I find it very intriguing that Microsoft chose to redesign its new Windows Phone 7 Series interface this way:
The design and layout of 7 Series’ UI (internally called Metro) is really quite original, utilizing what one of the designers (Albert Shum, formerly of Nike) calls an “authentically digital” and “chromeless” experience. What does that mean? Well we can tell you what it doesn’t mean — no shaded icons, no faux 3D or drop shadows, no busy backgrounds (no backgrounds at all), and very little visual flair besides clean typography and transition animations. The whole look is strangely reminiscent of a terminal display (maybe Microsoft is recalling its DOS roots here) — almost Tron-like in its primary color simplicity. To us, it’s rather exciting. This OS looks nothing like anything else on the market, and we think that’s to its advantage. Admittedly, we could stand for a little more information available within single views, and we have yet to see how the phone will handle things like notifications, but the design of the interface is definitely in a class of its own.
Curveball thrown. While the look has been in Zunes for sometime now, the real challenge lies in whether this will take off for mobile phones. I have to commend their bravery for taking this step, going the complete opposite of Apple’s love for rounded corners, gradients, and shadows. It also looks open and airy compared to all the boxes (no matter how rounded) on the iPhone.
It definitely changes the game a bit, and like several others I’m starting to feel like the Apple interface looks dated next to this one. Pretty big deal if you ask me.
This move could backfire. People tend to shy away from minimalism, not to mention it could actually be underdesigned, lacking in visual cues and icons. It falls short of the unified look Apple has built over the years, and I doubt it could start a UI revolution the way OS X did. Would Microsoft even use this for its desktop OS?
We’ll also have to find how it really measures up in real-world testing because the interface alone won’t determine success, but also performance and features (IE and Bing instead of Safari/Mozilla and Google? What apps will it have?). Still, bold is better than half-baked, and in the mobile space this look definitely sets them apart.