Microsoft took a whole bucketful of risks when it launched its modern operating platform, Windows 8. And one of these risks was making Metro the default choice for PC users.
The shiny new environment was the reason behind a lot of confusion that made coming to grips with the new OS difficult — for beginners more so. And now the company has opened up a bit on this decision, explaining the reasoning behind making such a drastic change.
A Microsoft UX designer took to Reddit to discuss the Metro UI, pointing out that this new environment was primarily designed for simple tasks like viewing photos, web browsing, checking Facebook.
But the company then decided to make the Modern UI default in Windows 8 in a bid to force users to see the Start Screen — to discover the new environment. Had they made the operating system boot to desktop like previous versions of Windows, nobody would have talked about Metro.
A reasoning not without merit, some may say, but here is the quote:
“The short answer is because casual users don’t go exploring. If we made desktop the default as it has always been, and included a nice little start menu that felt like home, the casual users would never have migrated to their land of milk and honey.
They would still occupy the desktop just as they always had, and we would have been stuck in square one. So we forced it upon them. We drove them to it with goads in their sides. In 8.1, we softened the points on the goads by giving users an option to boot directly to desktop.”
The designer also maintains that since now everybody is aware of the fact that Metro is an essential part of Windows, the very core around which the operating system is centered, Microsoft not only has more ways to play with it, but is looking into ways to improve it.
The idea, now, is to make the new environment as intuitive and usable as possible.
I’d still like to read a very detailed book about how the Metro environment was designed and integrated into Windows, and while I am still holding out for a personal memoir from a senior company executive, this is as close an explanation we will get from the official source.
Hit the link above if you want to read the account in full at Reddit.