I need what I need, and not a token bone thrown at me. I’m just sayin’…
The interwebs have been agog lately with a number of different rumors and “confirmations” that Microsoft has heard the wailing and cries of its people. It’s said that the release of Windows 8.1 – or Windows Blue as its been code named – will bring back the Start button to the Windows 8 interface. Unfortunately, a new undercurrent has been heard recently as well: The Start Button is going to do what it did in the Windows 8 Developer Preview – Bring up the Windows 8 Start Screen and not a Windows 7 Styled Start Menu.
My friend Preston Gralla sites a story from The Verge in his analysis. He says that it its “true, it would be a [major] misstep for Microsoft.”
I agree, but it wouldn’t be the first time that MS thought it knew better than its customers.
Gralla says that, “Microsoft [appears] to have a death wish” when it comes to Windows 8. Users have been asking for a return of the Windows 7 Start Menu. No one is asking for a Start Button that gets users to the Windows 8 Start Screen. Users that want a quick way to get to the Start Screen can swipe in from the right edge of the screen, hit the Windows Key on a Windows compatible keyboard or hover the mouse over the lower left corner until a thumbnail of the Start Screen appears and then click on it. Putting the Start Button back just to get the user to the Start Screen is silly. We don’t want the Start screen.
We want the Windows 7 Start Menu.
The Windows 7 Start menu was simple. It was easy to use. More importantly, its search results were much more accurate than its Windows 8 counterpart; at least that’s the current perception from most users. Windows 8 Start Screen search results display data differently than displayed on the Windows 7 Start Menu; and the results sort and display is also confusing users.
Unfortunately, especially on a non-touch enabled PC, the Start Screen isn’t what users want. Windows 8.1 will likely give users the ability to boot directly to their Desktop instead of the Start Screen, which is something that users DO want. However, giving users a Start Button that doesn’t do what users want it to do is confusing and, well, rude. If Microsoft is going to listen to its Windows 8 critics and change the way the OS works, then it needs to listen.
If The Verge’s report is accurate, Microsoft’s solution seems half-backed and empty. Windows XP and its Start menu have been around since 2000. It’s over 13 years old. Changing that type of use behavior in the enterprise is NOT reasonable; and I honestly think Microsoft is going to miss the boat again if it doesn’t open both ears and listen to what users want from it.