So I recently have begun an experiment where I am forcing myself to keep within the Metro UI at least 75% of the time, doing all my browsing from the Metro version of EI, and even using Microsoft’s Online Word app for my writing needs.
I plan to keep up with this experiment for at least a week to see how I feel about Metro than (or if anything changes for me at all). While it has only been about a day, I have certainly noticed something that I don’t see changing for me anytime soon.
Metro is great. It’s nice looking and it takes out some of the complexity that comes from using the desktop. Unfortunately, I think that’s the problem for users like me. Metro works well, but it doesn’t offer something that I can’t already do perfectly fine on the desktop.
Of course I’m using a laptop, not a tablet, but that’s the point. MS is trying to get us to buy the idea that Metro is as good for desktop users as it is for the touch-screen crowd. If this were a tablet, than I’d say that the thing Metro can do better than desktop is work well with a none-keyboard/mouse setup.
This is the biggest thing Metro has going for it for power users. Unfortunately, until touch becomes wider spread on desktop PCs and laptops, this isn’t a factor for the x86 crowd.
For casual users, the idea of having a UI that makes things easier and isn’t nearly complex is wonderful. For many business and power users, though, we are used to the complexity and find its absence a little weird. Right clicking in Metro and its apps brings up few to no options, something that done in desktop brings up tons of different options, even in your browser.
So does this mean that Microsoft was foolish to try and push Metro on the desktop? Not at all. Casual users are a growing market, whereas I suspect the ‘power users’ that like complex old-school ways of getting things done are a largely dying breed that will be weeded out over the course of the next decade or so.
That being said, I really am starting to question why they didn’t just throw certain types of users a bone and allow a ‘start button/start menu’ option.
More than likely though, they didn’t do it because they are planning to eventually phase out the desktop altogether or at least severely lock it down in a nature similar to ARM, where it only runs one or two special apps but largely just processes resources and such in the background.
More than likely though, this transition will be gradual. Windows 9 will probably start the transition and maybe Windows 10 will complete it. Keep in mind this is only a theory.
That being said, if a start bar/start menu option existed that replaced Metro completely, would I use it? I don’t know. I like the idea of having Metro around for when I want to play around with it, and as apps become more widely available this will be even more true.
A perfect compromise for me would be if I could maybe hit a combo key (like Windows Key + W) and it would bring up the start menu instead of Metro, while just hitting the Windows Key would bring Metro.
In the long run though, I think having no start menu is going to be nothing more than a minor inconvenience for myself. At the same time, I really doubt I will ever spend more than 20-30% of my time within Metro (at least after this experiment).
This is actually a lot like how I treat my Kinect for the Xbox 360. When I use the Xbox, 80% of the time I am using the traditional console experience, but about 20% of the time I use Kinect. What about you? Is Metro ever going to be your ‘main’ UI or will you probably split your time 50/50?
Conversely, do you think Metro will likely just get a very small portion of your time, while most of it is spent in the traditional Windows desktop? Share your thoughts below.