One of my favorite features in Windows 10 is the compact overlay. It allows you to watch videos in resizable floating boxes so that you can easily multitask. Unfortunately, fewer apps support this feature than I would like. WebToApp wraps web pages in Compact Overlay mode and does an impressive job.
It’s a bit complicated, but it’s a good start, and I think it’s definitely worth a try.
The application is available for free on Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile.
View in the Microsoft Store
Bringing the compact overlay to the web
Apps like Mixer Go and myTube! have Compact Overlay mode built-in, but many websites and services don’t have a mini-player on Windows 10. WebToApp lets you take any website and wrap it in a resizable box on your screen. He does it in a smart way. When you’re on a website, you select full screen mode, and then select an option to switch to compact mode. It takes a few steps, but the end result is a beautiful picture-in-picture mode that has no borders.
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In addition to resizing the web page, WebToApp also moves important parts of the web UI to make them more accessible. For example, when viewing YouTube videos, the play and pause button is in the lower left corner of the video. It’s also full-size rather than shrunk to an impossible-to-click button.
I’m really glad WebToApp exists. I think its functionality should be integrated directly into Microsoft Edge. That said, the setup is more complicated than it should be. It’s not overly technical, but if you want a shortcut that looks correct, you need to download or create an .ico file, create a shortcut, add a web url, and customize the shortcut to use the icon you want.
The instructions within the app are straightforward, but I would like the app to have a simpler interface that requires the user to do less. Even if the app performed the same tasks but only had a drag and drop interface, it would be easier. For example, the app can let you copy and paste a link and automatically add the appropriate code, or the app can let you upload a photo and take care of creating the icon for you.
General thoughts on WebToApp for Windows 10
When I first downloaded WebToApp, I was disappointed with how many steps it took to create a shortcut, but realized that the instructions aren’t complicated, they’re just complete. WebToApp works well with sites like YouTube and although it did have some issues, it also worked well with Mixer. It puts the play and pause button in the right place for easier viewing of videos and moves other UI elements for easier navigation.
I love that the developers took an exciting project for personal use and then shared it with everyone through the Microsoft Store after realizing that it could be used for a variety of things. And they did it for free. Hopefully Microsoft will take a look at an app like this and build similar functionality right in its own browser on Windows 10.
- Adds functionality to Windows
- Works well with many websites
- To free
- Struggle with some sites
View in the Microsoft Store
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