“The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated” – The Windows Start Menu, October 26th, 2012
It has been almost two months since the launch of Windows 8 and despite the rollercoaster of disappointing sales numbers, impressive sales numbers, a former Windows President, a new head of Windows, one thing remains constant – the debate about the absence of the Start menu (and Start button) rages on.
Microsoft has spent over a year justifying their controversial decision in-depth, explaining the Windows 7 Start menu faced “core usability challenges” and claimed “Start menu usage (was) dramatically dropping.” In an interview days ago, the new head of Windows stated it takes about six weeks for users to “start using the new things (i.e. Start screen) more than the things you’re familiar with.”
Ironically, in ”about six weeks”, we saw millions of Windows 8 users beg to differ. In the six weeks following the launch of Windows 8, Pokki itself saw half a million downloads of our Start menu, Stardock sold tens of thousands of copies of Start8, and it took only 30 days for 30 different Start menu replacements to come to market. All of which is early proof of our original hypothesis that people need, want, and use the Start menu more than ever.
Now, why is this little Start menu even such a big deal? For Microsoft, the absence of the Start menu is about encouraging users into the “new world” of touch embodied by the new (formerly known as Metro) interface and Start Screen. For the rest of us, the absence of the Start menu is about finding new ways to ease the successful adoption of Windows 8 on the billions of PCs, with keyboard and mouse.
We are Windows fanboys/girls (yes, they exist) and want to help make sure it succeeds. From the moment the Start button was removed to the moment we witnessed (and captured) mainstream folks off the streets trying Windows 8 without it, we knew it was our job to bring back the Start menu functionality in a way that felt familiar, yet evolved, for today’s expectations and needs.
Fast forward 500,000 downloads and we’ve created this fun infographic below with data that shows people using the Start menu quite a bit (10 times a day, which is more times than they check Facebook or use the restroom in a day!).
Start menu or not? Let the data do the talking.
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