Former top Microsoft executive criticized the Start menu and Search in Windows 11 » Community

Former top Microsoft executive criticized the Start menu and Search in Windows 11

Jensen Harris, former department head on the Windows User Experience team, criticized Start menu and search in Windows 11. According to him, the interface of these components sometimes looks like the system is “infected with a virus.” He also pointed out other problems with the user interface. We bring to your attention the translation of the tweet thread and accompanying screenshots:

  1. “The Start Menu is Microsoft’s flagship user interface. It should represent the very best user interface design that the company is capable of. Today I searched for “chrome” in Windows and was shocked by what I saw.”
  2. “It’s very confusing. The left side looks like it was created by a designer. We could argue about some design decisions, but that’s not the point here. The right side looks like the toolbars of my Internet Explorer in 2008.”

  3. “Let’s start at the top. What happened to the Geocities Web 1.0 era banner ad for the “Bing Wallpaper app”? To be honest, it looks like I caught a virus. The text is misaligned and sits on top of a Windows Vista background. But then things get even weirder.”
  4. “Let’s zoom in and look at the corners of this banner ad. The top left is rounded ✅. The right side has sharp corners ❌. And, it seems, one of the corners was gnawed by a squirrel.
  5. “But the most important question is: why is there an advertising banner in the Start menu? Is the amount of money this wallpaper app makes worth degrading the experience of using this very user-friendly user interface? It undermines confidence – I did not even look for “wallpaper”. This brings me to my next thought. A great user interface should help people complete tasks with minimal hassle. But the next section is clearly designed to make me uncomfortable.”
  6. “At the bottom is a very confusing and complex design toolbar. It has four buttons, but the salmon-colored patch that says “Open results in browser” almost completely covers the middle two buttons, making it hard for me to even see what they’re for. This “Open results in browser” button is not only misplaced. It’s also narrower than the adjacent buttons, uses a smaller font size, and hits the “Download” button but doesn’t hit the “Web Store” button. But the button “Web Store” is cut off on the right side.
  7. “Now let’s look at the corners of this bottom panel? The top corners are rounded. ✅ The lower left corner is rounded, but the top “slab” is starting to clumsily merge with the surface below it. 🤔 What about the lower right corner? You guessed. Inextricably square. 🤣”
  8. “Design matters. Details matter. Especially in a user interface as iconic as the Windows Start menu. I remember how our team created a special ligature in the Segoe UI font (used in Windows) so that the letters “S” and “t” fit together nicely in the word “Start”. That’s how important Start was for Microsoft.”
  9. “Microsoft has a lot of brilliant designers who are genuinely dedicated to their work – I have worked with many of them and many still work there! It all comes down to the question of what you prioritize. The user interface must be designed with the same care that you design your technology investment.”
  10. “By the way, before you ask, I think moving the start button to the center of the taskbar was a bad idea. The corner placement has not only been ingrained in muscle memory for decades, but also made perfect use of Fitts’ law, making the button perfect for aiming. It has become worse for both mouse and touch input.”
  11. What is Fitts’ law? In case you’re wondering, I made a video about this last year (including why the old Start button layout was so ingenious).”


I am Sanjit Gupta. I have completed my BMS then MMS both in marketing. I even did a diploma in computer software and Digital Marketing.

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