While the Start Menu has been a staple of the Windows Operating System for decades, it hasn’t always been the most visible icon in the OS. In the early days of Windows, the Start Menu was a large floating window and often required numerous keystrokes to access. More recently, the Start Menu has been a simple icon in the Taskbar. Microsoft has recently changed the appearance of the Start Menu in Windows 10, in an attempt to make it more visually appealing and easier to use.
Microsoft is not known for its innovation, but with Windows 11, the company has taken a step in the right direction. Instead of a new, innovative interface, Microsoft is sticking with the familiar start screen. The Start button has been repositioned in the bottom left corner, and the design looks cleaner than before. The company is even adding an option to boot directly to the desktop and the Start menu has been updated to allow for more options.
While many consider the Start button a relic of the Windows past, Microsoft is making a serious push to bring it back as a way to help people quickly get to their most used apps such as the File Explorer, the Contacts app and even the Messaging app.. Read more about windows 11 start button and let us know what you think.
Microsoft Corp.’s new Windows 11, which will be released later this year, is quite similar to its well-received predecessor Windows 10—which is excellent news for users who don’t want to re-learn the operating system from the ground up, as they did with prior versions.
However, there will be one noticeable change: the placement of the start button and the menu it opens. The four squares of the Windows logo, which were previously relegated to the bottom-left corner of the screen (or bottom-right if the system language is set to Arabic), will now reside in the middle of the taskbar, but users may return it to its previous location.
Years of study and testing by a team of approximately 40 Microsoft designers led to the modification.
Principal Design Director Diego Baca and Senior Program Manager Eric Papamarcos, two members of that team, talked to the Experience Report about how they created the start interface. For length and clarity, the interview has been modified.
WSJ: How did you want Windows 11 to appear and feel different from its predecessor before you drew any ideas or created any prototypes?
The appearance of Windows 11 was created by Diego Baca, Microsoft’s senior design director, with a team of around 40 people.
Mr. Baca: Yes, sir. Windows 10 was launched in 2015, which is a long time in IT terms. However, in the last 18 months, we’ve observed that the PC has evolved from a more utilitarian or functional device to one that is more personal and emotional: You used to go to your office and work on your computer for a few hours, but then there were meetings, lunch breaks, and time to contact your family… All of this nowadays takes place in front of a computer.
We conducted 85 research projects, spoke with hundreds of individuals, and went through thousands of hours of testing cycles to understand about that change. We spoke with Windows aficionados who, at times, knew more about the system than we did, as well as individuals who had never used Windows before.
One of the most common themes that emerged was consumers’ desire for peaceful technology. They don’t want any more stress; it’s as if my machine just needs to function. It all comes down to your capacity to feel in command, at ease, and confident in the tool you’re utilizing.
WSJ: Could you elaborate on the user testing? How did it seem, particularly in terms of the start button and menu?
Mr. Papamarcos: We conduct preference tests, in which participants are asked to select between two designs, and usability studies, in which participants are required to complete a particular task, such as locating an app.
Eric Papamarcos, Senior Program Manager, is now evaluating comments on the Windows 11 interface sent by members of the Windows Insider feedback group.
A research termed a co-creation study was one of the most unforgettable for me. We printed them these pieces of paper that represented building blocks—things like the search box, your top applications, websites, files, the weather, and future calendar appointments—and we had them arrange them into their ideal launching spot on the table.
There were no two that were alike. But they all had a lot in common, and one of our major takeaways was that they wanted the start menu to offer them fast access to papers and files as well as applications. We were already considering doing so, so the research confirmed that we were on the correct road.
WSJ: So, after all of that, who was the first to say, “Let’s put the start button in the middle!”
Mr. Baca: I don’t know if I can pinpoint one specific person but I do remember we wanted to make sure that the start button felt efficient, and we also noticed Windows has become more flexible in terms of the devices that it’s used on: from tiny tablets to PCs to these gigantic, 50-inch, ultra-wide monitors.
When you have these massive displays, the button is no longer in the peripheral; you must really travel to engage with it. So we wanted the menu to be in the middle, not tucked away in a corner where people may miss it.
Windows 11, which will be released later this year, will have a redesigned Start menu that has been relocated to the middle of the screen and a Microsoft Store with Android applications. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talked with Joanna Stern of the Wall Street Journal in an exclusive interview about the software, the impact of the epidemic, and his plan for competing with Google and Apple. Alex Kuzoian/The Wall Street Journal photo illustration Mr. Nadella’s name was erroneously transcribed in a previous version of the closed captions.
WSJ: What is your team working on now that the design for Windows 11 is complete? What is Windows 12?
Mr. Papamarcos: I’m Mr. Papamarcos, and I’m Windows Insiders [members of Microsoft’s user input program] have received Windows 11 releases and are able to give comments… We’re going over all of the comments and looking for common themes and ways to improve and optimize things, as well as fix anything that’s wrong.
It doesn’t go away simply because we shut the door.
Katie Deighton can be reached at [email protected].
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Windows 10 has been a tremendous success for Microsoft, and this is largely due to the feature that has been getting all the attention: the Start menu. After years of criticism, Microsoft finally listened, and it finally had a chance to change things around. A few years ago, most of the Windows users were outraged over the removal of the start button, and when the new start menu did not have the start button, they were even more angry. They were worried that Microsoft had lost its mind, and that the company was going to remove the rest of the Start menu from future versions of Windows. But, after years of criticism, Windows 10 finally listens.. Read more about center start button windows 10 and let us know what you think.
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