I helped design and build the Windows 8 Start screen. Wow.

Looking back over my “Windows Wish List” posts and some wild hand-drawn sketches in a spiral notebook from 2008, it’s amazing to me to look back over the last 4 years and realize not only how many of my ideas have been incorporated into Windows 7 and 8, but also the fact that I helped make much of it happen by working on the Windows shell team. The Start screen in Windows 8 has several design elements that were originally mine: the parallax scrolling effect of the background (inspired by old-school video games like “Shadow of the Beast”), the notion of making a full-screen version of the Start menu, and a way of organizing or partitioning Apps, Settings, and Files. Another one of my ideas — pinning a website from Internet Explorer to the Taskbar as its own icon with its own jumplist — was picked up and turned into a feature in newer versions of IE. It’s surreal to now see the Start screen (which I spent 3 years helping to design and build) all over the news, TV commercials, and printed Christmas shopping ads. I guess while I was busy working my butt off, I really did manage to help change the world.

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