Metro Design

Richard

Technology Novice
This is something that I have been pondering for some time and which you probably can only "understand" if you use the Magic Trackpad.
Let me start this way: I bought the Trackpad some time ago (Snow-Leopard?) but it did not "click". A few weeks ago, I tried again with the Mac-native configuration and more emphasis on the multi-Desktop and Launchpad/Mission-control concept of Lion and it works *really* well. In fact, my magic mouse is now gone from my Desktop.
So lets take a look at Metro: Most UI try to give a unified "concept" on what you are working on: Most times it is a "Desk" on which different layers of "Tool" is stacked.
Take iOS: you "open" an App in iOS and it is put "atop" the Desktop, you "drill down" to siri or "pull down" a curtain of information.
I think MS is trying to change the metaphor more to an "endless Paper" on which you work instead of the Desk which you switch (in iOS you jump from one "Desk" to another). Think of a Paper "under" the screen that you can move like you do with some Applications (Graphics/Mindmaps) on the Mac or on iOS.
This "endless Paper" really only works with touch/multitouch and that is why IMHO Metro looks so horrible to a lot of people right now who are basically "trained" on a mouse/keyboard combination but IMHO this may be a "good" Design for PCs that use (Multi)Touch:
Smartphones/Tablets/LAPTOPS/ and PCs with Trackpads.

That said, MS seems to bet a lot on that most consumers will switch to a touch aware device with their new devices (Laptops) that run Metro. The point I try to make is, that Metro seems to be tailored towards touch-input: for better or for worse. But the "concept" of Trackpads on PCs is sound... the question is: will the consumer go along and ditch the mouse?
 

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
Interesting possibilities. One serious problem for Microsoft is the fact that their customer base in recent quarters has moved more towards businesses than ever. But businesses don't want to be forced to retrain people so they can continue to use their computers. Microsoft may hope that a wholesale change is a good thing, but this may not be the change their customers can believe in.
 

Richard

Technology Novice
I would not want to make predictions how this Metro-Design will be accepted in the consumer/business communities but what I saw in the last weeks is that the multi-touch Trackpad really is able to replace the mouse and Apple seems to be preparing for this (Especially the Mission Control and Multi-Desktops are just *made* for use in conjunction with a Trackpad). MS seems to want to "get ahead" by pressing that technology into their Segment.... whatever the cost

You read it here first: The Trackpad will become the Input device of choice for modern PCs (Apple and Microsoft) by 2015 :D
 

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
No argument. But it's going to be a hard sell for me. I tried Apple's Magic Trackpad during a one month product loan from Apple. I used it maybe a few hours and went back to my Logitech mouse. But that's just me.
 

Richard

Technology Novice
Did you use it on Lion? At first, it did not work for me either (in Snow-Leopard) but that was
  • Because I "overloaded" it with Gestures, making it useless as Mouse
  • Lion's new Desktop-Management and Mission control makes the Trackpad a great.... well "Mission Control"-Device...
We will see how it plays out but I think that is why MS decided to push Metro so hard... I really see no other justification to push Metro unto the Desktop unless there was some Strategy meeting in which they looked at sales-figures and came to the conclusion that the Laptop/Pad Market is the place to be in the coming 5 years... at all costs...
Recent image by Roj_Blake78 on Photobucket
 

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
Migrating to a touch interface has to be a natural interaction, not just teaching people new tricks. That's why Apple's integration of iOS features and gestures into OS X has been gradual. I don't like the Magic Trackpad. The mouse is a great aid for my work. Why should I use something else unless it's better. And the Magic Trackpad is not better for the work I do.
 

Lordkiwi

Technology Novice
This is something that I have been pondering for some time and which you probably can only "understand" if you use the Magic Trackpad.
Let me start this way: I bought the Trackpad some time ago (Snow-Leopard?) but it did not "click". A few weeks ago, I tried again with the Mac-native configuration and more emphasis on the multi-Desktop and Launchpad/Mission-control concept of Lion and it works *really* well. In fact, my magic mouse is now gone from my Desktop.
So lets take a look at Metro: Most UI try to give a unified "concept" on what you are working on: Most times it is a "Desk" on which different layers of "Tool" is stacked.
Take iOS: you "open" an App in iOS and it is put "atop" the Desktop, you "drill down" to siri or "pull down" a curtain of information.
I think MS is trying to change the metaphor more to an "endless Paper" on which you work instead of the Desk which you switch (in iOS you jump from one "Desk" to another). Think of a Paper "under" the screen that you can move like you do with some Applications (Graphics/Mindmaps) on the Mac or on iOS.
This "endless Paper" really only works with touch/multitouch and that is why IMHO Metro looks so horrible to a lot of people right now who are basically "trained" on a mouse/keyboard combination but IMHO this may be a "good" Design for PCs that use (Multi)Touch:
Smartphones/Tablets/LAPTOPS/ and PCs with Trackpads.

That said, MS seems to bet a lot on that most consumers will switch to a touch aware device with their new devices (Laptops) that run Metro. The point I try to make is, that Metro seems to be tailored towards touch-input: for better or for worse. But the "concept" of Trackpads on PCs is sound... the question is: will the consumer go along and ditch the mouse?

Endless paper is an apt discripton of the new interface. But what you assume is all of the scrolling that the endless paper motif will be rejected on the desktop. What your missing is that with the endless paper model as your screen resolution goes up you simply see more of the page at any one time. on a phone you see one colume, while on a tablet you may see two or three columes. On a desktop you will usualy see all columes of an application with scroling reserved for either going up and down with in a colume or scrolling a list such as picture gallery.

Touch guesters are not required for when using the mouse. There are only gesture that would be missed without out touch or multi touch mouse is two finger zoom.
 

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
It's not just the endless paper scheme, which may be a hard sell, but the fact that Microsoft is asking people to change their ways, kicking and screaming, without a valid reason to do so. And integrating desktop and mobile may look good on paper, but it has to be done with precision and care, not just because it sounds good.
 

Richard

Technology Novice
What your missing is that with the endless paper model as your screen resolution goes up you simply see more of the page at any one time. on a phone you see one colume, while on a tablet you may see two or three columes. On a desktop you will usualy see all columes of an application with scroling reserved for either going up and down with in a colume or scrolling a list such as picture gallery.

Touch guesters are not required for when using the mouse. There are only gesture that would be missed without out touch or multi touch mouse is two finger zoom.
That IS kinda ingenious... and I really did not think how that UI scales up from phone to tablet though on a Desktop I'd guess it would be somewhat a waste since phone/Tablets display a lot less information due to their small device-size. I guess the "serious" Desktop-Applications will stay similar in design (though MS seems to experiment to allow only certain screen-estate for the Application).
I think the "endless paper" metaphor is not "bad" but in a mouse-environment, it just "is" without any benefits compared with the start-menu and that in itself is "bad" because nobody wants to learn new tricks, especially if there is no obvious benefit. (Think of the ribbons: for me, they did not do anything positive or negative but I had to learn a new Interface and that produces frustration)

The "scaling up" really is a good idea... it would allow for different screen sizes without too much hassle: The device-screen defines the "window" through which to look on the "Paper"... if that works out, I'll be impressed: MS seems to really have given that interface some serious thoughts....
 

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
Microsoft doesn't collectively demonstrate they can devise better ways of doing things. The ribbon is just an old fashioned toolbar with a new name. Metro hasn't taken Windows Phone very far. And don't forget the Zune.
 

Lordkiwi

Technology Novice
That IS kinda ingenious... and I really did not think how that UI scales up from phone to tablet though on a Desktop I'd guess it would be somewhat a waste since phone/Tablets display a lot less information due to their small device-size. I guess the "serious" Desktop-Applications will stay similar in design (though MS seems to experiment to allow only certain screen-estate for the Application).
I think the "endless paper" metaphor is not "bad" but in a mouse-environment, it just "is" without any benefits compared with the start-menu and that in itself is "bad" because nobody wants to learn new tricks, especially if there is no obvious benefit. (Think of the ribbons: for me, they did not do anything positive or negative but I had to learn a new Interface and that produces frustration)

The "scaling up" really is a good idea... it would allow for different screen sizes without too much hassle: The device-screen defines the "window" through which to look on the "Paper"... if that works out, I'll be impressed: MS seems to really have given that interface some serious thoughts....

To this day, I encounter regular computer user who do not know how to click start, click all programs, and locate Word under Microsoft Office folder. When it comes down to it the new full screen start page performs the same purpose, just more in your face without all of the cascading menus. The new UI has a reduction in complexity of two steps. Since Windows Vista, you have been able to simply click start or press the start key and type a function, word, printer, landscape project etc. And windows would shift the start menu to a listing of applications, system control panels (expanded in 7) and indexed documents. Windows 8 provides the same functionality using the exact same steps only visually different. Windows 8 goes one-step further and expands the search results to include any Windows 8 application with a search contract. Therefore, you can easily search a cookbook app or Flixster app or Netflix using the exact same procedure. Learning a new interface can be disruptive, but if anything Apple has proven to everyone with iPhone and iPad is that, the traditional Microsoft interface is not the only interface. Users are adopting IOS and android every day and despite there interfaces not being the traditional Microsoft way.

The UI also "Scales in" and automaticly supports three scaling factors for retna like displays 100%, 140% and 180% . its simply a matter of the OEM's installing a high DPI high DPI display.
 

Lordkiwi

Technology Novice
It's not just the endless paper scheme, which may be a hard sell, but the fact that Microsoft is asking people to change their ways, kicking and screaming, without a valid reason to do so. And integrating desktop and mobile may look good on paper, but it has to be done with precision and care, not just because it sounds good.




One thing that has been said oft enough is that Enterprise are hard grained in to the Microsoft way of doing things and do not want to change. It been noted, several times, that Enterprises are only now switching from XP to Windows 7 as a case in point. In 2010 Windows 7 was declared the fastest selling version of windows, something Vista failed to ever achieve. Yet Enterprises are only now migrating to 7, this means that the grow of windows 7 came from the consumer space rather than trickling down from the Enterprise space as it had been true in the days prior to XP. Again, Apple proves that consumer adoption spurs Enterprise adoption as IOS’s devices are gaining traction in the Enterprise space as never before.

Microsoft has decidedly aimed this version of Windows at consumers, not the enterprise. While Windows 8 supports all Windows 7 applications, the flavor dubbed Windows RT, for ARM devices will not join a windows domain and will only support MetroUI applications, with one exception Office 15. Office 15, which is in technical preview, now is a full application not crippled app version. In my experience 8 out of 10 exec’s, (not regular workers), use there iPad’s for email, web and occasionally Doc’s to go or similar, and complain bitterly that they can’t just have office on their device making it perfect for them.



 

Lordkiwi

Technology Novice
Goes to show the problems with today's Windows. But seeing that Metro failed on the Zune and Windows Phone, it's questionable whether it'll work as the face of Windows.




Great UI does not always mean a winning product. Windows 3.1 did not nearly crush Apple at the time because the UI was great, good or even cute. Aggressive marketing and shady business practices did. At the same time, the Metro UI on both the Zune and Window Phone 7 have both been well received. The Zune not taking off was largely due to it launching right as the standalone MP3 player market dyeing. And while it had an innovative UI There was no compelling value for a market that was switching from standalone players to Smartphones /w mp3 or minimalist MP3 players like the iPod Nano.



Windows phone 7 on the other hand has been suffering from lack of marketing not a poorly received UI. In fact, a recent PCmag (original) survey showed that Windows Phone 7 user satisfaction was the same as IOS with both ranking an 8.7 out of 10, while android pulls in a 7.9 out of 10. Apple is always in the radar, but Microsoft is actually targeting Google in this battle. Android rocketed out the gates while the iPhone was still an ATnT, exclusive and there was a huge pent up demand for an alternative. Androids massive activation numbers are masked by the fact that the majority of the handsets are these low spec devices, in the rest of the world. Now Microsoft marketing machine is in place. Atnt has made the Nokia Lumia 900 there official Hero phone and removed the iPhone and all Android phones from that list. You can call him a corporate plant but thanks to Stephen Elop (former Microsoft VP) now CEO of Nokia. Nokia is all in with windows phone and Marketing heavily. After three weeks, The Nokia Lumia is in shortage at atnt stores. Amazon.com rates windows phones as 4 of the top 5 and 9 of the top 20 phones. And not be left out Verizon recently announced they would be returning to Windows Phone marketing in time for Windows Phone 8 in the fall. Xbox 360 migrated to the MetroUI interface last fall. Zune did not fail because of the UI alone, and Windows Phone 7 is now on track. It’s simply too early to predict the long term acceptance of the MetroUI.
 

Richard

Technology Novice
Windows phone 7 on the other hand has been suffering from lack of marketing not a poorly received UI.
Probably less "suffering" than MS trying to push the features in and knowing they can not compete with the iPhone: WP8 will IMHO be the Version which MS tries to sell. Everything up until now was "catch up".

but Microsoft is actually targeting Google in this battle. Android rocketed out the gates while the iPhone was still an ATnT, exclusive and there was a huge pent up demand for an alternative.
A few weeks ago, Gene had a discussion with Daniel Eran Dilger in which Daniel said the same thing: Google wanted a Product to compete against a domination of the smartphone-market by MS (with their Bing)
This fall certainly will be interesting: MS makes its bid for market share in the smartphone-market and if they fail to grab a sizable percentage, its over for them.

P.s: Kinda interesting how the former Hardware-makers have been rolled up by the software guys: We have been living in the last 10 years through a period in which the focus of smartphones shifted from Hardware to the software... We see History in the making and one day, Historians may call this the time when electronic devices became truly ubiquitous.
 

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
And remember that what AT&T says about short supplies may be because stocks were limited. Or it's just hype. We do not have any actual sales numbers. They are just blowing smoke otherwise.
 

Lordkiwi

Technology Novice
And remember that what AT&T says about short supplies may be because stocks were limited. Or it's just hype. We do not have any actual sales numbers. They are just blowing smoke otherwise.

That wont be till June, I am glad they began this launch at the beginning of the Quarter in April. When the numbers for the Q2 come out in July they will reflect a full cycle. Nokia cought a lot of flack with bad numbers when they released there last product 3 weeks before the end of the Quarter.
 

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
And remember that if Lumia sales were really terrific, AT&T would be shouting the results to the skies! They haven't. Remember when Apple released both iPhone and iPad sales results for the first on sale weekend in recent years. What's AT&T going to tell us, when in the last quarter, 78% of their smartphone activations were iPhones. Where would that business be without Apple, and remember that one of the key reasons T-Mobile has been repeating less-than-stellar results, by their own admission, is the lack of an iPhone in their inventory.
 

Lordkiwi

Technology Novice
Goes to show the problems with today's Windows. But seeing that Metro failed on the Zune and Windows Phone, it's questionable whether it'll work as the face of Windows.

It would seem Steve Wozniak was won over by the Nokia Lumia 900. iPhone remains his primary device because of the Apps. The Microsoft App store is growing at 340+ apps per day so its only a matter of time before holes in the catalog are filled.
 
Top