"Microsoft’s new mobile operating system, Windows Phone 7 (WP7), introduces a fresh approach to content organization and a different UX, based on the Metro design language and principles that will be incorporated into Windows 8. It also targets a different market than its predecessor: instead of being designed mainly for business and technology workers, WP7 is targeted at active people with a busy life, both offline and online, and who use social networks every day, whatever their background.
Why Should Designers Care?
First, it’s a new interface, so you have space to create and develop some new ideas for it. We are still at the beginning of its growing curve, so it’s an interesting challenge. When I saw a WP7 presentation for the first time, I thought, “I want to design something for this.” Exploring is a great way to learn how to build a new exciting experience for users.
Secondly, Metro design is a market reality that we can’t ignore. This is a new user experience that will be a part of Microsoft’s future OS, Windows 8, that will bring consistency across devices and that will put a strong emphasis on the Metro design. Instead of having a different interface for each device — phone, tablet and desktop — users will have the same experience everywhere, with only slight differences due to the nature and specificities of the device. Since the new version was released in late September (WP7.5, better known as Mango) and the release of the first WP7-based phones from Nokia (with its huge marketing firepower), it has become clear that Metro design devices will play a big role in the market.
[Editor's note: Have you already got your copy of the Smashing Book #2? The book shares valuable practical insight into design, usability and coding. Have a look at the contents.]
A New Approach To Design
With Metro, Windows Phone 7 is an exciting new addition to devices and operating systems for designers. It represents a completely new direction from Apple and Google in its interface for devices. For the first time in Microsoft’s history, the interface is strictly linked to the hardware, so carriers and manufacturers have very little room for customization. This gives us standards on which to base our work and to expand on in future applications.
This article is just a starting point in designing for this platform. Below are some additional resources to continue learning.
Smashing Magazine is one of my favorite design/UI/UX/etc sites and when I saw this, well I knew it was a must share...
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