I am increasingly surprised. How many product inventions are created, but not launched successfully? What is it that prohibits Microsoft to create products that consumers are desperate to have. How could it be possible that such a large company takes such small notion of what its customers want? I think they are simply not listening properly.
I’m writing this post as a response to a Dutch article on the news platform nu.nl, which announces that the startmenu makes his return in Windows 8.2.
Is this Microsoft’s response to all the fuss that arose when they launched Windows 8 with the new Metro interface? From the start consumers were calling for the return of the start button that they became used to since Windows 95. Microsoft conceded in Windows 8.1 with the actual return.
A ridiculous decision, shown by the following uproar asking for the return of the start menu. The button was not the problem. In fact, the same functionality still existed when one moved his mouse to the left-bottom corner of the screen, exactly where the button has always been. Nobody will ever tell me that the absence of an actual button was something that one can’t get accustomed to. In my opinion the now old implementation was even better, as the experience was similar to every other environment in Windows. The button was not the solution to the problem, as it launched the same solution. The Metro interface. Thus the calling for the start menu got louder.
Just like the button. The call for the old functionality is understandable. Whenever one asks his consumers how to innovate a product the majority will always tell you not to change much. They might only suggest incremental improvements. But if you are serious about innovation, which Microsoft is, they should convince the majority that the new solution is better. Returning the start menu is returning to Windows 95.
Instead, Microsoft should listen to what the consumer is actually saying. Why would they want to return to old functionalities? Maybe the new implementation is simply not good enough. Maybe the focus should be on improving the innovation. Stepping forward.
The thing is I’m lost. Lost in a system that I knew so well. And the problem is not the button, nor the menu. It’s because Microsoft has created 2 worlds in one system that do not play nice together.
If I open a PDF, a beautiful app launches full-screen. I really like the use of screen estate. But how do I easily access that Word document? Or that browser tab? The explorer folder? Do I really have to access the desktop area before I’m able to select one of my other programs? And once I did, where did my PDF go? And what about that second PDF I was looking in before? I’m using Windows for a couple of months now and still I’m lost sometimes. I wish the menu was back, because back on Windows 7 the world looked a lot better. Right?
Actually I think the Metro interface is beautiful and could very well be a great substitute for the start menu. Microsoft should listen to what customers are actually saying, which is: “Hey Microsoft, I’m lost! The new system makes it harder for me to navigate.” Solving that problem might be easier then you’d think. The real issue seems to be that Windows does not have a universal task bar. There is one for the Metro interface and a different one for the desktop. The universal task bar should allow me to switch easily between both desktop and Metro apps. Currently the only solution is moving away from the Metro interface, which I’ve done in every way possible, and only using the desktop like you were used to. That desktop then lacks the functionality of a start menu, which is the reason why people are asking for its return.
Microsoft should thus start to listen properly to its users. Not to their solutions, but to their problems. Only then they can continue to innovate. With new solutions and successes instead of critiques and old-fashion functionality.