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Windows 10 Start menu receives IDSA Digital Design Award

It seems that users clamoring for the return of the Start menu weren't the only one's delighted by its appearance in Windows 10. The new Start menu has received the Digital Design Award from IDSA, receiving praise for its combination of new and old. From IDSA:

"Since its inception more than 20 years ago, the Windows Start menu has been the anchor point for launching apps and getting users to the content they care about. With Windows 8 and Windows Phone 7, Microsoft continued the evolution of the Start screen by adding live tiles which surface relevant and personal information to the user from apps and services. With the Windows 10 Start design, the experience of launching and switching apps is unified across the familiar and learned legacy of the Start menu on desktop PCs—and the modern capabilities of the Start screen on phones and tablets. The design allows users to leverage what they know from one device and apply that knowledge to using a different device in a contextually appropriate manner."

IDSA hits the nail on the head with its description. While the Windows 8 and 8.1 Start screen was maligned by many users, there's no doubt that Microsoft's addition of Live Tiles was an important step forward. With the Start menu's return to form in Windows 10, the tech giant took the best of both worlds to create an interesting hybrid of the classic Start menu and Start screen.

Source: IDSA; Via: Joe Belfiore (Twitter)

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to

  • What about some cool innovative start screen design for Windows 10 Mobile?
  • Maybe function, but as far as design MS needs to keep mobile very similar to desktop... Because, for the first time in years the average consumer is praising, and recognizing a modern MS OS with W10...
    Seems like MS has practically changed it's image overnight, and is cool again.. At least that's what I see through very open eyes.... So, this start menu design can only help WM's presence on store shelves..... W10 has to be the center of everything from this point on.
  • But, microsoft left windows 10 Mobile with awkward transparent or same colour tiles which is not consistent with desktop; it would be better if Windows 10 Mobile on phones have horizontal scrolling in the start screen. And landscape mode in all apps too
  • I don't see how it's not consistent with desktop.. You can do the same setup with desktop, and vise versa... But, as far as horizontal scrolling,, in portrait mode that would be a disaster... But, I agree,, horizontal scrolling in landscape mode would be awesome... And, we're missing some swipe to the right action... What a waste of functionality.. They could give us greatly needed media controls in the left pane,, besides nothing.
  • Maybe they're saving swipe to the right for something cool. Something like a curvy screen where a user can swipe to right for advance start screen options like on desktop
  • Windows 10 is going to change people too......wait, what?
  • Your comment made me lol
  • In my opinion, I would like Cortana to be there.  
  • Something similar to 'tablet mode' so that also phones will be useless without mouse/pen.
  • That would be awesome
  • I want it to have sections just like in Windows 10
  • (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
  • Suddenly design award!
  • Well, MS has always got awarded for Modern (Metro) design... It's the average consumer who is unaccepting to change.
    Damn, feel as though I'm going to get sued myself for saying the (M) word.
  • Microsoft?
  • Metro.
  • The average consumer doesn't have to accept change when it's a change for the worst. That's what happened with Windows 8 ;)
  • Exactly. I don't know why it's so hard for everyone to understand that people use their computers differently. Home users vs Business users, tablet vs desktop, touch-screen vs mouse, etc. W8.0 catered to home, tablet, touch-screen users only and left everyone else with a far less efficient system. Hiding options in the charms bar and having to waggle your mouse to reveal things was a foolish mistake. 8.1 corrected a lot of those mistakes, and W10 allows desktop & tablet users to choose the interface they prefer. Having a screen full of live-tiles was always silly when you only want 5-10 at most, with the rest as simple app-launch icons. The start screen was really just a replacement for the desktop wall-of-icons that everyone seemed to have before Windows 7. People don't want to see an overwhelming wall of information - it's more efficient to provide highly organised information to find related things more efficiently.
  • Lol!!!! I forgot all about the charms bar... Wow!
  • I actually miss the charms bar to be honest.  It's not terrible that it's not there but I see myself reaching for it a few times so far.....ah well
  • Like it or not Windows 8 was a huge stepping stone to what we love today, Windows 10 #bestofbothworlds. Yh they were flaws but without that windows 10 might have been less special or a little behind what it is now
  • Windows 8 was a huge stepping stone to what we love today
    OS X and iOS? Windows 10 is the nail in the coffin as far as I'm concerned. The start menu is dire, Windows apps feature bare, privacy lacking, and security a joke. I don't want apps on the desktop, I want fully featured, powerful programs. Why do I need a slow-to-open inaccurate weather app when I can visit a website much more quickly? Yet again, Microsoft just doesn't get it.
  • What was bad for you doesn't mean it was bad in actuality. Windows 8 was an OS ahead of its time. The average consumer was not ready for using his desktop or laptop with a touch oriented OS. Moreover the computer hardware industry was still adapting to Windows 8. It is only in the last 1 maybe 2 years that we are seeing an influx of devices really well adapted for a touch based Windows OS.
    I also feel Microsoft tried changing too much too soon between Windows 7 and 8.
  • It's the average consumer who is unaccepting to change.
    You are damn RIGHT. I set my Start Screen to Full. I hope in future updates we have an option to still have Win 8.1 start screen on our Win 10.
  • I do have to admit that the current blend in W10 is less cumbersome, and more intuitive... I think MS did good providing the best of both worlds here....
  • Live Tiles is the great innovation for me and I hope they intend on the 3D version yet even a virtual 3D desktop just to shake things up a bit.
  • An award you say?
  • If anyone knows...
    Just updated to windows 10 from my ready upgrade and my home screen just flickers. I cant do anything on my home screen. Can't click anything. It's a dell laptop.
  • A similar question on the MS forums:    
  • Do you have a video card? If so i recomend uninstall the drivers and  go to the website and download the drivers and install.  
  • Not sure. If we do, it's nothing special. It's my wife's laptop. Guess I need to boot in safe mode and try that way. Can't do anything on the home screen.
  • Hard Reset. (cum)(HR)
  • My brother had the same problem, he went to task master, and saw that the icloud sync stuff kept loading over and over again, when he stopped the process and disabled it from starting again on start up, it stopped....
  • I thought the Start menu was one of the areas of W10 that still needed refinement. Then I looked at Stardock's Start10. It reminded me of a couple of things. First that W7's great innovation was not the start menu, but the taskbar, which remains unmatched on any other OS and yet is rarely praised. Fact is that if you set up your taskbar properly you'll rarely need to use the start menu, and that's as true of W10 as anything before it. Second is that when you do need to use the start menu, the W10 version works very well, and as long as you take the time to set up the live tiles properly (approx 2 minutes) it's better than W7 and better than Start10 too.  
  • Agree about the Taskbar in particular. Every application I use regularly is pinned to it. And I put mine at the top of the screen, where all other menus are. It's more intuitive to me.
  • Wait. Stardock made Start10?! SOMEBODY STOP THEM.
  • Too bad tablet mode still sucks.
  • Tablet mode is slightly better today after the update.
  • How?
  • I'm curious, how so? Today was only bug fixes, did they add new features?
  • Can you explain why it’s better now? I’m not putting Windows 10 on my tablet until Windows 8.1 tablet functionally returns.
  • Good luck with that lol
  • How?
  • I'll say its better than 8.1,, just my opinion.
  • Totally agree, they really screwed up tablet mode.
    A pointless taskbar and tiny buttons you need a mouse or stylus to navigate properly.
    At least give us the option to hide the taskbar in tablet mode. After all it's possible on desktop (where the taskbar ironically is useful).
  • Apple will soon invent start screen and live tiles and gestures etc. etc. Then it will come back.
  • It's better because you have the ability of snapping apps, just as you can with Windows 8.1. Only Microsoft makes it 10x easier by giving suggestions when you snap an app, rather than the swipe from the left the app you want. And you can snap up to four apps at once...not just two or three. AND you can resize with your finger to make them appear the far left or right! Those of you who think Win10 is a step backward for tablets really need to take a second look. I played with a Yoga in the Microsoft store and was amazed at how easy and intuitive it is to use with a touch screen.
  • This was my biggest complaint on 8.1: I constantly had to swipe apps and across the screen what I wanted, lining my screen with fingerprints. Plus, snapping apps keeps the desktop AT FULL SCREEN instead of stretching the desktop smaller and smaller. As for the Start Menu? Pin apps to it. And use Cortana for searching for an app using Windows Key + S. Again...Win10 is 10x more intuitive than 8.1. (Yes, pun intended.)
  • Error. Pun not found. :P
  • Mmm, IDSA did not ask Brad Wardell for his opinion on the Windows 10 start menu.
  • Nobody has ever asked Brad Wardell for his opinion on anything, except for "journalists" who work for NeoWin.
  • You have got to be kidding me. As much as I want Microsoft to succeed, this irrational media lovefest for Windows 10 is really irritating. It's every bit as irritating (perhaps more) than the irrational hate-fest they visited on Windows 8.
  • Why so upset?
  • Probably because the windows 10 circle jerk is strong right now. It rivals that of the Apple circle jerk.
  • Speaking of witch, your Win10 hating circle is missing you.
  • As opposed to the irrational media lovefests for anything Apple has done in the last decade? It's about time the media stopped bashing Microsoft for the sake of click-baiting and actually showed some semblance of reason.
  • You need to read more. There are plenty media sites out there that are trying very hard to make Win10 fail, creating one scare tactic after another to scare people away. The one I was reading today and was on the list of news stories from Cortana - Tonight Win10 is going to force you to take an update, and because it will take this update it will restart your computer. And since it will restart your computer you better save all your work or else you will lose it all. Yep, Microsoft hates you and wants you to lose your data so you should consider going back to Win7 or even Win8, even better, switch to another OS.
  • I 100% understand your frustration. Every one of them is a sheep on the latest trends. Extremely annoying.
  • Everyone has an opinion. Get over it.
  • if everyone had an opinion, this issue wouldnt exist, many people have other peoples opinions.
  • Can you prove it?
  • Nothing irrational about it at all. 8.0 sucked for desktop users and people with multiple-screens
  • :)
  • That's fantastic *****
  • what's that *****?
  • Bacon. Fantastic bacon.
  • An award for what? Wrecking Windows Tablets?
  • Awkwardly jamming tiles into the start menu does deserve some kind of award.
  • Lot of people thought that Microsoft will not be able to unify the Windows 7 & 8 experience. But they pulled it off.
  • They didn't unify crap. They gave us a half-assed tablet mode and an awkward to use app list.
  • awkward.... how? All I see is a less fugly version of the exact same apps list in windows 7...
  • Personally I think if they just allowed live tiles on the Desktop, got rid of the start screen menu altogether and made the start button open a full sized app list then it would have been the perfect OS.
    The best part of windows 10 is that all apps (whether its desktop app or store apps) act the same; can be windowed and is able to adapt to the size you want it.
    The other positive about Windows 10 is that the start/task bar is always visible as default so users don't get confused when it disappears.
  • Unpin them if you don't need them on your device.  The rest of the start menu will still work without live tiles.  It's an option for touch/hybrid devices or for people like me that like customized groups of tiles better than piles of nested folders full of useless shortcuts created by installers.
  • Tablet mode is not bad in Windows 10 if we take a little time to set it up properly.
  • Are you sure? It looks and runs pretty awful to me. Why should there be three wasted gaps on my start screen? Why is my tablet running hotter and the battery life is bad? Why I don't have gestures on my browser? Why I don't have my favorite Windows 8 gestures in tablet mode?
  • The removal of gestures is a train wreck not just for tablets but for touch screen PC's that they crammed down our throat also.
  • What gestures? Im asking because I never used Windows 8 as a tablet, but already used Windows 10 tablet mode.
  • Watch this
  • What is your favorites? Couldn't see such difference except that swipe to open the next app, which is odd if I'm using a lot of apps at the same time, makes more sense now that I get task view and I can go straight to an app.
  • There's another gesture in W8 task switching that allows you to go straight to the app also, difference is that in W8 it can be accomplished with less touch points and hand movement.
  • Which gesture is that? With two taps I can open any app from Task View (swipe left and tap an app, two steps).
  • As you say it is just as easy. Folk here want the left swipe, +hold (don't swipe fully) gesture which shows the list on the left side of the screen as a single column list. They consider that one step (which is BS) the new win 10 method is useful a lot more because of legacy desktop apps.   people will also whine about the charms bar which i admit I miss but it is not the end of the world.   btw.. am an insider and am still running 8.1 on my tablet (haven't had time to back up files to upgrade).
  • In W8 swipe out and back gives a list of apps in icon view down the left side of the screen, which you can scroll, then tap to select. Granted it doesn't work for desktop applications since desktop as a whole is an app in W8 but it can be done with your thumb while holding your tablet and doesn't require you to move your hand around as it does in W10.
  • i really miss windows 8.1
  • Aww mee too :'( .. All good things come to an end (like placeholders)...
    Anyways my favourite gestures from Windows 8.1 was definitely the left swipe to switch an app, not just from my tablet but used this alot on my trackpad.
  • They'll be back
  • Agree, w10 tablet mode is better than 8.1 tab mode. I found it easy to use
  • Yes, yes, yes.. The design is perfect.. MS is seriously onto something here.....
    And, that'll just help mobile on store shelves.
  • I really like the start menu, I just wish the calendar live tile worked, I don't know what the problem could be
  • Mine works... You're going to have to delete, then reinstall, and reconfigure.. Sorry.
  • I was going to consider the suggestion, until I saw who was the answer from
  • mine worked too, even without uninstalling. just try to not caring who's the answer from, dude, as long as they're helping, you're set.
  • He was trolling, not trying to help
  • The shift key doesn't wake up windows lock screen. I have to press the enter key a few time to enter the password. I wan't my Windows 8.1 back... and onedrive placeholders back too
  • This is what happens when you buy a $199.00 machine....
  • It's great they got the award. It's good to see Microsoft being recognized, but I think too much is being made of start menu. They should have gotten some credit for what they have been trying to do with the OS
  • Windows 8.1 was such a monumental upgrade over Windows 7 and yet, everyone criticized the Start Menu (without even 1st hand experience) and appreciated nothing.
  • Here are some design ideas, just a thought. In Zune HD, a swipe from the left brought the lists up. In Windows 10 a swipe brings the Task View. Imagine this phone. Swipe brings the task view. Long press invokes the Windows start menu. This includes apps. Then bring the action Center to the right.... Gee. Sounds like Windows 10.
  • I stop reading every time someone says "Zune".
  • LOL
  • Have you ever used a Zune, and in this particular case the Zune HD?
  • Lol, Start10 is still better with their modern menu in terms of design; live tiles would be best used if they could be pinned to desktop as gadgets in Windows 7 used to be.
  • Disagree with that. Yours is just an opinion, just like what I'm thinking about this Start Menu. I think that this is much better than Win7 or even Start10. Why are you still wanting the same layout? That's reminding me of Mac OS X which is still the same design from the past, today, and even maybe the future.
  • oh.. ok.. pin them to the thing that is covered up 99% of the time requiring you to minimise everything vs pressing a single button. yea desktop is a much smarter idea.
  • This is also why they have a show desktop hot spot on the taskbar and a keyboard hot key command Win+D. It really isn't much different in terms of quick access, but I can see how noisy it would be to have the tiles BEHIND open apps on your desktop.
  • It may be covered for you; I have my desktop set up in a way that on one side I always see a row of gadgets in Windows 7, no matter what windows I open. If you have at least 17" or bigger screen I find it useless to have it all taken up by an open window e.g. MS Word or a browser that then has blank borders on a wide screen display anyway; if you resize and position it to see updating gadgets on on side you always have a view of key info without pressing any buttons and without having to go into a start menu at all.
  • Common writing rule: Unless you're speaking to a narrow audience, never use acronyms without first providing their expanded name.
  • Correct. Can probably guess what it is but it's never been expanded upon in the article.
  • WTF?!?! (Whatever are you talking about, dear chap?) /S
  • I believe IDSA stands for I Designed Something Awful.
  • Close, actually. Industrial Designers Society of America
  • It's weird to have used and worked with all versions of windows. From Win 3 to win 10. Its been a pleasure
  • Nice :)
  • Same here. I was probably 7 or 8 when I used Windows 3. Actually, I can remember playing Pac Man & a some skiing game on DOS when I was even younger. Crazy to think how far technology has come since then. From using floppy disks to install games on a desktop to downloading them over the air to your phone. Imagine where we'll be in another 25 yrs
  • I remember Carmen San Diego.
  • I wasn't even born when win 3 was released
  • I just touched Windows 95 when I was 4, not even the Windows 3. Guess what I do? Messing up the computer.
  • I learned BASIC programming language in classes at Radio Shack. I couldn't Wait for the next months Computing magazine to come out so I could go to the back and start typing the programs in to my TRS-80 Model III. It had 16k or Ram and no way to back up what I just typed in. Those were the days.
  • I had a Pioneer who went out of business. I bought my first computer from QVC which came with 8k of ram the hard drive I simply don't remember from back in 1995. Yet, it was a fun computer and back then dial up was the main to the internet with those modems.
  • And I used a floppy to copy Dave 2 from my uncles PC to mine... My 386 was not even equipped with HDD... Was working on a bootable MS-DOS floppy :P
    A:/Dave 2/Dave.exe ohhh :P
  • Haha, sudden award. Nice one, microsoft.
  • Take that StarDock
  • My thoughts exactly. That cocky SOB CEO. Hehe.
  • Seriously, I don't think why they made Start10 while Windows 10's Start menu is already awesome.
  • I'll be interested when they design something that wins usability awards instead.
  • Please someone give them an award for the weather app, It's simply delightfull !
  • Someone should show this to the CEO of Stardock.
  • I'd like to pin live tiles on my desktop, just like widgets. I wonder if they considered that.
  • Submit it in the Windows feedback app. It's a nice idea, however slightly useless since the desktop is covered most of the time, whereas you can just do one click and see the live tiles from the menu
  • This idea would he nice for multiple monitors. One like win10 and one setup like win8.1
  • And just one click can get u to desktop.
  • And one to show start menu/screen.
  • They deserve it they made an excellent start menu for every device from desktop to 2in1 to tablets
  • Windows 10 is certainly an elegant OS.
  • This. Actually, they just need to iron out some bugs to make this already awesome Windows 10 to be more awesome. It still has some delays on showing the Action Center (for the first time after booting up) on my laptop, though.
  • Stardoc 10 , now say......
  • Well, it's nice, but an award? I don't know. Congrats anyways.
  • Windows 10 in tablet mode is just terrible, take my advice and stick to 8.1 if you have tablet.
  • lies, win 8 is awful for tablets if your a pro user
  • Agree, win8 is awful on tablet. The whole idea of the desktop in the background popping up for time to time really made it not fell like a tablet but a miss try of making a tablet OS. Win10 fixes this by "newer" showing the desktop. Everything is in fullscreen mode. Still some minor issue that need fixing.
  • There are so many user options for W10 it simply is not terrible. With the addition of task view, swipe app down then right or left, notifications/actions etc, it is awesome once you find the correct combination.
  • Actually windows 8 wad the change Microsoft's effort. But as windows is used for heavily hu consumers snd enterprise users then familiarity matters a lot. That's ugly truth.
  • Up next. They should sponsor a Bill Gates movie, since a movie(again) for Jobs is in the works with Magneto starring...
  • Ah yes. The crying minority.
  • Useless. Even if it is so ugly, great sales would regards it as success. Even if it is very beautiful, it would be a failure with no sales. This is the truth.
  • I'll not be satisfied until either Microsoft themselves ( preferred ) or a third Party Developer enable the change of looks of the Tiles like what was possible during Windows 8.1 with the help of OblyTile. Right now I'm terribly frustrated about what my Desktop(s) looks like.
    Only the most basic Tiles, all the same color, no Tiles for Websites, no Tiles for Games, etc... I'm even considering the change back to Windows 8.1 just because of this.
  • I have W10 on my SP3 and I have live tiles for websites and games. So it does work!
  • That's cool because the UI really improve what Windows 8 lag (like the desktop and tablet UI difference, etc). But the real winner here for me is Windows 8 because it's really revolutionary in the Windows UI history, but it lacks all user easy experience that are fixed in the new Windows
  • NSA Award incoming. Thanks Nandela!
  • well, well, that's something anti-Microsoft, if you see the relating articles below.
  • Well there is some truth to it. Not sure if it was mentioned but even the upgrade from 8.1. forces one, again, to opt out of slurp all. No wonder GMAIL-man creator was fired. MS is the new Google. Apparently Apple is the only one who cares about privacy nowadays. Private people might not care but for corporations this is a show stopper.
  • Now if WindowsCentral would update their Windows app to have Windows 10 design philosophy. I use it daily and I must say it's not looking so great windowed. A lot of improvements could be made. Any update on that?
  • You get the beeest of both worlds
    Chillin out, take it slow
    Then you rock at the show (8) rofl
  • It's kind of a cryptic article, Dan, without knowing what the IDSA is, and exactly how prestigious this award really is.
  • It's Industrial Design Society of America.
  • Windows 10's Desktop start menu is OK Microsoft deservres a reward for it. However I do not like the Windows 10Desktop PC "TABLET MODE" at all for the following reasons 1=there is no "DESK TOP TILE" mouse and keyboard users can use to get back to the desktop where mouse and keyboard users do their work. 2= I like the Windows 8.1 full apps screen more than a thin left side scrolling screen. 3= The background of the Tablet mode is has faded look alike desktop back ground it should be like Windows 8.1's transition screen where the tiles seem to lly appear on the the desktop as giant icons. Those Desktop PC owners who used Windows 8/8.1 are really freaked out that there is no Desktop tile in tablet Mode. Microsoft was wrong to remove that tile because most PC owners use a Desktop PC or laptop Computer which is not a tablet where Full screen apps are used. Microsoft please  PUT it back on the tablet mode screen in Windows 10 to make the MAJORITY of Windows 10 PC mouse and Keyboard users happy.