The New Windows 8 Explorer Looks Like a Mess

Illustration for article titled The New Windows 8 Explorer Looks Like a Mess

There are parts of Windows 8 that look really amazing (like this, holy shit!). But now, Microsoft offers up a video of the new Explorer UI. More functional, perhaps. But it doesn't look so great.

It's worth sayin that the Windows 7 Explorer UI had gotten minimal to the point where it wasn't simple anymore. But pulling a complete 180 and making the menu bar items permanently visible, with icons sprawled all over the place, isn't exactly the best solution either.


Microsoft says they're reimagining with Windows 8 and the Explorer UI. Yet, beyond the ribbon of commands, the fundamental act of navigating in explorer is unchanged. And though these icons are plastered across the top of the Explorer window, there are still more dropdown menus, secondary tabs and scroll boxes. Blah.

It's a kitchen sink mentality, which is always nice in theory. But for people who aren't power users, this seems a bit overwhelming (my immediate, subconscious reaction erred this way everytime I looked at the images or watched the video).

And Microsoft can point to usage data all they want (which they do), but it shouldn't be used to dictate design. It should be used to support the gut instincts that make design human. And that's not to say there aren't some good ideas at play here. There are. They just need to be a bit more elegant. [MSDN]

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A lot of computer users I know don't even know what Explorer is. They think it is "The Internet" (Internet Explorer != Explorer).

Explorer is mostly for power users already. Most power users know the keyboard shortcuts. IF a keyboard isn't attached (e.g. a touchscreen) or the user wants the ribbon for some reason, THEN display the kitchen sink. Otherwise, hide it by default to keep the interface clean.

What I wish Microsoft would fix is the inconsistent way items are displayed in folders. Let me permanently set icons to display a specific way, select what I want displayed in the left column, and then don't EVER switch it around. I hate it when I enter some folder and all of a sudden I either get ginormous icons or the annoying list view. It doesn't happen everywhere - just a random folder here or there. If I set how I want it to appear, leave the folder, and immediately return, it goes back to what it was before. This problem has plagued Windows since XP's "bags".

I also want to be able to play video games without having to close Explorer windows because the video game decides to resize my desktop resolution to something smaller and Windows decides to unnecessarily resize all my open windows.

Let me paraphrase the above two paragraphs: Fix Explorer and I'll buy Windows 8. Profit! Don't fix the above and I'll stick with Windows 7.