Ex-Microsoft Designer Explains The Move Away From Metro

Paul Thurrott:

“Windows Phone’s original interaction model put actions on the bottom and navigation on the sides, as swipes,” the design lead notes. “That’s not a great pattern for a variety of reasons.” Long story short, panoramas and pivots are good for exploration (like spinning through photos) but are not good for organizing information. And other platforms have adopted a common UX layout with common actions (commands) on the bottom, navigation on the top, and less-needed commands found hidden behind a hamburger menu or similar UI. Only Windows Phone lacked this UX model. So it had to change … And swiping sucks.

Lots of eye-opening user experience insights about how to design for people using smartphone apps. And here’s why Metro was designed the way it was:

“Metro had to shock people. It had to look like its own thing. And it did that really well. Pivots, panos, big text, black everywhere, it looked like art. And more than that it looked different … But I think the platform has paid for it ever since. They stood out, they were distinctive, but the interaction design wasn’t where it needed to be. So you have diehards that love it, but you have the mainstream of the market that struggles with it, if they try at all.”

Marry that superb typography to a large (5.5-inch or larger), absolutely black, high-ppi (~550 ppi), OLED display and you’ve got something nobody else has. And make it so I can write and draw with the Surface stylus. That, I will definitely try.