This is a terrific discussion.
A few thoughts and responses in no particular order.
Screen time today is dominated by mobile devices. Thus, people aren't having to stare at ugly computers nearly as much as they used to. At the same time, Windows has gotten incredibly locked down and the perceived value of software, in general, has been greatly reduced.
Another challenge we face is finding programming talent. OS customization requires low level understanding of how the operating system works.
When we look at WindowBlinds 11 (or whatever it will be called) the issues we deal with now are things like high DPI, backwards compatibility, third party apps using their own skinning, ease of skinning and ease of maintaining it. And some of those goals conflict.
What part of a WindowBlinds skin matters the most to you?
- Skinning the frame of the window?
- Taskbar skinning?
- Client area skinning?
- Something else
That would help us focus our development effort.
Object Desktop Evolution
Our big project focus is on DeskScapes 10. We also want to create a successor to ObjectDock that would become part of Object Desktop itself. Another area is audio. The audio situation on Windows is terrible. It's still Windows NT era tech and that's something we think we can improve.
DesktopX was very near to my heart but Windows is just too locked down now to bring it back.
Apps like Groupy, Fences, Launchers, virtual desktops, Start10, and others that add functionality to Windows are in a better place imo than the others.
The support situation on Windows has been a challenge. I think going forward, we will probably have to move to a subscription model because a large % of our support budget, which comes right out of the development budget too, comes from customers who bought a $5 program 2 years ago and need support. We want to give them great support but we can't afford to give support for $5 one time purchases.
Under the covers, WinCustomize keeps getting upgrades. But bandwidth wise, it's a tough thing as you get into a chicken or egg thing. With most of the other skinning sites gone, pretty much everyone comes here but few buy subscriptions. Subscriptions determine the bandwidth we pay for.
Mainly, what we need to do is take a top to bottom look at at the business model and make some changes so that people who are passionate about this can keep getting cool stuff while it still being a viable business model.