Windows 8 was a big change for every one of us. This was the first time Windows was attempting to drastically change the UI since the conception of Windows. MS took some steps in the right direction but for some people, Modern UI is still just another way of getting into Desktop mode and launching a couple of apps.
Jay Machalani, a UI designer felt the same way. While he appreciated the presence of Modern UI and its usefulness on a Touch Screen, he knew it was counterproductive to use Modern apps on a big screen monitor with Keyboard and Mouse attached.
Windows 8.2 Concept
Adamant that Modern UI is the future for Windows, he set out to create a way in which the Desktop and Modern environment would work better together. That meant brining back the Start menu as it was, only with Modern UI tiles and apps that work between Desktop and Modern UI flawlessly.
So, he created this concept:
Jai believes that the Desktop and Modern UI should be totally separate. That is, if you are using the Desktop mode, on your PC, you can use all your Desktop and Modern apps in configurable windows, and you won’t need to go into Modern UI to do anything at all.
If you are using a Touch Screen Tablet with Modern UI, you get access to all the apps from the Windows App Store and the Classic Apps as well. They just behave like Modern UI apps do right now.
You can dock two apps side by side, whichever they may be, but that’s it. And when an app is available in both Desktop and Modern UI versions a.k.a a Hybrid app, it would change to the Modern UI look when you switch from Desktop.
This way, the user has the ultimate control over how they use their machine. The apps would work flawlessly on a Desktop and Touch environment. They would be able to communicate and share data, something that is not possible right now (Eg. Skype). To borrow a phrase from Microsoft’s leading competitor, it would “Just work”.
Of course, all of this sounds incredible complicated right now. Modern apps just don’t offer the same functionality as Desktop apps and Desktop apps just don’t work well on touch devices right now. But with enough support from Microsoft, things can change.
Can it work?
Microsoft has been rumoured to bring back the start menu and Modern apps to Desktop in Windows 8.1, so these concepts might turn into reality someday. And I hope they do.
I have been using Windows 8 weeks before its public release, and while I was impressed with how fast everything was and how beautiful Modern UI looked, I felt myself drawn towards the Desktop time after time. With Windows 8.1, Microsoft has made huge efforts to make Modern UI more approachable to power users, but it is still no match for the full blown Desktop environment. These is also a severe design flux when going from Desktop to Modern UI. This is another thing Jay talks about. If Microsoft truly wants to achieve the ‘One Microsoft’ status they need a single prominent design language across the two UIs. And this can be it.
Check out Jai’s website for an incredibly detailed post about the whole research project. It makes for an interesting read.