05 July 2021

The Verge: “Windows 11 is a new and refreshing approach to an old and familiar home”

The biggest changes you’ll find in Windows 11 will be immediately obvious. A new Start menu appears alongside a taskbar that’s centered. It’s clear Microsoft has taken cues from macOS, Chrome OS, and even Android and iOS here. Gone are the Live Tiles with their widget-like information, replaced instead with a launcher and your recent documents and files. I’m a big fan of this new Start menu, and I think it acts as the front door that invites you to explore a refreshed and simplified version of Windows.

Another obvious change to Windows 11 is the new Widgets section. While Microsoft added a weather widget to the taskbar in Windows 10, it has now been shifted into a dedicated section that flies out from the left-hand side of the screen. This reminds me a lot of Windows Vista, but these widgets can’t be dragged and dropped onto your desktop and pinned elsewhere.

Tom Warren

It feels unfair to judge a design based on short video of a beta version, but I keep finding reasons to dislike this new Windows 11 design. The Start menu looks terribly cramped and generic. In Windows 10 you could opt for a full screen menu, resize tiles, create groups of tiles and folders to organize them better – these options are seemingly gone from the new OS version, along with the ability to move the taskbar to the side or top of the desktop. Simplification? More like senseless dumbing down…

Windows 11 beta deep dive: new design, dark mode, and Start menu

Speaking of ‘simplification’, if I understand correctly, the widgets replacing Live Tiles are placed in a separate section with its own button on the taskbar… That’s right, Microsoft is ‘simplifying’ the Start Menu by… adding another menu! That a dumb solution to a non-existent problem; if users were that bothered by the few active Live Tiles, they could have simply unpinned them from Start.

Another odd design decision is the subtle shading of the title bars, officially called ‘Mica material’, incorporating theme and desktop wallpaper to paint the background of long-lived windows such as apps and settings. It is intended to create visual hierarchy, but to me it manages to instead confuse it: when an active windows sits on top of other windows, not directly above the wallpaper, Mica still mirrors the wallpaper, not the window directly below the active one. Thus, the impression is that the current window is nearer to the desktop than the other inactive windows, which should in theory sit between the focused window and the desktop.

Update: More people are starting to notice the many small ways in which the upcoming version of Windows is worse than the current one:

Post a Comment