually stopped using the button in favor of the taskbar. “When we evolved the taskbar [in Windows 7] we saw awesome adoption of pinning [applications] on the taskbar,” said Chaitanya Sareen, principal program manager at Microsoft. “We are seeing people pin like crazy. And so we saw the Start menu usage dramatically dropping, and that gave us an option. We’re saying ‘look, Start menu usage is dropping, what can we do about it? What can we do with the Start menu to revive it, to give it some new identity, give it some new power?’ ”
    •  But The Problem Is..... (5+ / 0-)

      Microsoft has a user base that's acclimated to that system since Windows 95. This was badly done, but even if it was done well, I think it still would have been too far, too fast.

      I'm fairly technical savvy & it took me a while to figure out how to get around in Windows 8 & the split between the "Metro" view & the classic Desktop. I can't imagine how someone like my mother would ever figure out how to use Windows 8 in a way that wouldn't ultimately result in her throwing the computer across the room.

      Moreover, with the Start Button, I like having that one click to bring up links to various folders (Downloads, Pictures, Documents, etc.) as well as the programs that are most often used.

      •  Start me up (5+ / 0-)

        I agree with you that the transition was poorly done. I'm just claiming the start button should never have been there in the first place. :-) But it wasn't MS (and the Rolling Stones) would never have been able to unleash this commercial abomination on the world:

        Anyhoo... rumor has it the button will be back in Windows 8.1, but its tradition usage may be crippled.

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