Let’s be honest. Microsoft has not always made the best decisions when it comes to their products (I know what you’re thinking…Vista) and their design has left something to be desired. But that was then, before Microsoft’s Metro Design Style.
I can’t help but get a tingly feeling all over when I start to think about the beautiful and functional design path Microsoft has taken. Metro Style is Microsoft’s design language as boasted in the Windows Phone 7, beginning in Windows Media Center and Zune. It is inspired by classic Swiss graphic design and way finding graphics in public transportation with an emphasis on simplicity and usability.
“It’s modern and clean. It’s fast and in motion. It’s about content and typography. And it’s entirely authentic.”
The Principles of Metro Design:
Content not Chrome
Typography is arguably the most important aspect of design, and Microsoft’s designers pay attention to it. They embrace large typography with their very own Segoe font family. Typography becomes the driving element from navigation to content will less focus on graphics. Flat, colored tiles placed on a grid make a layout that is practical and sophisticated.
We have seen the shifting trend in web design from web2.0 to more simplified elements and subtle gradients. Even so, Metro makes a bold entrance and yet hasn’t received the attention it deserves. Metro is more than just a design trend; it goes back to the fundamentals of Swiss graphic design and minimalist principles, but in today’s digital era. This era demands not only graphical principles, but motion principles as well. To Metro, “transitions are just as important as graphical design.” Metro’s principles of motion provide improved usability and add extra dimension and depth.
What makes Metro even more unique is the principle of content, not chrome. Chrome is user-experience lingo, referring to an application frame. This includes toolbars, menus, buttons, etc. Metro simplifies the interface, making content the star and the user the king.
“The innovation here is the fluidity of experience and focus on the data, without using tradition user interface conventions of windows and frames. Data becomes the visual elements and controls. Simple gestures and transitions guide the user deeper into content. A truly elegant and unique experience.”
– Isabel Ancona, User Experience Consultant
In sum, Metro is awesome. Check out these side-by-side comparisons of Windows Phone7 and iPhone. The iPhone looks clunky and in need of a facelift. Is Microsoft finally one step ahead?
screenshots from mortenjust.com