Internet Explorer 10 on Metro has been called ‘a two-faced work-in-progress’ as we now have Internet Explorer as full screen Metro interface app and the conventional desktop workspace sharing a common rendering engine. The real story is that the user experience between Metro and desktop chrome versions are completely different.
Microsoft explains them as skins, not different browsers. Metro is designed as a touch interface and whilst it works with a keyboard and mouse, it is far from the desktop twin. Metro IE10 hides all tabs and options with drag-down menus, leaving screen completely free of the usual ‘chrome’, interface elements such as menus and window borders.
Fans of the full screen experience, along with casual users without the time or use-case for a complex UI will appreciate it; web-head die-hards may think differently. The stripped down address bar is anchored to the bottom of the screen with no options to move it that I found; right-click for Charms and you get the tab-switcher/ new tab panel appearing at the top. That’s it. Right now it’s a little slow and elements such as alt-tags and title tags are delightfully low-res, boxed text.
What IE10 Metro does add are touch features including the side-by-side viewing mode and Windows 8’s built-in sharing features to send out links or snippets of text highlighted on a page. Tablet presentation is better served as IE10 automatically adds space around web page elements like buttons and check boxes to make them easier to tap.
It is simple and for casual browsing, it works. There is a pitfall ahead, however.
More radical even than the Metro UI, in an official blog post, Microsoft states that Internet Explorer 10 Metro will dropping plugins and supporting HTML 5. That means no Adobe Flash.
The conventional IE 10 desktop browser will still function with plug-ins, providing compatibility for Flash and a all the other extensions, which is why there’s a socking great “Use Dekstop View” button for working with Flash and Microsoft’s own ActiveX or Silverlight controls when needed. More on this one in another post. AJS