Microsoft’s ex-Director of User Experiences is shocked by the Start menu

One of the heavily updated things in Windows 11 is the Start menu. It is really a drastic change from what Windows 10 has. It changes how and where the pinned apps reside, displays a new "Recent" section with files, and even exposes some of your online documents. There are users who don't like these changes. Even former Microsoft director of User Experience Jensen Harris is one of them.


On his twitter, his expressed frustration against the changes the menu has received. He doesn't like the idea of the centered Start menu button, and isn't happy with the search behavior (Note: You can disable the centered taskbar in Settings). The new location of the Start menu makes the user to retrain his muscle memory, and doesn't actually allow to click it quickly.

The way the search works really annoyed Mr. Harris. After he entered "chrome" in the search box, the Start menu displayed him an ad for the Bing wallpaper app, and a huge promotional banner for the Edge browser.

Obviously, both things aren't relevant to the Chrome browser. According to Mr. Harris, the banner ad with the wallpaper app looked like a virus, and reminded of banners of the Web 1.0 era.

He also criticized the poor design of those ads. Some of the corners are rounded, some are square, and some of the corners have a broken shape. After holding his position at Microsoft for 16 years, he is unhappy to see such attitude to details.

Design matters. Details matter. Especially in UI as iconic as the Windows Start menu. I remember the team creating a special ligature in the Segoe UI font (used in Windows) to make "S" and "t" align beautifully for the word "Start". That's how important Start was to Microsoft.

Finally, the design and alignment of other controls that actually represent the relevant info has similar design issues. The "Open results in browser" option prevents you to see the two other buttons as it simply covers them.

Obviously, the company is constantly looking for new solutions in user interface design. however, in the case of Windows 11, these decisions look rather controversial. Therefore, the reaction of Mr. Harris is quite understandable, and many users share his point of view.


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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

2 thoughts on “Microsoft’s ex-Director of User Experiences is shocked by the Start menu”

  1. Start and Taskbar are the worst parts of Windows 11. I’m shocked that we are stuck with a 6×3 grid (6×4/6×2 in 22H2) that we cannot freely resize, unlike in Windows 10. Plenty of other issues that I’m too lazy to list. Inability to disable combining of taskbar icons is another big one for me.

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