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Microsoft talks about the evolution of Start Screen to Menu

Microsoft has posted a new Building Windows 8 blog post talking about how the Windows 8 Start Screen will benefit Windows. Microsoft also mentions how the Start Screen will be an evolved version of the traditional Start menu.

Today Microsoft has posted a new entry on the Windows 8 blog stating that the start screen is an revolutionized start menu. Here is a short quote from Steven Sinofsky’s statement:

This post kicks off a series of posts on the design of the Start screen and the evolution of the core activity of launching and switching programs. Some folks are calling the Start screen the “Metro shell” for Windows 8, but for us it is the evolution of the Start menu and associated functions…Because the Developer Preview is focused on building apps, and the core user experience is still under development, we want to make sure our discussions start from first principles and work through the design to provide a fuller context for where we will be at the next project milestone.

Microsoft identified a few areas of concern when it came to the old Windows 7 start menu. First, the menu feels cramped relative to available screen real estate when you try to see and navigate the full catalog of your programs. Second, search doesn’t have the space it deserves to quickly show you rich results across all sources of information, especially on larger screens. Thirdly, it’s hard to customize the menu to make it feel like it’s really yours. And finally, the icons and shortcuts are static and don’t leverage more of the pixels we see in modern graphical interfaces to surface connected scenarios.

Microsoft states that the taskbar has now evolved to replace many aspects of the Start Menu. “You can even say the taskbar reveals many of the weaknesses of the Start menu and that the menu is no longer as valuable as it once was long ago. Search and access to All Programs are still unique strengths of the Start menu that we know you depend upon, but when it comes to the apps you use every day, one-click access from the taskbar is hard to beat.”

Microsoft now refers to the new taskbar as a “Start bar” claiming that most people now start with the bar, rather than with the menu. In fact, the company is referring to the Start bar as a “powerful primary launcher and switcher for the desktop.”

With the current Start menu becoming labeled by Microsoft as a “poor everyday launcher,” Microsoft is looking to enhance the Start menu into something great. “Improved search, more room for all your programs, tiles that are alive with activity, and richer customization all suddenly become possible when the venerable, but aging, Start menu is transformed into a modern Start screen.”

Write your opinions on the start screen and its evolution in the comments below!

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