Fixing Windows 8
I just saw this piece by Jay Machalani about restructuring the UI/UX of Windows 8. It's a brilliant piece of work!
He did significant research to inform his opinions and came up with 5 key design rules to guide his work which are really at the heart of the issues and confusion that users are currently facing.
In addition I think Jay has a great handle on the key issue. Many people have framed it as the loss of the start menu but the real issue is that Microsoft made Metro the primary interface and the traditional desktop was pushed down as a second class citizen and made more difficult to access.
Metro is treated like it’s the core of Windows; that everything is attached to and passes through it. The Desktop in Windows 7 gave you a single level where you could access all your files, apps and settings, but since Metro can’t really replace your Desktop yet, because Microsoft didn’t work out a way to use the Classic apps in it, you’re now stuck with two levels to access everything in your computer. The whole Desktop including your Classic apps is now considered an app inside of Metro; that is messed up!
His suggestion is to make the tradional desktp and metro peers. This led him to reimagine the start menu in a really clever way. Definitely worth a read - I hope the Microsoft UI/UX team is looking very closely at this.