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Windows Phone Metro is Dead

over 6 years ago from , Design & Code

Well not entirely dead, but according to this article [1], it's changing quite drastically. What set Windows Phone Design apart is basically being stripped away and it will follow similar patterns as on Android / iOS - as it will be easier for users to migrate to WP.

I'm a Windows Phone user (also use the others) and I can't say I'm agreeing with everything. I love pivots and panoramas and the emphasis on typography. But I'm just one data point...

But I think the main reasons why WP didn't grow as much as it could was because it was lacking the apps, not because of its distinct design language.

I'm now considering to make my iPhone my main phone.

If you're a WP user, what do you think about the coming changes?

[1] https://www.thurrott.com/mobile/windows-phone/3000/ex-microsoft-designer-explains-the-move-away-from-metro

4 comments

  • Hardi KHardi K, 6 years ago

    I think the biggest thing that was done wrong, was failure to communicate the design principles in a clear and easily understandable way. Sure, they had the example screens and code samples, but the biggest thing that Material Design and Apple HIG do, is that they explain you in simplest terms what to put where to have a nice-looking app.

    As a Windows Phone user who dabbles in front-end, I considered making a simple app. I dropped the project after 2 weeks of trying to piece together what UI components are available, how to use them, when and where. Even for the base grid I managed to find 4 separate incompatible versions. And then desktop and tablet Windows use a separate, different grid?

    In other words, design thinking was solid. Developer thinking was solid. Communication with possible app designers? Disaster.

    I can only hope that they will spend some time to create usable design documentation for next iteration. I mean, if a random CSS framework can document itself, how hard can it be?

    2 points
  • Sam MularczykSam Mularczyk, 6 years ago (edited 6 years ago )

    Aesthetically, pivots and panoramas were absolutely beautiful. However, from a UX perspective, they weren't solid enough to base an entire operating system around the two. Pivots were originally intended for filters, not for navigation between disparate areas of apps.

    That's why you see apps using pivots for navigation and panoramas for home screens, whereas on iOS and Android apps have more variety. The basic navigation principles just aren't flexible enough for app developers from other ecosystems.

    Plus, certain aspects of Windows Phone aren't that intuitive. Once you're used to it, it's incredible and by far the most fun and efficient OS out there. But if not, you might struggle to accomplish some tasks.

    That's why the design language is changing drastically. As a Windows Phone user, I'm wary of what we're seeing right now - some of it looks nice, but most of it looks totally unfinished. I have faith that they'll clean it all up, but we'll see.

    I remember hating the full-width tiles when they came out... now I couldn't imagine life without it. I sincerely hope it continues to be the most beautiful operating system out there... I'm also considering iPhone, but I'm not willing to give up my 41mp camera ;)

    2 points
    • adrian ioadrian io, 6 years ago (edited 6 years ago )

      You're right, pivots and panos aren't meant to be used as navigation and once you learn them they are a joy to use. I just think they should stick with Metro and evolve it further, to cater for more complex apps like Office. I'm not sure plonking in a hamburger menu and calling it job done stays true to the original Metro design principles. I wish the original Metro design team (Jeff Fong and co) could comment on this.

      From what I've read so far [1], people who use Windows Phone, chose it because it had a distinct design language, it was very different from iOS or Android. It was refreshing and new and in my opinion iOS and Android was inspired by Metro. Material design especially, but they evolved those principles further and made it theirs.

      Now it seems that distinctiveness is being removed from Windows Phone and loyal WP users are complaining (see [1] - almost 19k votes to not copy Android), rather than evolving Metro, MS are just copying Android as it seems. It's the safer route, yes, but will it increase adoption?

      I know we're missing tons of data that only Windows' design team has access to and these decisions were based on research and tons of testing. But just from the online outcry I've seen in the past few days, it seems that MS will alienate their loyal WP userbase,

      Why would an iOS or Android user want to switch over to Windows Phone, if it's almost going to be like Android, except with fewer features and apps.

      And are developers now suddenly going to port their apps over, because the design language is similar to Android and iOS?

      Let's see what the BUILD conf will bring, but at the moment I can't share your optimism.

      I'm hoping you'll be right though ;)

      [1] https://windowsphone.uservoice.com/forums/101801-feature-suggestions/suggestions/6623043-stick-to-modern-don-t-copy-android

      0 points
  • Nemanja NenadicNemanja Nenadic, 6 years ago

    I have some old Nokia Lumia 5XX. Very cheap phone for testing. It can beat any Android in performance area. Everything is so smooth on this cheap device. But yeah, you couldn't even find up to date official Twitter app :/

    I also liked Metro UI (on the phones, not the desktops!).

    1 point