Software Design and Schizophrenic Windows 8 Part 2

I know it’s not schizophrenic, but that sounds better. It’s really a split personality.

I wrote recently about Windows 8 and what I consider to be poor design in the update system. Today I want to look at another aspect that troubles me.


I’ve gotten used to the taskbar and finding the applications I need. I actually pin 12 applications to my bar because I use them on a daily basis and it’s much easier to start them from the task bar.

I actually have gotten used to finding applications (other than Windows Update) on the Start Screen by typing the name. I know this worked in Windows 7, and I should always have been doing this, but the design of Win 8 actually forced me to get in the habit of hitting the Windows key and then typing the first 3-5 characters of the application name.

In any case, here’s my taskbar.


I’m running a number of apps, almost all of these are active. If I hover the mouse over any of them, I can find them. It’s no four-finger up swipe in OSX, but it works very well for finding stuff.

Most stuff.

I actually was running the Mail app in Windows a minute ago, however it’s not on my taskbar. I have to do one of a few things to find it. I can put my mouse in the upper left corner, and I’ll see it as thumbnail.


I an alt+tab through my list of stuff and find it there, but that’s slow. I’d also say hovering I the upper left corner to be slow (to me).


I also had the People app running. That’s in my alt+tab list, but quite by accident I realized that if I hover my mouse in the upper left and then move it slightly down, I get this:


A list of the running metro-style applications.

Now I have two task bars. One at the bottom of both my monitors (it’s duplicated) and a separate one on the left side of my screen (either one), if I correctly move my mouse along the left side of the screen. I don’t always do it correctly, and so switching to the metro apps becomes a little dicey at times, usually slow, and occasionally maddening.

I thought we learned a long time ago that two separate menus was poor design.

I don’t mind the idea of the left hand bar. It’s fine, and if it’s ergonomically better, great. Get people to move that way. However make sure you’ve integrated into the taskbar at the same time. Don’t give me two places that do the same thing for different items. Give me consistency.

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