My Thoughts On Metro UI

I’m a big fan of Microsoft’s Metro UI movement. And if you haven’t already noticed. I’ve even updated my blog’s theme to follow/support the Metro UI movement.

I’ve been reading and seeing quite a bit of negative reviews (by specialists?) on Microsoft’s Metro movement. e.g. http://betanews.com/2012/08/03/windows-8-looks-like-it-was-designed-by-a-bunch-of-two-year-olds-wired-from-watching-too-much-barney/

Being a Metro fan and a happy owner of a Nokia Lumia 800 Windows Phone. I thought I would come out and defend the Metro movement by sharing with you a few of the delicacies I’ve come to know and love about the Metro UI.

Performance

To me, this is the most important aspect of any user interface. Being born into the generation y era. We are known to be very impatient. So having to wait even for a few seconds would be an annoyance.

Metro is very responsive, as already mentioned by a few commentators in the article above – transparency was removed to increase the performance of the system. e.g. My Nokia Lumia 800 has inferior hardware to my brother’s Samsung Galaxy S2 (single core vs dual-core). Yet my Lumia is a lot more responsive than his Galaxy S2.

Usability

System applications now also use the much well received context-driven Ribbon (which is used across all the Office products). Call to action buttons are distinctly identifiable. Simple colours to help guide the eyes and keep you focused.

For Windows Phone – it’s touch and hold on an item until an action menu scrolls down with the available actions for the item. If an option is not available in the list, it’s not available. There’s no guessing whether you can make such action or not. And no ambiguity as how to do something to a item.

Geek talk: Developers are encouraged to use set-defined font types, colour schemes, etc. So when a user changes their colour scheme for their device. All their applications will also pick up the change and use the new colour scheme. Bringing a consistent colour scheme to all applications and not just the core device applications.

Elegant Animations

Animations, love them. Very subtle, so not to slow down your application loading. No need to explain how nice it is to have short and fancy transitions as you interact with the user interface.

Colourful / Fun

It makes great use of colour. It does not overwhelm the user with a overload of colour. The choice of colours chosen/used are warm colours, giving you a sense/feeling of warmth/fun just looking at the colours.

The colours used are also very good on the legibility when paired with a black or white coloured text – this means no need for weird coloured text or different coloured text for different coloured tiles.

Professional

The definition of “Windows” has been broken for good – I really like this new non-windows look. I believe it looks very professional.

Live Tiles

You don’t need to open an application to see new content. It’s right there in the start menu. Particularly useful for informational applications. e.g. Myki Balance Windows Phone Application from Ben McEvoy (http://www.windowsphone.com/en-AU/apps/f21f2943-51a1-4b00-bb97-a4d0fdd4aa1a)