Thinking about widgets

Continuing my investigation and discovery with Windows 11 crossed paths with an online survey about the use of widgets on Android phones this weekend.

The survey was simple enough; it wanted to know how many widgets you use on your phone. I took a look and saw that I had four

  • Windy
  • Opera search bar and QR code reader
  • Storage and memory allocation of my phone from Samsung
  • Step counter from Samsung Health

Why widgets? They make so much sense on the phone. It’s nice to just be able to flip to the home screen to see what’s up. I do value the information and its ease of access. I’m also aware that they may well be an ongoing drain on battery use due to the fact that they’re constantly working whether I’m using them or not, unlike actual applications that have to be launched in order to work. My battery is still in good shape and my routine allows it to be functional for an entire day and that’s my standard for success. I can remember a time when a widget was something unique and special. Now, it seems that every application can also have a widget.

Turning to the computer though, my first experience with widgets came with the Macintosh operating system where they can slide in on demand or, at times, when I accidentally move my cursor to a hot spot. Quite honestly, I’ve never really found a use for them on the computer. I tried using it with Notes but since I always seem to have a browser open, it’s much more natural for me to just open a tab and work in a Google document.

With Windows 11 comes widgets. There’s a nice default installation although the news seems to have a decidedly US slant to it. I could probably customize things if I wanted it. But, like me with a television remote, I don’t want to just see what’s on, I want to see what else is on.

These are my options when I went to add more widgets.

I tried a couple of them and clicked on the links which promptly loaded the Edge browser to show the content. That’s not cool since I like to think that I’m in control and I’m not currently using the Edge browser. A link should be a link should be a link and not a call to launch something else when what’s currently open will do the job.

The whole process got me thinking about the Widgets on my Mac. I don’t use them there; why would I use them here? If I want a news or other update, I have Flipboard, News360, and already pinned as tabs.

There’s been a lot of praise given by people writing reviews of Windows 11 and it’s a lot about how it’s nice that they’re included in the release. Maybe it’s because I’ve never had access before and have other ways to stay connected. I’m just not feeling the urge at this time to open an overlay onto my workspace. It’s like the rounded corners on windows. I typically have whatever application that I’m using opened to a full screen. I value all the screen real estate and I guess I’m just too stingy to give it up at present.

Besides, my phone is just to the right in its own stand. If I need a widget, I could just look there.

My journey continues.


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