Microsoft reveals Windows 8 “All Programs” view


With the course of time everything needs change and thus the traditional Windows form has been laid into all new face of Windows 8 – an approach towards reimagining Windows and bringing an evolution in the computing era.

As we all know that Windows 8 start screen has been in discussion since a quiet long period of time with mixed reviews of positive and negative responses. Microsoft took an opportunity to reflect these responses and for the same in the recent building Windows 8 blog post gave a comprehensive explanation.

Moreover, instead of just answering to the questions, in the blog post they’ve left an interesting screen shot for users to look forward in the upcoming beta:

Newfangled “All Programs” view:

Applications are listed in alphabetical order from A-Z; regardless of which application or suite they belonged to in the Windows 8 Developers Preview. This will get changed in the beta, where applications will be clustered by their “parent folder,” or “program group” if you recall that terminology from the Windows 3.x days.

In comparison to the current All Programs view for Windows Vista and 7, this new solution keeps the parent-level folder as with previous Start Menus in Windows. As it is visible in the above screenshot, all office 2010 applications are grouped together.

Another noticeable change made from the Developer Preview is that the “Search” charm will now essentially act as an “All Programs” link, taking users to an expanded list of their applications upon activation.

How Does Fitt’s Law Fit to Windows 8?

Users have observed the extra mouse travel time given a large launching surface for applications. Whereas, Microsoft acknowledged the extra mouse travel distance in the Start Screen versus the Start Menu, they also enlighten that Fitt’s Law also takes into account the size of the target, in addition to the distance. For reaching the target the distance might have increased, but the larger size of the tiles compensates for the lost time.

Microsoft expects that the live tiles on the Start Screen can save users time by imparting information without requiring an app launch, and that users can locate buried applications on their system faster by presenting them with large icons, relying on spatial memory (location of a tile relative to a ‘shape’) and colors of a title/icon to help speed up the launching process, as opposed to digging through a list of primarily text links.

The subsequent two heat maps present Microsoft’s argument for the time required to launch a user’s favorite applications. They compared users launching the Start Screen and selecting a favorite tile, with users selecting a pinned application from the Start Menu. Boxes in green symbolize a shorter launch time, with longer durations in red.

These heat maps represent a larger number of tiles that can be quickly accessed by a user launching the Start Screen from the lower left corner, compared to a default number of 10 pinned applications in the Start Menu.

Image Credit: Building Windows 8 Blog


Nitin Agarwal is a Spritual Soul from India. He is a Windows and Windows Phone Expert and Blogger by birth. He has been awarded as Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for three times by Microsoft in Windows Expert category. People often calls him a Geek, techie, gadget freak and A Crazy Heart because of his passion towards doing things differently. Immensly inspired from Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and APJ Abdul Kalam.

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