Windows 8 toast notification animations could have been very different

Over a week ago, we found out that former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had been pushing for Cortana to be named “Bingo” in his final days as CEO. Snippets of information like this emerge from time to time and offer interesting insight into the internal procedures of companies like Microsoft. Now we found out that the animation of removing toast notifications in Windows 8 would have been significantly different.

This idea comes from Microsoft’s Raymond Chen, who notes that the public eventually saw toast notifications in the upper right corner of Windows 8, which could be ignored by swiping them to the right – similar to the swiping behavior also seen in Windows. 10 and Windows 11 -, which can be seen below:

A GIF showing toast notification rejection behavior in Windows 8

According to Chen, a senior Microsoft executive actually campaigned for notifications to be pulled to the left, so that when you lift your cursor, they zoom to the right, like a rubber band. This animation can be seen below:

A GIF showing toast notification rejection behavior in Windows 8

Although Chen will not disclose the name of the executive involved, he does mention that the design team ultimately managed to convince them to abandon the idea. Chen jokes that maybe their argument was that the operating system’s design ideology was to “reject physics,” he notes that the real reason was probably that the left-swipe behavior would have been wasted on a “stupid” animation.

Looking back, it’s good that Windows 8 didn’t follow the path of this animation, but the identity of the executive who pushed for bungee animation is the best guess. If their idea had been put forward, who knows if it would have made its way to Windows 10 and Windows 11 as well?

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