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Taskbar and start menu placed on the left/right/top side of the display

    General discussion

  • Hello there,

    I have a suggestion: as most displays have less space along the vertical axis than along the horizontal, I have many times wanted to move the taskbar to one of the sides of the screen, but there is one major thing that makes this layout unfunctional and appearing messy: the icons on the taskbar, the location of and arrangement in the start menu; the overall layout becomes very little user-friendly.

    Lying on the bottom of the screen, the taskbar and the start menu interacts well, the search box, recent programs and other places/folders are all arranged in a way that seems logical and is easy to use.

    However, when the taskbar is moved to one of the sides of the screen, the interaction breaks, and the start menu appear confusing and illogical, because of its placement on the screen, and how the icons (including search menu,  all programs etc) are listed.

    My suggestion, if it has not already been mentioned by someone else, goes like this: if the start icon remains at the top of the screen when the taskbar is at the left or right side of the screen, you change the order of the items on the start menu to the opposite (of what currently is), so that the mouse will be closest to All Programs, search and shutdown, and farthest away from the user icon, Username, Docs etc. That way, the user will easily be able to navigate when clicking on the start menu-icon.

    If the taskbar is placed on the left side of the screen, then the start menu should dock to top of the screen, not beneath the start-icon, and close to the left side. The same principles apply to the right side of the screen; start menu should dock to the top, not the right side.

    We could take this thought-experiment one step further, and make the entire visual theme appear more wide-screen-friendly. This by changing the location of the title bar and the following menus often placed beneath the title bar, to the opposite side of the taskbar at all times. That would imply that when the taskbar is on the bottom of the screen, the title bar remains on the top. But if the taskbar is located on the left side, the title bar and menus are located on the right side. This is exactly what we are seeing with the Live Mesh toolbar, instead of taking space in the height, it is discretly located on the side of the window, letting the user focus more on the content of the folder rather than the tools associated to the folder.

    Of course, I do not know how my suggestions would work in real-life, but the present layout does not work well to me. It might do for others. I did not find a topic covering my issues when I searched your forums, but I know that this could have been suggested and discussed before. Just let me know, then :)
    Sunday, January 18, 2009 12:49 AM

All replies

  • Yes, I've been experimenting with the Superbar docked on the left of the screen, and feel it could be better.

    I think my preference would be to invert the whole thing, so the Orb is still bottom left and the icons extend upwards, rather than currently where the Orb is top left and the icons extend downwards.

    As Marius says, the current arrangement makes for an odd, and rather unintuitive, position for the Start menu.  It doesn't seem to "grow" out of anything, but seems to hang on the screen at an illogical position.

    Along the top works quite well, because the Start menu "drops down" from the Orb.

    On the right I feel, again, it should have the Orb at the bottom and grow upwards.  Indeed, it's a bit messy when docked to the right, because the Start menu obscures the Superbar icons.

    Sunday, January 18, 2009 1:22 AM
  • To a small extent I disagree. I actually don't like (when the taskbar is on the bottom) that the rarely used shutdown and the less-used all programs is closest to my mouse, while the recent items are farther, and the "most possibly used icons" - the pinned icons - are farthest of all!
    When I right click a task, I get "close window" nearest to my mouse, which will often be less frequently used sometimes than recent items, and the same problem with pinned items, which should be closer to my mouse, since they are most commonly used.

    Default in the bottom position is the least intuitive, if you think about it. It's just that that's what we're used to from the start menu since Windows 95/98. I have been using the menu on the top of my screen because it's actually the exact opposite as OP describes: Pinned items and my folders are closest to my mouse, whereas the "used often" stuff comes next, as well as Control Panel and admin tools, followed finally by the least used "close/shutdown/all programs" options.

    Same thing, even, with the overflow area of the tray icons, where the icons you use will be closer the the mouse on top, while the "customize" (less used) will be farther.

    In the end I wish you could customize more. I like the default arrangement on my top-aligned taskbar. People like their default arrangement in the bottom-aligned taskbar, and I have seen cases for either one to change. Best answer would be to allow a "reversed" and "standard" configuration for all taskbar positions.
    Sunday, January 18, 2009 2:38 AM
  • I like the idea of placing the taskbar on the left more than the right.
    And I agree on both: inverting the placements. There should be an option to place the "orb" at the bottom.
    And on if the "orb" is at the top, then invert the window that pops up so that all programs are closest to where you had just clicked.

    We've been trained in previous windows version to look bottom left for a long time.. It's too awkward to look up, in terms of clicking on start anyway.
    Thursday, January 21, 2010 5:48 AM
  • Hi,

    I agree.

    I have been running with a left side task bar since XP. I made it 4 icons wide.

    My reasons were,

    a) vertical space is much more scarce than horisontal (especially in some MSWord configurations with lots of tool icons above and below the document) and all of my documents(well, except some Excel sheets ;-) always fit wide-wise, it's the top-to-bottom dimension that I get a restricted view of, and

    b) I can have quite a lot of open documents/window and actually still see what they are about in the task bar (in the traditional view it is not uncommon to see a number of open windows refered to as "Gr...", "Le...", Le..." etcetera. Now I can at least see something like "Group meeting Oct...", Letter to Morga...", "Letter to Susa..." etcetera.

    I also pinned all "frequently interesting programs and folders" to the taskbar. As I mentioned, with small icons I could fit four of them per row.

    BUT, I have been looking around in W7 for some time now and not found a way to make the pinned icons appear four-wide in the task bar. The icons are only listed with one (centered) icon per row in the task bar. How can I make them fill the row, before continuing on the next row??

    Cheers / Ake

    Friday, September 24, 2010 4:18 PM
  • I am running with a similar setup.  When I resume from hibernate, my taskbar is resized to about 1 icon wide.  Mine is set to autohide.
    Friday, September 24, 2010 8:16 PM
  • I agree. Allowing a vertical taskbar to be inverted would be a great addition. My most used quick launch icons are closest to the orb, and mousing at the bottom of the screen means my mouse has to cover less real estate.

    Obviously, I haven't worked with an inverted taskbar, but I'm loving using the taskbar on the side of my wide screen setup. As mlong212 says, bottom left is where years of experience has trained the eyes to go.

    Wednesday, January 05, 2011 5:52 PM
  • On Wed, 5 Jan 2011 17:52:43 +0000, RickShepard wrote:

    I'm loving using the taskbar on the side of my wide screen setup. As mlong212 says, bottom left is where years of experience has trained the eyes to go.

    I too think that having the task bar on the left side of the screen
    make better use of screen real estate with today's wide-screen
    monitors.

    But regarding where your eyes have been trained to go, my experience
    with having the task bar on the left is that it very quickly overcame
    my years of experience.


    Ken Blake, Microsoft MVP
    Wednesday, January 05, 2011 6:11 PM
  • Obviously, I haven't worked with an inverted taskbar, but I'm loving using the taskbar on the side of my wide screen setup. As mlong212 says, bottom left is where years of experience has trained the eyes to go.

    that's the point! You were forced to have it left, which was bad. For a right-handed person the button the left is bad and the new one is better. I never used the button when it was left (tool long mouse way). Having it rights, I'm using it sometime. For me it's better.

    "A programmer is just a tool which converts caffeine into code" CLIP- Stellvertreter http://www.winvistaside.de/
    Wednesday, January 05, 2011 9:37 PM