I am currently constructing the first prototype of the User Interface for Hippocampus. While thinking about User Interfaces and researching current UI-evolution I stumbled across the massive wave of unhappiness relating to the new Windows UI (also called Windows 8 style). I was kind of surprised, because I really enjoy the new Windows design.
So started thinking why I like the new UI that much. As for design principle, I am much like a Bauhaus-architect. Everything that can not be explained for a reason should not be included. Metro UI provides this:
Metro is font-oriented
Icon-Designers will understand: with increasing complexity and specialization, icons become more and more senseless. To differentiate between a pictographical money inflow before taxes and after taxes is as impossible as it is ridiculous. Therefore simply putting the title at a prominent position is more efficient and effortless to understand, both for users and designers.
Metro is colorful yet clear
Everyone knows the famous color-gradients and blurs in apple's apps. These simulated reflections make me hopeless as much as they annoy me. It’s like Apple taking the Windows XP-Design and sucking all colour out of it, keeping just red buttons. But these gradients and blurs steal the opportunity to differentiate for example between a light green and a dark green icon. Metro gives this opportunity. It uses many colors (a little bit too much for my taste), but shows the possibilities this gives us. The live tiles building up the start screen give the programs room to breathe while providing a clear and quick differentiation between the programs through their colours.
Metro guides the user-view
The metro principle to delete everything that is not absolutely necessary is helping the faster understanding and operating of the system. It is comparable to the development in Website-Design. The web 1.0 was extremely overloaded. All these exciting new functions and possibilities the internet provided had to be used and showed. Modern web design is more like “You don’t need that”. And as we see, surfing has gotten much more unstressful. Metro provides this natural view-guide.
Metro is more computer than mobile-oriented
With increasing power of mobile devices the amount of desktop-programs transferred onto mobile devices and their complexity is growing exponential. But the recent UI concepts are not upholding against these requirements. A more workflow-oriented UI concept is necessary. Working on a tablet should be as easy as it is on a real computer and working on a real computer should be as intuitive as it is on a tablet. The Metro UI tries to provide both these aspects, other than Apple. Think about navigating an iOS by mouse: this would feel ridiculous. Microsoft is really taking the first step here.