New Windows 10 Start menu design official, plus other UI tweaks in the pipeline
We’ve known that Microsoft has been working on a redesigned Start menu for a while and it has now officially revealed it and discussed the new design approach. Other changes coming to Windows 10 include new ALT + TAB functionality, a new personalized Taskbar, notification tweaks as well as an improved tablet UI for 2-in-1 users. Microsoft has also added new features for developers where the latest Windows SDK is flighting continuously with the Dev Channel.
The new Start menu largely replaces the look and feel introduced with the Live tiles feature that first made its way to Windows from Windows Phone. The new more static design approach uses translucency to create what Microsoft is calling Theme-aware tiles that pick up on the system theme chosen by the user. Microsoft says it makes it easier to identify apps and creates a more uniform look and feel. You can still go back to the old look if you choose, however.
The new ALT + TAB functionality is targeted at multitaskers so that they can quickly choose between any of the open tabs in the Edge browser. Previously, ALT + TAB only showed the active window you were in each browser window. The previous behavior can be reinstated in settings if is not to your liking. The new personalized Taskbar is going to use user telemetry to update the Taskbar layouts according to what a user is doing at any given time, presumably making it easier to select related functions according to task.
Given Microsoft sells its own popular range of Surface 2-in-1 PCs, it is no surprise to see the company move towards trying to improve the user experience when the keyboard is detached. Now, instead of asking a user whether they want to switch into tablet mode, it will automatically occur with touchscreen devices and will include “some improvements for touch.”
Microsoft says the new features aren’t tied to any particular release and could roll out at any time. They are currently available to test out in the Windows 10 Preview build 20161.