Why wasn't it done like this?
Firstly, I am fully aware that Microsoft will NEVER implement this. They have started down a different route and are unlikely to change tracks; they can't U-turn this late in the game. Nevertheless, I've been thinking about this for a few weeks now. And then today I found this image that made me wonder even more: why wasn't it done like this?
I found it here. It actually shows something different to what I am describing here, but for all intensive purposes (edit: intents and purposes!), what I am talking would at least *look* like this.
Why doesn't Windows 8 retain the bar at the bottom of the screen throughout the OS (with the exception of traditional full screen games with an exit command, of course)? Keep it there, even in regular full screen Win8 apps. (edit: I know the picture colours don't match and I've seen better concepts of what the bar should look like, but this is just to illustrate my point. :) )
Don't answer yet: bear with me a little while I explain.
Yes, it would get in the way of swiping up for options - but that could be solved by moving the multitasking from the left to the bottom and the options from the bottom to the left. You could swap around some of the hot corners as well, I'm sure.
These are what I see to be the benefits:
1. Familiarity. People have grown up now with Windows multitasking being along the bottom of the screen. There was no need to change it to the left side; we could have still swiped up from the bottom bar to switch quickly between programs, just as we now have to swipe in from the left. You could argue that swiping from the left is quicker than swiping up. Well, maybe - but it would have to be a hell of a lot quicker to justify the change considering the other benefits of having the bar along the bottom.
2. Ability to see your open apps at a glance. Just like on the desktop, we would be able to see what we had open allowing us to quickly select the right app to switch to without having to cycle through all open apps and without a back-and-forth gesture to open up the multitasking bar on the left. The back-and-forth swipe could still have been applied from the bottom to open up larger previews, if you wanted that.
3. Ability to see the time at a glance. No need to swipe in from the right edge or hop to another screen.
4. A more unified feel to the OS. People have been barking on about the 'disjointed' feel between the start screen and the desktop. Keep the bottom bar there across the OS (and maybe keep the wallpaper the same on the desktop as the startscreen bakground?) and there is a strong visual clue that it's all the same OS.
5. Balance. A ever-present bottom bar would make it appear as though the usable area of the screen started a little higher, making it *look like* there was more weight/substance towards the bottom of the device where it sat in your hands/in its dock/against the table. I think this would add to the sense of quality in the device. (I may be very wrong here!).
There is no way Microsoft will implement something like this as it would require a rethink of which sides of the OS do what (multitasking along the bottom, options on the left). All the apps would have to be re-written, I expect. It is just never going to happen.
BUT, what I would like to know is: why do you think it wasn't like this in the first place? I've been racking my brains and I can't work out why. What am I missing?