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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Microsoft Killed Start Button

People were wondering why they couldn’t see start menu when Microsoft was showing off its start screen of oncoming Windows 8. It turned out that Microsoft CEO has simply ordered to kill the start button.

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Microsoft explained this decision with the fact that the start menu dipped by 11% between Vista and Windows 7, with plenty of specialized start functions, such as exploring pictures, declining by 61%. This seem to be a sound reason to replace the start menu with a screen full of live tiles able to serve as a program launcher and widgets.

Meanwhile, the lead program manager on the Microsoft Core Experience team revealed that while the 11% decrease in start menu usage may seem not much to somebody, it was still a key indicator for the company’s design direction. Microsoft claimed that taking into account hundreds of millions of Windows users, it can be considered more than eye-opening to watch such a decrease for a universally recognizable part of the interface of the most popular operating system in the world.

Microsoft also explained that it wasn’t a hidden setting tweaked by a minority. Instead, it is considered to be just a very important piece of the operating system that people started using less. This is what brought Microsoft to a decision to somehow evolve the interface of a Start button.

It seems now that the days of navigating via the nested menus within start, as well as searching for the programs and files using the live search function are gone to the past. Nowadays majority of users prefer to pin programs to the start menu or the taskbar to get quicker access to favorite applications. According to the surveys conducted by software giant, most part of Windows users do not pin any programs to the Start menu at all. At the same time, the number of pinned application on the taskbar has tripled, making it 30% of Microsoft customers using it.

In other words, Microsoft is trying to explain that today things like keyboard shortcuts (for example, Windows button and the number of the applications on the taskbar) can allow Windows users to swiftly launch programs and switch among them. This brought Microsoft to the point where the company developers realized that the taskbar has already evolved enough to replace the Start menu, while the Start screen has already evolved enough to replace the taskbar. 

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