In response to our Windows 10 review where we mentioned some drawbacks of the ergonomics of the new Windows 10 tablet mode, one of our readers made a graphic about how Microsoft could pretty simply make the taskbar much more tablet friendly. Patrick’s suggestions are mainly things for Microsoft to implement, but some of them you can do right now to make your Windows 10 tablet much easier to use.
Even in tablet mode, the taskbar with the start button, system tray icons, Cortana button and task view buttons are along the bottom edge of the screen. I’m sure Microsoft did this for consistency with the old Windows 95 – 7 default placement so that people would have that familiarity, but if you’ve got a tablet, reaching for those buttons is very awkward. They are not ergonomically placed for tablet usage at all. See below for Patrick’s suggestions and then scroll even further to see what you can do to improve the tablet mode on Windows 10 right now.
— Patrick Hermawan (@ngakaks) August 1, 2015
Personally, I kind of like the system-wide back button on the taskbar since it can navigate between apps just like the system-wide back button on Windows Phone. Although, on Windows 10 that only works occasionally. Sometimes pressing the back button doesn’t do anything, but that’s true with the task view button if no apps are currently open, too. Still, most of what Patrick suggests could probably be implemented as options in the Taskbar settings window. Speaking of which…
How to make tablet mode better right now
As we mentioned, most of the suggestions for better tablet ergonomics above require Microsoft to make some modifications to the OS. However, Patrick’s first step is possible right now. Simply type “Taskbar and Navigation” into Cortana or from your current start screen and open the Taskbar and Navigation properties window. From there you’ll see a “Taskbar location on screen” pop-up menu where you can choose: bottom, left, top, or right. Obviously by default it’s set to the bottom, but if you place it on the left or right, you’ll have much more ergonomic access to those buttons when holding your tablet by the left or right edges like you normally would. You can also “auto-hide the taskbar”, but this makes showing the taskbar much more difficult since your right edge swipe will still show the Action Center, while a left edge swipe will still show the task view. However, if you do a very short right edge or left edge swipe, that will show the taskbar when needed. So if you really want the taskbar hidden, it can work pretty nicely that way with a little bit of learning for the right gesture to get it back. If you uncheck the “Lock the taskbar” option, you can resize it to make its width a little smaller too. Check out the video below for a quick demo of the slightly more-ergonomic Windows 10 tablet mode in action.
What do you think? Are you using Windows 10 in desktop mode on a tablet or are you wishing for a better tablet mode from future versions of Windows 10?