The problem with metro is it’s hard to differentiate

I want you all to pause a moment or two.

I want you all to sit in front of Windows 8, and explore it some more and get to be intimate with “metro” as a user interface style. Really, immerse yourself in it and just stare at it, explore every pixel it offers up.

I now want you to imagine that this is going to be your user interface for the next 5years.

Still onboard?

image

I have been doing “metro” rinse/repeat designs for quite some time and it has long past bored me to the point where I wonder if I have metro-blindness now. That is I’ve stared at it for far to long that I really need a release valve, I crave something more interesting and has more depth.

This is the part where you respond with the usual metro rhetoric about content-first design, authentically digital blah blah the usual Microsoft Metro Zombie response that often the person at the other end of the conversation has no clue at what even it means, it just sounds smart to say and gives one a sense of authority over the conversation.

I am not saying the path that Microsoft has put the hordes of developers on is wrong but I’m not inclined to say it’s right either.

Who is the target audience?

Today, a 50 something non-techy came into my work pod to talk about the new iPad 3, we talked about what it has and doesn’t have but then I tried to get an unbiased non-technical opinion on Windows 8.

Me: “Have you seen the new Windows 8 yet?”

NonTechGuy: “Nope.. is it out?”

Me: “Not yet, it’s still in beta, but here have a look”

I then watched his facial expression; it looked like he wanted to go to the toilet but was holding back on saying so out of politeness.

Me: “Cool huh!”

NonTechGuy: “is that the whole thing?”

Bottom line was that he was not excited by it and we soon retreated to the iPad conversation. My thinking here is not that well this user speaks for billions of humans worldwide; it was just interesting to see a virgin reaction to basically metro.

This person uses Windows daily and has no issue with it, but when shown Windows 8 front-start screen it had this jarring effect on his senses, as if to say – “this is not what I expected”.

This is the part where someone now responds with “give them time”, “users over time will get used to it”, “I have xyz friends who see the opposite to this view” etc. etc.

I get it, I just disagree with it.

Windows 8 is targeted at us, the tech crowd, the more I think about its practicality the more I contemplate that maybe the reason why Apple is much more successful than Microsoft at this space as they target the baby-boomer style crowd. Microsoft and Google target us and in turn they fail more than they succeed simply because we are much harder to please than the Apple audience.

When Steve Jobs said that they only make products that they would want to use, I think we all in the tech-scene assumed he meant us. He didn’t, I think he meant to say “no, I mean guys my age and people who aren’t preoccupied with engadget/gizmodo style blogs.. I mean me, you people aren’t invited”

The thing that struck a chord today was the fact that iPad3 has failed in the eyes of most tech bloggers etc., yet 50-something non-tech guy walks into the IT cubicle and asks “Hey, you seen the new iPad!”..

Think about that a bit more. Firstly, he has already heard about it from mainstream radio stations and secondly he did not say iPad3 he said “new iPad” (interesting choice of words to parrot).

Metro will outdate itself.

Here is the problem I am starting to see with metro and I am arguably pushing it earlier than Microsoft is with a number of audiences. Metro fast out dates, that is to say initially people’s reaction to the design is positive and emotive. However over time the more and more it gets used, the more and more it will start to taper out, that is to say, you probably are already seeing this with Windows Phone 7.

There is no differentiation; there is no unique upgrade or themed approach to the way you react to data. There is just this metro-zombie existence where if you can slap together a few tiles, fluctuating typography case & size, few background pictures and then some minor rectangle decals here and there. Boom metro installed, payday occurs.

The design and experience over time becomes like chewing gum, the flavor disappears, and soon we are keen to discard and invite new flavor as soon as possible.

I see this as a problem going forward as Microsoft itself can’t control metro in a way that elevates and retains consistency in their emotive experience(s) and to be fair, metro wasn’t born from a scientific analysis, it was born from a group of guys inside Microsoft UX leadership who decided that they wanted to simplify the brand some more.

So what if Microsoft is wrong? What if Metro isn’t the correct way forward and what if it hurts our ecosystem much more than we realize?

Enter Metro-chaos.

Yesterday, out of pure design frustration I decided to do the opposite of what I know about Metro, that is, break the rules, and see what happens.

I came up with this design and then posted it online to see what people’s reactions would be.

MetroChaos4

I got wave after wave of “this isn’t metro” responses, I never got any reactions around how one could evolve this further. I was craving that and was really just curious to see what would happen if you assault this audience with the anti-metro design. I knew upfront what the audience would parrot back and sure enough I got lecture after lecture on what is or isn’t metro (some weren’t even accurate to the actual principles of metro itself).

I could care less whether people enjoyed the design I put forward as it was always just a throw-away composition and was more about me taking some time-out to just evolve a design.

It struck me simply that I worry now that metro-style as we see it from Microsoft will become tomorrow’s WinForm(s) that is to say we’ve replaced WinForm static UI with now a more monochrome blocky style UI. Developers rarely deviate from Microsoft’s theming (see Ribbon and Office theming as examples) and so from here it’s likely we’ll see the tired old look over and over and over.

I worry about this as I think this really could be the step backwards and not forwards in evolving our design energy.

With that, I leave you with just one question – What if Microsoft is wrong, how do we all collectively recover?

I don’t dislike metro, but I’m not excited about it as much as I should be. I want have more fun with it though, I want to see what others do with it out of the confines of the “rules”, as I think this could evolve further!

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  • Ward

    Agree completely that Metro is going to get old very fast. I’m sick of it already.

    The live tiles offer some hope (that’s how I differentiate on my WP7 phone) but not enuf. 

    As for your login sample, don’t care that it’s not metro. Do care that it’s utter pointless chaos. Want improvement? Try the Win 8 picture login  which combines beauty and function in an unexpected, immediately satisfying way. The borderless photo makes it personal and unique. THAT was some smart design, achieved through a completely different UX than is typical of metro-style.

    P.s.: I’m a 50-something and I resent the implications of your remarks even though I don’t know what those implications are 🙂

    As a 50-something, I can say that metro is easier on my failing eyes. Score one for big blocks, big type, and flat.

    Keep throwing those punches.

  • Jacob Rohde

    I agree totally. After a year it becomes boring. My WP7 feels in ways like an old Nokia feature phone – it is simply not interesting. First off I was taken by the departure from the Apple’s obsession with gloss and gradients. But now, after a year it is clear that the Metro design way of life simply doesn’t gives the designers much to work with, and every app has almost the same design.

  • I’m not sure whether I agree or not; I do believe you’re right when you say it’s going to be difficult to differentiate, and that the design will get boring quite fast – but isn’t that the point? Isn’t “lack of differentiation” just “consistent user experience” isn’t an app being boring absolutely fine? Are we really supposed to be excited by the apps we use, or what we can do with them?

    I for one welcome a world where it’s boring and simple to use my computer, so I can get over it and do something else instead.

    Nobody complains that’s it’s hard to differentiate the design of a pencil…

  • Pete O’Hanlon

    I guess the issue that we’re going to face with applications is who designs them? Are we finally going to have real UI designers working in harmony with developers to ship beautiful functional applications, or are we going to end up with a load of applications that look like they have been put together by colour blind chimps?

    Possibly the biggest change in mindset for developers is that they have to stop thinking like, and presenting information like developers. In other words, stop using terminology and idioms that mean something to you, and mean absolutely nothing to the average Joe Blow. If they do get it, then great – we are going to see some amazing applications. If not….

  • Safado

    Nobody would complain that’s it’s hard to differentiate the design of a pencil, simply becouse we dont expect more from it, like we expect more from microsofts new OS in 2012.

  • Safado

    You know in w7 I can download themes that gives new colors and backround photos to the desktop.
    I would like to see that for the metro !!! Aero put to ist full potensial with colors and animations in metro, now that would keep it from getting boring, the way it is today is so boring.

    “After a year it becomes boring.” you mean after a day or too.

  • Rarely do I read something and agree with it as much as I agree with this article. I installed Windows 8 consumer preview in a VM this week and was bored with it within minutes. Most of the time I spent in the desktop mode or searching google on how to shut the damn thing down 🙂 As to the Metro interface itself, I feel it’s great for a phone and works well on XBox, but it made me feel my PC was just completely dumbed down. It feel that it will be OK for people who just use a computer for web browsing and sending email, but for a power user, well frankly it’s ugly, it’s boring and it sucks.

  • Jefph

    I quite like your design. as it goes..

  • Andy

    The live tiles don’t have to be plain blocks, do they?.
    You can make them widgets.

  • Never

    “Windows 3.1 will not be a success, despite Microsofts’ effort”.

    Yawn 🙂

  • Kelly Stanonik

    The reason NonTechGuy called the new iPad “the new iPad’ is because that is what it is literally named.  It is not the iPad 3.

    I agree with your thoughts on Metro.  It’s going to be very interesting when it arrives for real.

    I’m not sure I get your sample design.  It’s like a metro screen that someone threw up on and put three random icons that, to me at least, don’t mean anything to me in terms of a login screen.  The important part is that underneath it it’s still a metro screen just worse.

  • Lason1864

    And from a business standpoint, Metro gets in the way.

  • Steve Vreeland

    Perfect Scot.
    The conclusion is that MS KNOWS it will be discarded like hour-old gum and they will get to sell a new one.
    Just like the operating systems that are great but will not be maintained because that breaks the income stream.

  • Don Bruey

    As long as MS keeps a “classic” mode for users who actually use their computers for serious work, I’ll be OK with their chasing the latest cool trends.

  • simo

    Hmmm… I am not sure I agree on this. On a PC Metro might get boring quite fast, but not the idea behind it. 

    I’ll explain. 

    When you use photoshop or any other application, the first thing you might look at is whether you like the UI or not, but pretty soon all you’re interested in is how well/easily you can do your job. Sure, if it looks horrible you will look for alternatives, but Metro isn’t horrible.

    If Metro gets boring, who cares, as long as you can do what you’re really interested in doing quickly and easily. And I believe the whole concept of Metro, with consistent layouts and themes, is going in the right direction.

    Designers will be bored and lack the place to put their creativity to work in Metro? Maybe. As a user do I care? Not really. In any case, I believe there’s *enough* space for creativity, but not too much so that bad designers ruin the whole experience.

    With smartphones it’s a bit different, because these devices are also part of a person’s look, personality and lifestyle. People want to show of the new iPhone they got because it’s cool. People want to theme a phone to reflect who they are, especially younger people. So here Metro comes short if it fails to allow for more customization (in some areas) in the future.

    So in the end, for Metro to be really successful, I think that Microsoft needs to make sure Metro on PC and tablets really delivers on ease and speed of use to the point where it will require no thinking, which WILL be very differentiating, and which, for me, is at the basis of long lasting great design.The idea is young, and the potential is there. I guess we’ll see. 😉

  • Anonymous

    MSoft has a habit of building something we don’t like (Like WinMe and Vista) then coming in afterwords with something we do.  

  • For the enterprise it’s not about how I feel about what I’m looking at. It’s about time and money. I neither want to spend the time nor the money to make critical business applications work on some other platform. Period.

  • Martin A Bradford

    W8 and Metro are Microsoft’s reaction to the iPad, but I think they are missing a point. The iPad User Interface is certainly attractive to the casual user, but it would not have been difficult to put a shell on top of Windows to compete with it – that, after all, is what Metro is. Unlike Apple, Microsoft is not in charge of the hardware on which their products run. The starting point for iPad’s success is the physical hardware – it’s light, responsive and looks sexy. If Apple had put IOS onto a large, heavy tablet it would not have sold anywhere near as well, no matter how good the interface is.

  • DHomeUser

    Well my 4 year old daughter loved it and even my mum loved
    it over Windows 7. The trouble is sometimes tech people and design people can
    both be so far removed from reality that they miss the elegant truth of a
    system.

    So it isn’t the most visually stunning interface, to be fair Windows has never
    really held that crown.
    So it isn’t the hackers OS of choice, to be fair it never really set out to be.

    I think the reason Microsoft is able to release bland uninspired operating
    systems which sell like hotcakes is that they understand their customers. They
    understand that business wants something safe and controllable that can
    interface with their other business systems in a consistent manor and they
    understand that home users want to sometimes take their work home, want to be
    able to do common practical activities like their home accounts or write a
    letter. They don’t want to marvel at bevelled edges and animated fades any more
    than they want to marvel at just how clever .NET is.

    So I think Windows 8 will be a hit when it launches. There will be a lot of
    refinement before launch, a lot more apps, more integration between phone,
    desktop, tablet, console and cloud and a lot of people will be wowed, then
    within weeks barely notice the new OS as it beds in and then the Windows
    desktop OS will continue its dull but reliable march forward.

  • Steferson Di Giorgio

    I am an old school guy, I took a long time to move from xp to 7. And even then I add the quick launch bar and unpin everything from my taskbar as soon as I get a new machine, And I hate the abuse of transparency win7 has.
    but I wouldn’t go back to xp. the reason for this is that the programs I use haven’t changed, I can customize my desktop to become a pleasant experience no matter where I am.
    Win8 kills this, and I agree completely with you, It get’s boring really fast. I hope Win8 flops.

  • Anonymous

    GREAT article.  You really nailed down what is (or might be) wrong with Metro without going too far in either direction of the debate.  The Metro rules are simply too strict.  There are bits and pieces of Metro that I get and really like a lot.  For example, the high contrast simple iconography is much easier on the eyes and I find I memorize what an icon means much more quickly in toolbars.  That was a good design decision.  But some guidelines are just taken way too far. 

    Take the Visual Studio 11 previews, for example.  In an effort to put the code front and center they made literally everything else shades of gray.  It looks terrible, aesthetically.  But beside that, it is very difficult to quickly target icons because they all look the same at a glance.  It may be Metro, but it decreases productivity for a guideline that has questionable justification (was there ever really a problem with the code window being hard to identify or the rest of the UI being too distracting and causing lost productivity??).

    One step forward, two steps back.

  • Eric Oliver

     I don’t totally agree and my first first thought in reading that is, “That’s old school, out dated thinking”. People are more productive when they enjoy the work experience. If you had a choice between working in a garden surrounded by beauty using elegant technology that flows naturally between you and the device and enhances the overall experience vs working in a beige box using a clunky machine, which would you choose? The trick is for us to evolve from old shool thinking to learning how to create and ambiance and environment where we _want_ to work.

  • forkicks

     but

    “Vista will not be a succes, despite Microsoft’s effort”.

    And it wasn’t.

    Yawn +1 😉

  • sirtelefan

    If windows phone is any indication of metro then metros initial offering will fail much the way vista did. While Vista and Windows 7 are very good products there are many things that they did that are horrible. Am I missing something… The ribbon menus are good in concept in the Office 2007 and 2010 product but they are messy. But if that is what the world wants, then that is what will be.

    Microsoft. Stop moving stuff around! Wouldn’t you all be pissed if when they delivered your new car that you found that the steering wheel was now in the trunk and that the manual was so thick that you had to go online to find out where you put it? It is time for a new product or simply build a General use skin for windows, because those of us who create need to be able to have better access to finer details of windows.

    I respect the need to enter and accomodate the touch screen world, but there may be better ways. Windows is a powerful set  of programs that that far exceed 90%+ of the users needs. Microsoft needs a consumer only skin or mask for the Windows product that allow the standard UI te remain mostly unchanged.

  • I think metro is the next big jump in UI design. Just like with new cars the latest model where the body style changed is missing a few features that the last model had. That is so in the next year they can keep the body design but add gingerbread to get people to want to buy the newest. I think your ideas will be part of the next versions of windows 9+ (or 8 sp?). Also the design has to remain simple to work on cheap low end hardware.

  • Ben S

    I think people are really missing the point. Behind Metro, sits Windows 7 which I think we can safely say was a win for Microsoft. The start button has been removed(big deal)! The more I use Windows 8 beta, the more I realize nothing has really changed, this metro interface is now what the start button used to you. From my point of view, Metro brings a new paradigm to the TABLET…on the desktop, its just the start button re-imagined. Once you get the little things like mouse icon in a corner of the screen brings up settings and app history etc, navigation actually is simpler…Win8 is not an innovative change in OS design, its Win 7 with an added touch screen friendly UI

  • Christian Stewart

    My god. That design you made is epic. Just saying.

    I installed Windows 8 Beta and almost immediately shrunk its partition down and ignored it. As a tech person, the entire thing kind of discusted me. It was like using a tablet with a mouse. Very awkward. I even tried to go back to my original start button open system and was quite pissed off that you can’t even use that anymore.

    To me, it feels like it’s becoming more like an end user product. Something that people from the apple croud use (or at least its targeted that way). Coming from someone who has more modifications to his Windows than seems humanly possible, and spends most of his time navigating it, this feels like a step backward.

    I did like the fast interfaces and the sleek design.

    With that, I kindly revert back to Windows 7.

  • Cagdas

    You’re missing the point. The entire point of Windows 8 is unified experience. Smart phones and PCs are merging and Microsoft is leading the way. Apple’s plan was to put iOS in Macs and do the same thing (same plan with Google) but Microsoft beat them to it. It is not so much about how it looks – in my opinion it looks good enough. Obviously with any kind of UI or design you get sick of it after a while. It is more about usage patterns of people. So far, mobile devices have been more of an entertainment thing. You keep your Windows PC for work and other purposes and you browse the web with your mobile device. Now they are merging. A few years from now you will go to Best Buy to buy a PC and they will give you a box as big as your phone. It will be able to turn into a tablet, netbook or just hook up to TV or monitor. What will people want then? I bet Windows. We’ll see what happens. 

  • Problem is that everyone reading this is tech savy, and Metro was created for the non-tech-savy-tech-savy-wannabes.  OK, that doesn’t make any sense.  But when my wife tries to navigate one of my desktop or laptops, she is confused.  My wife and people like her could careless about tech.  They need to get in, get out, and get on with their lives – they don’t want to be immersed in the UI.  For these reasons, Metro is a relief to them and my wife is now strongly considering WP.

    Having said that, everyone under the age of 35 is fairly tech savy, and I can see your points as far as W8.  I think it works great for windows phone.  I have consistently brought my phone out (Samsung Focus) to show people who have recently purchased an Android based phone, and they either have buyers remorse or they are defending their purchase, while I merely say that to each his own.

    But I think you are right on with the W8 desktop.  I think people will regret moving from Windows 7 to W8, sacrificing the customization, and then they may feel betrayed to learn that it is just the Win 7 engine behind it.

    In the long run, I think W8 will win for the pad and phone, and may even be a big win for the enterprise much to the chagrin of the individual user.

    Hopefully lessons learned will create the next great user interface when we won’t be using desktops and laptops any more, it will be the phone, the pad, and Kinect powered home infotainment center.

  • OK, I was trying to be fair up above, but I can’t hold back here.  You are so wrong in this regard.  One thing Microsoft has always excelled at is the the Enterprise.  Apple has zero penetration in the business world, and Linux is a box office staple, but no real threat.  Metro is a standardization that business world will embrace.  In fact, I can see many kiosks, control panels, etc all switching to this in a heart beat.  Suddenly you don’t have to train the user on a UI?  Marvelous.  Hey you can tote your iphone and ipad for the next twenty years (and I won’t blame you, they’re nice gadgets) but they still won’t make a dent in MS’s business ‘standpoint’.

  • Microsoft listened and changed. Does Apple and the Apple lovers listen to anyone but themselves?  Yawn -1 XD

  • Dholbon

    Metro -this looks like a Mothercare “mock up” for it latest pre-school toy, surely this must be some sort of mistake or an “Emperors Clothes” type joke.
     
    By now we shouldn’t need a keyboard or mouse or touch-screen, we should be talking to computers.
     
    MS would be well advised to switch on their other brain cell; you know the one that works your eyes.
     
    Even on mobiles (where I work) this is a backward step… copying others innovation in the hope of halting falling sales (as opposed to innovating yourself) will result in… well falling sales but magnified by the error.
     
    A similar mistake was made with the first incarnation of Windows Home Server (potentially a ground breaking product) but this applied to its functionality most of which they removed as well as making it harder to use when the new version was launched.
     
    What are they thinking about at Redmond?

  • Imonfyre

    Metro Interface has no real business being on the desktop…

    I, myself, as a more advanced windows user (application/web developer) sit on the desktop very infrequently… In my usual dual monitor setup, one is usually dominated by a browser/IDE, and the other has Trillian and some other program usually running to obscure the desktop. As a gamer, game on one monitor, browser/IM/everything else on the 2ndary. You see the point. Metro only really belongs on a smartphone/tablet, where you actually do stare at the non-app screen for any length of time.

  • Jack A.

    Is it just me, or does Microsoft have a pattern of Good OS release, Bad OS release.  XP, people loved it, Vista not so much, 7 seems good, Metro ???? (I admit to not really know what Metro is about yet).

  • I had the same
    opinion as you when I first saw the metro stuff. My first thought is I want my
    app to look like my app not metro. The freedom of the web lets you do what ever you want.
    After using it for a while though and now with the beta and having some real
    apps installed on it it makes more sense to me and I can see that you can
    differentiate your app.

    For example, compare the MSN News app to USA Today.
    Both are Metro News apps covering very similar content but the USA Today
    application clearly stands out and is much more usable.

    You can also compare
    Kobo to Kindle. The Kindle is the clear winner.

    Another thing
    to recognize is that Metro is just the tip or your application iceberg. Most of
    the real value is created on your back-end.

    The only place
    where Metro is really annoying me is on Windows Server 8. In my opinion it does
    not belong there. I think it is nice to be able to use touch and gestures to
    navigate though the server from a remote desktop session on my tablet but.. in
    reality no one is going to be doing this.
     

  • PhilJ

    There will be a flood of commenters on here who agree and disagree with you. Depending on where you are scrolled down the page you will either be someone who doesn’t get Metro and has lost his way, or you will be a prescient tech oracle who has seen the future failures of MS. So, I won’t speak to any of that. I’ll just say:

    It is “couldn’t care less”. Not “could care less”. If you could care less, then that means you care a little.

    I’m probably being pedantic. But, honestly, I couldn’t care less.

  • Matt McGuire

    I think win8 is a little to jarring, I prefer the desktop,
    but switching back and forth to start a new app feels just wrong. Most likely I’ll
    end up docking most of my normal daily apps on the desktop’s task bar, like I
    did with win7.
    MS stated at one time the Start menu was not being used as
    much, so they looked to replace it. I’m likely one of those who help kill the
    Start menu. To be honest I have not liked a single version since win2000, it
    was a simple strait forward approach and got the job done. I was still able to
    use the old style through Vista, but when Win7 came out and no longer supported
    it, I docked all my dev apps and daily standard programs; so I now rarely, if
    ever visit the start menu at all.
    With Win8’s start page I feel MS is doing the something in
    hiding all my options. If I want Notepad it should only be two clicks away, not
    Start Page -> Search -> N-P -> Notepad ->Add to start page. I guess
    the argument is you only have to do that once, but have you noticed not all apps
    are included in the search, such as msconfig.
    Now if metro was only going to be for tablets, I would not
    argue; as a touch interface it’s well laid out. But just not as productive for
    keyboard/mouse setups.
    Metro feels like a toy to me, not a serous work environment.

  • serware

    I am an old school guy too, and I already heard all these stupid comments when windows and the mouse began to replace console oriented systems.
    Bored? Funny? What are you talking about? No interface is fun by itself in the medium term. Fun is for games. Base, medium and utility software if for productivity.
    An interface is to be practical ¿Aesthetic? ¿Funny? yes.. well.. but not too much to be able to concentrate on the content. And that is what makes Metro: let us concentrate on the content.Metro is the UI of the future because it is the only one really oriented to the touch, and encompasses the previous interfaces.

  • Anony Mole

    Who will use Metro on a desktop? Metro is not designed for doing work, it’s designed for consuming it. It’s a layer to facilitate passive interaction. No one will actually use Metro to create content – just like the iFad, is only used to consume it. 

  •  The classic desktop is still there, but it’s clearly been turned into a second-class citizen of the user experience. Windows 8 starts off in Metro mode without the ability to force it otherwise, the Start menu’s been removed from desktop (requiring users to go through the Metro start screen to find and launch apps), and Marketplace is geared only towards selling Metro apps (it may support desktop ones, too, but it is clearly focused on not doing so if at all possible).

    That “classic” mode has been purposely messed with to make it more painful for those of us who need it far more than the touchy-feely Metro mode.

  • Brianm101

    Interesting we placed Windows 8 in front of some Windows 7 users of varying ability, every moment was hatred for them. Epecialy when we asked them to close down windows – average time 30mins to find the stupidly named Charm. Guess Windows 8 is more of a curse than a charm 🙂

  • Brianm101

    So why
    are they arrogantly ignoring the feedback? They could make Windows 8 just as
    irrelevant by simply putting back a boot into a Windows 7 mode. Keep everyone
    happy! 

  • Brianm101

    Microsoft has a very bad naming policy

    Windows ME named after a debilitating diseaseWindows Vista – a view of a disastrous operating
    system’sand now Metro the name of a British car from the 80’s
    – something that didn’t work  very well  and no-one wanted to be seen in!

    Nice one 🙂
    PS But at least they let us know whats coming…….

  • You seriously expect us to believe you sat and watched prople for 30 minutes on average?  Assuming most took a couple minutes and either found it or gave up, there were a handful that took hours, while you observed from a distance.  Sounds like a Monty Python skit.

  • Orion Adrian

    Did you accept hardware affordances? If not, then it’s not really a typical situation for the vast majority of computers these days. Microsoft is stating that 1) you don’t really need to turn off Windows 8 and 2) that if you do, you do it through the hardware which will be easily accessible on most devices.

  • Ricker Silva

    I really like your design, and being very close to microsoft, and very critic to them, I can see no reason to say it is or is not metro style. You also know that in the foundations of metro design there is the boards in airports and train stations, and bus stations. Why we can not make it pink and pop? No reason at all and the message, the intention and the content still are relevant.

    Now, I never thought bout metro this way. So I appreciate your post in removing some sharp tiles around my head. I’m not a UI designer either, I’m more focused on other aspects of software and I really think this kind of rule breaking approaches has to be made. This is the only way we van see further.

    However, I think this uniformity is not new and it’s not Microsoft who brought it. May be it’s the more aggressive incursion? I stil don’t think so. Take a look at iPhone, when it comes to stores it offered apps, and it immediately share it with iPod (an iPhone with no calling app). When you are developing apps for iOs many Ux characteristics are predefined by their rules, even color usage is limited to very specific parts, and they are alos moving all the scenery to desktop including many many features of iOs to desktop. That’s interestingly the opposite as Ms tried back in the days of Windows Mobile that was like a shrink version of winXp, and now everybody seem to be in the same path.

    Now look at Facebook, within facebook all the design, buttons wireframing has to be made following their rules. I mean, it oes not matter if your app is in facebook or in iOs or in WP7 or win8, you always feel like your in those platforms before you feel in the app itself. May be with iOs and FB apps is not so evident, they’ve been around for a while and designers started breaking rules fw time ago. Now it’s time to break those rule for metro and figure out How can I make my app idetifiable, fill it with character and personality, even being metro styled.

    Bottom line, I share your concern and your rebelion, But I don’t think it is way too diferent than what we already saw in iOs, apple, and Facebook… Android seem to be not so strict, but that’s another topic

  • Stephen

    I can see the marketing campaign now. “Think outside the box.” Microsoft is painting themselves into a corner and they are going to take many developers down with them. I’ve been programming MS platforms for 20 years, and this is the first time that I’ve been afraid to go down a road, hand-in-hand, with Microsoft. It seems that HTML5 may be my future platform.

  • David

    I like the fact that you care so much to write, design and theorise. You should be on the win9 planning team! Fortunately/Unfortunatley Metro is a way to unify the Microsoft experience across devices. The creative in us says no, but the sensible in us says yes. The OS fails I think have been largely down to a lack of unification. Once the platform is right, Microsoft should take it up a notch.

  • DanL

    “no unique upgrade or themed approach to the way you react to data”  – HUH?

  • Flyer

    It’s like you crawled inside my brain and pulled out my thoughts. I want Microsoft to succeed so badly (I use MS products everyday/all day as a .NET developer). And I am very slowly losing hope in Win8. 

    And I’ve seen the early screenshots of Visual Studio 11 and Office 15 and it makes me want to scream inside. What are they doing? It feels like they are pushing the industry backwards. 

    As I drive around sometimes, I wonder what if the world looked like Metro? I’d like to see an artist come up with an image satirizing that thought. There’d be no sun, only clouds, trees would have no leaves, and we’d be chewing old gum 🙂 But hey, we’d be able to focus on the content that looks…well the same (except for some apps like browsers, I get that).