I want to like Metro on my laptop...
I like the way the Metro UI looks on my laptop, and I've been looking forward to getting the consumer preview and playing with it. It's not very user friendly though, and could use some improvements to win me over completely. Basically, I want the tablet experience on my laptop, but they are still sticking with some traditional desktop gestures, which almost make Metro unusable on a laptop. I have a few suggestions, and a couple other complaints.
I don't like using scroll bars to look through the start menu or an app. It would be much easier if I could drag the menu from any point on the screen, or have the option to use two fingers on my track pad to scroll.
Corners are too specific of an area to put the cursor to bring up your list of running apps, or to get your charm icons, especially sense those are along the entire side of the screen. As far as I can tell on a laptop or desktop, the sides aren't being used to push the screen over as another way or scrolling in an app, or anything, and going to a corner then the side uses basically two gestures instead of one. I think the left or right side menu's that pop up should do so any time you hit the edge of your screen with your cursor, anywhere along it. I've been trying to do that for a day now because that would be the intuitive way to do it.
There aren't a lot of apps I want to try out in the store for the consumer preview, but now that I've spread out the default apps on my start screen, it looks like going to the edges of the screen does push the menu over. But this doesn't happen within apps. But I still think that the edges should be reserved for an easier way to access the side menus, and that two finger scrolling should be an option to scroll through the start screen and apps with a track pad.
I have an xbox controller with the laptop adapter, and I'm happy to report that it works well with the pinball game that comes with the consumer preview, but then after I'm playing a game, I wish the controllers functionality could be extended to navigate the metro UI, just because the thing is all ready in my hands. This should be fairly easy to do, and intuitive, just like navigating the dashboard of an xbox 360 with it.
I don't see an option to search the internet, or search Bing in the search area of the OS, which I found odd. I thought maybe a Bing app from the Microsoft store would add that functionality, but it's not there. On that topic, I feel like I need a few more key apps available to really test out living with this OS for a while. I'm thinking about a facebook app, a pandora app, and maybe a Metro style of internet explorer? I'm pretty sure I saw the metro internet explorer in demo video's, but my tile all ways takes me to the desktop version, so I'm not sure whats happening there. However, I will only use a metro version of explorer just because it doesn't look like it's the same thing, and I like minimalism.
I wish there was a more intuitive way of getting your music and videos into your metro apps, without needing to go into the desktop to get them into your libraries. I'm trying to avoid the desktop as much as I can and just live inside of the metro interface. A few more options could be given to metro apps to make that possible, but I find that there are some components of metro apps that are overly simplified. This makes them cleaner, but less intuitive. For example, what else would you do in the Store app besides search for apps to purchase? Yet the search is hidden away in the charms area. I get that for most apps, but in apps like the store app where you purchase apps or other forms of digital entertainment, I think there should always be a search box visible. It could be in the same place where the search box is when you go to search from the charm icons, and once you click it, that charms menu could encompass the search box and make it look the same as if you hit the search charm first. An always visible search box would just make it quicker and more intuitive to look something up. I do like that you can start typing from the start screen to search for an app, or to search within an app, but "just typing" doesn't seem to work when you are all ready in an app. That would be a good feature to have too.
While I'm at all of this, before windows 8, I never put a password on my devices. When I turn them on, I just want to get started, but it looks like the consumer preview forces you to have a password, pin, or a picture password. I don't want to use any of those, the lock screen is enough. So hopefully they will provide that option in the final build.
So these are my suggestions about what Microsoft should change in windows 8 before it gets released. I got really exited about the consumer preview, but now having used it for a couple days, it just doesn't flow well enough for me to care about it. I care about a good experience in the metro UI because that's the kind of UI that I have been wanting to use, even on a laptop or desktop. It very much reminds me of using the cool iris 3d wall search, which was very fun to use when my computer could handle it, but I don't think that metro on laptops is quite where I want it to be yet. I don't mind sticking with regular old windows 7, but there's just nothing that exciting and new about it. But if the metro experience doesn't get better before it gets released, I will be staying on windows 7. So I'm glad Microsoft released this consumer preview, it might just save me some money and grief later on.
I would also like to snap three apps equally across my screen, but more importantly, I’d like to be able to snap two apps and give them equal screen real estate side by side. I did this all the time in windows 7 by dragging windows to the sides, and it would still be use full in the metro UI for specific use cases.
Looks like metro Internet Explorer comes back when you make IE your default browser again. You do this by going to the start screen and typing "default," and opening the "default programs" application that comes up. This was stupid and time consuming to investigate, I think metro IE should not be affected by which browser is your default.