Microsoft shows off new Windows 10 Start menu — and it sure is pretty

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Microsoft staff members discussed Live Tiles and the Start Menu in a recent episode of the Windows Insider Webcast. During the webcast, they showed off a concept of what the Start Menu could look like if Live Tiles were turned off. The concept uses Microsoft’s new icons and features transparency that helps the icons pop. While the concept has Live Tiles turned off, Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc states that “Live Tiles are not going away, we have not announced anything of the sort.”

This design isn’t intended to be a final product. The people on the stream discuss it as a direction they’re exploring. They state that the concept’s new design helps “visually differentiate the Start menu from something that’s chaotic color to something that’s more uniform.” The design replaces the large colored squares and rectangles of the current Start Menu with transparent blocks with Microsoft’s refreshed icons in the middle of each block.

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The design also shows how Microsoft’s new icons look in a Recent apps list outside of squares. Instead of having logos within squares, each icon stands alone next to its respective program’s name. This helps each icon stand out and makes it easier to scan through visually.

LeBlanc explicitly stated during the webcast that “Those that enjoy their Live Tiles will continue to be able to do so.” If Microsoft went in the direction of this design, it seems like it would focus more on making icons pop when Live Tiles are turned off. It’s worth noting that you can turn Live Tiles off in the current Start Menu.

Recent reports state that Microsoft could move away from Live Tiles in the future, but LeBlanc’s clarification seems to rebut this. Despite LeBlanc’s statement, it’s likely that as Windows design evolves, and as Microsoft tests the waters with Windows 10X, the Live Tile UI may eventually go away.

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