UX of Windows 10 start menu design receives award
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Published on August 6, 2015
Because American Graphics Institute offers UX classes and workshops, the staff closely follows awards relating to usability and design of applications, websites, and even operating systems. Despite the final version of Windows 10 being released to the public only weeks ago, it received a design award from the Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA). More precisely, the recently returned start menu received the design award.
The idea that returning the start menu to the Windows user experience is worthy of a design award may sound like a far-fetched story more worthy of a mock-news site such as the Onion. Yet the IDSA has issued a Digital Design 2015 award to the Microsoft Start Experience.
The Industrial Design Society indicated that they considered the Start menu for the award because it has successfully evolved, while maintaining its core use of providing a launching point for accessing important content. The start menu is used for surfacing relevant and personal information to users from apps and services. Another consideration in providing the providing the award to the start menu user experience is the consistency that it brings across devices, as Windows 10 works on desktop and mobile devices. Because it allows users to leverage their historical understanding of the start menu yet also includes new information provided from apps and content that are specific to a user, the society found the Start menu UX to be worthy of an award. Four designers are specifically noted in the award: Jeremy Bowen, Callil Capuozzo, Jaclyn Knapp, and Holger Kuehnle.
It is debatable whether the Start menu qualifies as industrial design or should be categorized under user experience design or user interface design. The discipline of industrial design is generally focused on the development of products and systems, making the design of a computer running Windows a more likely candidate for an award than a component of the operating system itself. Yet the fact that industrial design society sees the Start menu as industrial design is an indication of the overlap between the disciplines of UX, UI, and industrial design.
About the author
Jennifer Smith is a user experience designer, Photoshop expert, educator and author based in Boston. She is the author of more than 20 books on design tools and processes, including Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies, Adobe Creative Cloud Digital Classroom, and Photoshop Digital Classroom. She has been awarded a Microsoft MVP three times for her work with user experience design in creating apps for touch, desktop, and mobile devices.
Jennifer delivers UX training and UX consulting for large Fortune 100 companies, small start-ups, and independent software vendors. She has been hired by Adobe and Microsoft to deliver training workshops to their staff, and has traveled to Asia, Europe, India, the Middle East, and across the U.S. to deliver courses and assist on UX design projects. She has extensive knowledge of modern Windows UX Design, having worked closely with the Windows team to create educational material and deliver UX workshops to key partners globally on behalf of Microsoft. Jennifer works with a wide range of prototyping tools including Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator, Blend for Visual Studio, and Balsamiq.