So, I updated to the latest build of Windows 10, and I saw they took out the WiFi fly-out for the Desktop. It now goes to the Settings window for Network settings.
Maybe eventually there'll be a popup, like we have for Notifications and Search.
But, why though? The fly-out was very elegant. It would fly out right where the Notification area was, and because it would take up the length of the screen your cursor was right over it, and when you clicked anywhere else on the screen it would go away. It worked, and it was very nice. Compared to that, a popup feels very cramped and very unpolished. The Notifications popup is not impressive, and neither is the Search popup. I'm thinking these would work better as fly-outs as well.
I'm happy that Microsoft is working on making the OS more flexible for everyone, but I'm not happy that they're assuming these things are not "Desktop features" but "Tablet features" and deciding that nobody on the Desktop wants them.
As a laptop user, I also liked the idea of the whole Settings fly-out, because you had things like WiFi, Brightness, Keyboard layout etc all in a very accessible place, and this list could be easily expanded to include more settings as time went on. Of course, I have some of these on the Notification area, but not all of them and even if I put them in the "hidden" state, that's not a very elegant way to use them.
I also still use the full screen Start Screen, just because I like the ability of the Start Screen as an app launcher, to arrange my apps into groups. Hopefully groups and so on will eventually make its way into the Start Menu too, but I'll probably still be using the full screen because I'll have it fully populated where I have to scroll it, and my screen isn't that huge; its a laptop.
Currently, its annoying on the Start Screen to have to go into a tiny two-item context menu to get into settings. The whole context menu on the Start Screen also makes it more clumsy, because in order to select more than one item you have to go into the arrange mode (press Space). The taskbar being up by default also makes scrolling more difficult. (And in fact sometimes its sticky, and doesn't go away, or sticky and hard to bring back up).
It feels like they crippled Start Screen use for Desktop users because they decided Desktop users don't want it. Plus, I don't see how they're going to put group functions on the Start Menu in any elegant way with context menus. Are we going to have to press Space on the Start Menu to arrange things, just like on the Start Screen?
Sidebar-ish like RT apps also made sense in some instances over complicated window snapping.
Look, there are many good things Microsoft is doing. Its good that RT apps can be windowed, and its good that people have the flexibility of using Start as a menu rather than as a full screen. But seriously, why are people so obsessed with windows, popups, and context menus for Desktop UI design? They simply aren't always the best UI choice. This has nothing to do with touch.
"Continuum" so far seems designed to be a binary Tablet vs. Desktop concept, and then transitional UI where a PC can act as both a tablet and desktop computers. This isn't good, it assumes some features are Tablet features and some features are Desktop features. They need to get out of this binary way of thinking. They're being too reactionary so far, listening too much to the biggest cranks, and doing a reverse 100% on design, instead of finding a smart middle-ground.