Sorry Microsoft, I have no use for Live Tiles
Microsoft introduced Live Tiles to Windows Phone and brought the feature over to the desktop when it launched the Windows 8 operating systems.
Live Tiles have not changed much in Windows 10, but a couple of new options like new tile sizes were added nevertheless.
Apart from functioning as a link to a an item, a program or app for instance, live tiles may display and update information directly.
Probably the most common examples are tiles that display weather information or news.
Information may use the full height and width of the tile area, and even multiple pages to display information to the user.
No use for Live Tiles
When I state that I have no use for live tiles, I mean specifically on the desktop. I can see them having uses on tablets or mobile phones, but on the desktop, they are nearly useless in their current form.
First, on Windows 10, they are only displayed in the start menu which I started to use less and less ever since Windows 7 came along and introduced taskbar pinning.
When I open the start menu, I have a specific task in mind and don't pay attention to these tiles because of that. Either I start typing a program name or search term right away, or I do something else and Live Tiles are more of a distraction than anything that I want displayed at that point in time.
That's one of the reasons why I have removed all those default tiles the Windows 10 operating system ships with as I have no use for them.
In addition to that, I don't really use apps on the Windows 10 desktop as I have yet to find some that help me do things that desktop programs or web services cannot.
To sum it up:
- The location live tiles are placed in is far from ideal. While you can switch to a Windows 8 start screen like interface to make them display all the time, it makes little sense doing so on desktop systems in my opinion.
- The information provided by these live tiles is something that I don't find useful.
Microsoft announced recently that a few surprises are coming to live tiles and toast notifications on Windows 10, and that it will reveal what is in store during the Build 2016 Developer Conference which is held in San Francisco from March 30 to April 1.
The description of the session on the channel 9 website highlights that "two highly-requested surprises" are coming to Live Tiles.
The Live Tile suggestions that have received the most upvotes in the Windows Feedback application are transparent tiles and interactive tiles.
Microsoft revealed interactive tiles back in 2014 but has not launched the feature yet and it was generally assumed that the company decided against implementing it.
Basically, what they do is add an interactive element to live tiles, for instance an option to expand the view area of a tile to display additional information, or a field that you can use to find information or files directly from the live tile.
Even with these changes, and it is not clear if those are the ones that Microsoft will reveal, it won't really change my view of live tiles on the desktop.
Live tiles could become more attractive to users if Microsoft would untie them from the start menu allowing users to place them on the desktop directly.
This would then be similar to how desktop gadgets worked back in the days when they were still supported by Windows natively.
While that would certainly improve the appeal of live tiles, it would not make me use them.
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