This one has taken me a while to write. Its more of a look at how the Microsoft\Windows Store could be better, and as such will not have any links to feedback items. Simply due to the fact that its more of a how-to-be-better rather than a this-function-needs-work. Click on the images to see their full size.

Much has been written about the Store.

How its slow, clunky, not very good with large downloads and even its design.

Looking at the store, you can see its mobile origins.

Compared to other digital store fronts on the desktop – we have Steam, GoG Galaxy, and Origin.


Looking at all of these, you can see no one has done the store perfectly. Heck even the Mac App Store which is almost modeled off iTunes

What can we say – Digital store fronts seem to be this magical thing no one has cracked. But at least on Windows 10, the Store is your one stop shop for all things digital. Not having to open 6 different apps when you want to buy a book, app, game or movie is very cool. In fact, its this little interaction that makes the Windows Store truly a contender here.

But as you can see from the interface, its not the best. Lining it up next to all the rest, they aren’t the best either. Thank goodness Steam lets you skin it (I mean, its got to the be worst one).
So how can it be better?

Region Lock

Yes, that’s correct. If you want the best apps, the most free games, all the selection, well then you’re going to have to set your region to the US. That region gets all the cool apps, all the cool specials and even different special edition of movies. If you can get PayPal working with the Windows Store, then even better. In this day and age, why are we still limited to our physical locations while playing in the digital world? I understand there are licensing issues when crossing borders, but that only hurts consumers. Skip the region lock, pay the license fees and watch as more people spend money on “U.S. exclusives”.

No Time Remaining On Downloads

When downloading stuff, I like to be told “about 16 days remaining”. The Windows Store decides I don’t want this info and so doesn’t show me. It shows the download size, the speed and other things such as “Checking license”. Yet it doesn’t tell me how long to go for my app to be ready…

Clicking More (In Anything)

Whats wrong with this:

That’s after I clicked the More under the description, right under the name of the app. A user expects the Description box to expand with more info, not an entirely new popup that they then have to move the mouse to close. With fluent design, when the user clicks more, have the description box expand, and then slightly blur the rest of the app so the user knows they are interacting with that. Screen shots could work the same. It look really cool and also (I think) is user friendly.

My Library

Here I can find all the apps and games and Movies and Books I have downloaded or purchased. Except I cant.

For starters – Movies and Books live in a separate app. I thought this was one Store?
Secondly, the apps I want to see, I only see 5 of the apps and games, and clicking on show all in either of those categories will, 9 times out of 10, load forever and then crash the store. Not very good interaction if you ask me.
And why can’t I get rid of Candy Crush Saga? Every single time I install Windows, get a new update or wear green shoes, this returns like bad curry the night before. Again and again. Until it’s the only app let on my system, I am pretty sure. Look at the feedback hub, and you will see a million items all lamenting the fact that this app doesn’t stay uninstalled.

The Design

I’ll start off by saying, I am not a designer. In fact, I wouldn’t know how to design myself out of a paper bag. But as a member of the human race that posses eyes, I can see when something has been designed well and I enjoy using it. Now we can’t ping the design here too much, because looking at the other stores, they all seem to have been made in the dark. The simple fact is that no app / digital store has a good design. If I ever find one, I’ll let you know. But I also expect Microsoft to put a lot of effort behind something that gets a lot of publicity.
And finally, you were waiting for this one, I just know it.

The Apps

Ok, so the Windows Store has not taken the world by storm. There are not legions of developers out there all coding for the Store on the same level as the iPhone. We know this. It basically killed Windows Phone (lets just take a moment here guys). Right, are you composed now? Ok, I’ll wait another minute.
Xbox Play Anywhere, Universal Apps and UWP are all amazing. This is the future. This is where Windows is going. If you need legacy Win32 software, well your years are numbered. I fully want this future. As someone who supports family and friends and even some acquaintances who have managed to install every toolbar ever made, and 13 anti-virus applications, the future of UWP can not come soon enough.
So how do we fix this? Simple. Go to the dev of your favorite iPhone app and ask “Hey bro, when are you going to do a Windows 10 version?” After 90% of all users of your app ask this, you might realise that you like money and here are a bunch of people wanting to give you more money. I know it’s a long shot, but we can make this work.
And from Microsoft’s side? Well they need to jump right in. If its not a business application, move it to UWP. If it is a business application, give people a time frame. Come on. They are the sleeping giant here. With some conviction and some might, they could “help” the movement along. I would not mind if they started something similar to the console market – have exclusive apps and yell from the roof tops about it. And that’s coming from someone who hates exclusives.

Ok, so that’s my write up on a few things the Store could do better. Its not a complete list, but it’s a start to get you thinking. Together (us working with Microsoft), we can really make Windows 10 truly the best Operating System on the planet. But it involves us working together. And for that I am super grateful that, as a Windows user and an Insider MVP, my opinion matters to this company.

Thanks for reading. And if you want to discuss anything written here (or just in general), hit me up on Twitter.

Categories: Windows Insider