Throughout the development of Windows 10, I’ve seen many complain about the tablet mode experience. Many claim that with Windows 10, the tablet experience has suffered greatly due to the companies focus on making Windows 10 excellent for desktops. I disagree with this statement, and I’m going to show you why I think the Windows 10 tablet experience is in fact better than the Windows 8.1 one.
One of the biggest complaints I have seen from users involved the task bar within tablet mode. Many seem to think the task bar in tablet mode on Windows 10 takes away from the tablet experience, whereas I think the opposite. The task bar in Windows 10 operates differently when in tablet mode, and is designed as more of a navigation and status bar than an actual task bar. The good thing about Windows 10 is that if you really want to, you can turn it back into a standard task bar allowing you to switch between apps super easily.
The task bar also gives you quick access to your battery indicator, WiFi, volume and time, much like it does on Windows Phone. If you really can’t stand having the task bar on show when in tablet mode, Microsoft does give you the option to hide it as well, so there’s no real reason to complain.
Another complaint I frequently hear about tablet mode in Windows 10 is how the Start Screen scrolls vertically instead of horizontally like in Windows 8.1. There’s a reason they switched it, actually multiple reasons. First, it’s easier to scroll up and down more so than it is to scroll left and right. Naturally, when you flick your finer or thumb, you flick either up and down, not left and right. Ergonomically it’s more comfortable and easier to scroll vertically, both Apple and Google understand this, which is why they’ve been utilizing vertically scrolling for years.
Furthermore, the majority of first class Windows 10 apps are also designed to scroll vertically, so making the Start Screen scroll in the same direction makes sense. It’s also easier to scroll up and down with you thumb when holding the device. As I explain in the video, with Windows 10 I can have two hands on the tablet and scroll without having to let go of one side and use my index finger to navigate. Overall it’s easier and more comfortable on Windows 10.
Multitasking in tablet mode is too improved. With Windows 8.1, multitasking was done with swiping in from the left, and it’s the same with Windows 10, but a lot quicker. Instead of swiping four or five times to get to the app you want, in Windows 10 you simply swipe once and then pick your app from task view. I know that in Windows 8.1 you can swipe out and then in from the left and get given an overview of open apps, but this new way in Windows 10 is far more clean and easy to use, giving you nice big app thumbnails that are hard to miss.
As I mentioned above, in Windows 10 you can make the task bar act as an app switcher too, much like it does on the desktop. In the video I show off this functionality, and enabling this feature really does make switching between apps even easier than using the gesture from the left.
Finally, one more point I want to go over is how tablet mode is one experience now. In Windows 8.1, there are two experiences, the desktop and the touch first UI. In Windows 10, when in tablet mode apps run full screen, gestures work, and everything seems tablet-y. This is even the case for Win32 apps, they are also treated like tablet apps, being they can be closed by swiping down the screen, snapped to the left and right for multitasking, and take advantage of the on screen back button.
There aren’t two experiences in Windows 10, in desktop mode it works like a desktop, and in tablet mode it works like a tablet. Both worlds don’t collide with each other, which makes for an excellent user experience.