I’m really liking the Windows 8.1 changes that are being previewed at the moment. They’re heading in the refining direction while listening to what users want (mind you not always a good thing, but sometimes you need to let your customers steer where you’re heading).
Below I’ve bolded what I think are important changes.
- Lockscreen is a cloud-powered photo frame. Brings pictures from your PC and phone through SkyDrive.
- New tiles sizes: Large and small.
- Improved all apps screen. Swipe up from the Start screen to get all apps.
- All apps can be sorted by most used, by name, by date installed, or category.
- Press and hold to pin to Start
- Press and hold like Windows Phone to manage apps on your Start screen
- New personalization that can quickly be accessed by from the Settings charm
- New colors for background and accent colors.
- New motion accents for the background. Hard to explain, by attention during the 1:53 mark.
- Desktop backgrounds can now be used on Start.
- New search feature powered by Bing that curates searches from both the web and PC.
- Better multi-tasking
- Up to four Windows 8 apps on one screen each with adjustable sizes for Snap mode
Some of these should have been part of Windows 8 launch such as the tile sizes. Some of the other changes will require habit changes for users like the tile changing. Teaching users 1 way then switching to another is really bad UX and design, it’s something that Apple excels in. They pretty much never burden the users with workflow changes.
The search changes sound amazing, too bad you won’t likely be able to switch the search engine to Google. It’s interface is exactly what should come out of owning an operating system and search engine, a beautiful marriage of the 2!
Watch the video below to see a good preview of the changes.
Of course these are mostly cosmetic so it’ll be good to see what they’re holding back like boot to desktop and better multi screen support and any other general improvements.