OK, I admit it. I never learn.
When I published my original Why Doesn't Windows 8 Just Look Like THIS? post, I wasn’t expecting the explosion of feedback I’d receive. I was especially not expecting to discover that the Windows 8 team had taken this post quite a bit more seriously than expected, and their response to this little bit of rhetorical silliness can be found in my article, Windows 8 Consumer Preview: Why Metro And The Desktop Don't Mix.
Microsoft’s central argument against my original design—they actually had several reasons—was that Metro-style apps and the desktop needed to be kept separate in order to retain Metro’s built-in security functionality. And in that design, I had Metro-styled tiles on the desktop and was asking about opening Metro apps right on the desktop.
Well, I have the solution. And it works just like Metro apps already work, while still providing access to useful live tiles from the desktop. Best of all, it uses standard Windows 8 screen sharing features. And it looks like this:
In this scheme, you’re able to use the Start screen in Snap mode, just as you can with any Metro-style app. The difference is that you’d need a Start screen settings interface where you’d determine which tiles appear when in this mode. This would let you run the Windows desktop and its applications, or any Metro-style app, while keeping the live tiles onscreen and visible. So when an email came in or whatever, you could tap on that tile and it would launch the appropriate app in the large area on the right. (You want desktop to be one of the tiles, of course.)
Here's an example of this new UI with a Metro-style app:
When I provided my previous mockup, it was almost tongue in cheek. But I really think this one could work. I’m dying to find out why it’s never going to happen.