Windows 10 is undoubtedly “the best Windows yet” and has come a long way since Windows 1.0 was released in 1985. Yet despite its 6 years out in the market, Windows 10 in some ways still fails to deliver the clean computing experience that Mac OS seems to nail down.
This article isn’t an Apple circle jerk as Mac OS definitely has a lot of its own flaws, but rather an analysis of the current Windows user experience and a list of features that would help improve it for both current and future users. Here are the 5 features & changes Microsoft needs to incorporate into Windows 10 for immediate improvement.
- Keep It Simple, Stupid
- Apps Apps Apps
- Let Go Of Legacy Applications
- Complete The Ongoing Visual Overhaul
- Embrace Google And Apple Software
1. Keep It Simple, Stupid
While Windows 10 looks sleek and functions rather efficiently, there are numerous occasions where additional effort on the user’s part is required to accomplish the simplest of tasks.
For example if the user wants to delete an application in Mac OS, they simply click Move to Trash and it’s gone. On Windows, deleting an icon or folder doesn’t prompt anything; rather the user must access the Uninstall or Change Program menu which is a tiny button under the My Computer window, select the appropriate application, and click uninstall.
On a personal note, I honestly cannot tell you how many times I have accidentally deleted the folder that held some old Application, resulting in Windows simply refusing to uninstall said Application and keeping it in the menu for all eternity.
Another example is taking screenshots. If the user wants to take a screenshot in Mac OS, they utilize one of two keyboard commands to either click+drag, or grab the entire screen. On Windows, users either click the keyboard button (which by default only captures the full screen), or go through the process of opening up the snipping tool.
The Applications that currently exist in Windows 10 leave a lot to be desired as well. The mail App is clunky and constantly signs users out, while the Photos app does not connect to either Google Photos or iCloud Photo accounts, meaning the only photos you can view are those downloaded on your physical PC.
The Mac is a simple tool with no bells and whistles. And why should it be complicated? Why does a computer need to have so many extra steps to complete a simple task such as deleting an application, viewing your photos, or taking a screenshot?
Windows 10 needs to be rebuilt from the ground up, with some serious thought given to how all these tasks are completed. Make these steps intuitive, and reduce the number of hoops one has to jump through to complete mundane, typical computing tasks.
2. Apps Apps Apps
Let’s not sugarcoat anything here, the Windows Store is bordering on being completely useless.
After 6 years, Windows 10 has a rather weak collection of Apps in its store that is missing some notable entries such as Google Photos, major streaming services (HBO, Disney+), Zoom, Maps, etc. While most of these can be accessed through a browser, standalone Apps tailors a simplified user experience and often performs the task far more efficiently.
To ensure this, third-party adoption of Microsoft’s design code and modern frameworks must become a primary focus for Microsoft moving forward. Push developers to use the new WinUI that actually looks quite good, instead of traditional ‘winforms’ look. Redesign the Windows Store to make it actually usable, and encourage/reward developers who put thought and effort into aesthetically pleasing, effective, and user-friendly Applications.
3. Let Go Of Legacy Applications
Microsoft has also tried to have their cake and eat it too by creating a fast, modern OS while also promoting backward compatibility to retain corporate clients.
While a smart financial move, this backward compatibility unfortunately limits how the OS can evolve moving forward. If the rebuild of Windows was to happen from the ground up (as per Point 1 above), then Microsoft must make peace with the fact that most corporate clients will either need to upgrade to newer software or that they’ll simply not upgrade to Windows 10 altogether (which many companies are already doing anyway).
Let go of the past Microsoft, and reimagine what your OS can look like by not being afraid to axe some backwards compatibility.
4. Complete The Ongoing Visual Overhaul
Using Windows 10 often feels like a trip down memory lane. The OS on the surface looks fantastic, however some moderate-to-advanced areas of Windows ecosystem still look like they’re coming straight from Windows 2000 or Vista. While these do function as intended, they are far from being user friendly or an example of good modern UI design.
Microsoft must re-design all the legacy portions of the OS to create a consistent, modern look while retaining the level of control and efficiency.
This also touches on the first point of simplicity. Instead of various menus such as Control Panel and Device Manager existing outside of the Settings menu, simplify the entire experience and include all computer Settings under a single menu.
On the topic of the overhaul, someone at Microsoft must be charged with replacing all system sounds with something that doesn’t sound like it came from 2000. While the visual aspect of the OS is extremely important to the user experience, the quality of its audio effects is equally as important.
5. Embrace Google And Apple Software
Users need to seamlessly transition from their phone, tablet, and laptop and have easy access to their files, photos, and other operations. Unfortunately this is impossible with Windows, since Microsoft has no real alternative to Apple Photos or Maps. Ever tried editing a photo in OneDrive? How about actually using Bing Maps’ Streetside — I’ll spare you the time, it doesn’t work (even in the Greater Toronto Area which is home to 6 million people).
Microsoft has lost the race against Apple and Google services, and that may not be a bad thing. Instead of investing millions into a money pit that will never bear fruit, work on integrating Apple and Google services into Windows OS. Allow a user to easily sync files on Google Drive, or view photos on a Google Photo App, to provide users with an easy, seamless transition between devices. Since even iPhone users heavily rely on Google software, integration of Google services into the Windows OS will be seen as an enormous benefit to all users.
Whether you’re a Windows veteran or have only used it for work, you cannot deny that the OS still leaves a lot to be desired. I’ll be first to admit that some items listed above, such as #5, will remain on our wishlists forever.
However, the day will come when Microsoft will need to come back to the drawing board and release a Windows OS that not only looks like it belongs in the 21st century, but performs like it as well. An OS that simplifies its operations without sacrificing its efficiency, an OS with a vast library of Applications people actually want on their PC, and an OS that is fully visually committed to Microsoft’s modern Windows aesthetic.