Getting up to date with Windows 8 tools and terminology
A comprehensive collection of articles, videos and more, hand-picked by our editors
Modern uses bright, high-contrast color schemes and arrays of large icons (called "live tiles") to create a simple design aesthetic. Modern focuses on reorganizing applications and tasks into intuitive groupings, with icons that use actual content rather than static graphical buttons. For example, a photo-viewing application would actually display the user's photos in a live tile called "Photos." Similarly, pictures and avatars representing user's various phone and email contacts would appear in rotating mosaics across the "Contacts" live tile.
Beyond visual attributes, Modern makes a concerted effort to emphasize touch and gesture control of the interface, largely overlooking the use of keyboards and mice as input devices. Modern also eliminated the traditional Windows Start button. These design changes seemed to make perfect sense for tablet and other mobile platforms, but many end users in the desktop and laptop communities found Modern to be frustrating and confusing. The Windows 8.1 update restored the Start button and gave users access to a more traditional desktop experience, offering better keyboard and mouse support while eliminating awkward click-and-drag controls.