Boarding the Metro
“Metro is our design language. We call it Metro because it’s modern and clean. It’s fast and in motion. It’s about content and typography. And it’s entirely authentic.”
These are Microsoft’s words to describe their new user interfaces across their products. We had seen glimpses of it in Zune software, but it made it’s formal debut with Windows Phone 7, and now they plan to take it across all their current and future products to create a unified experience. And I love it.
Metro truly encompasses the future. I love that it is fresh and different; it’s unique vision of technology and interactivity with the user is phenomenal. I even sometimes find it breathtaking. Many companies have made their tries in creating engaging user experiences and interfaces, and even though they are well executed, like the iPhone and the iPad, I find that they are going in the wrong direction.
Take iOS for example. The entire UI, while revolutionary, bases itself in an undying nostalgia in the user, their longing for a natural way to interact with computers. Their Address Book app, or the Calendar, they try to imitate the look of a notebook, and a wall calendar. And they are wrong. They are not. It is a screen the user is talking to. And by trying to cover that, they are missing on some truly unique opportunities for some truly unbelievable opporunities only possible with technology today. Microsoft on the contrary has truly embraced this.
Another thing to note about Metro is how it makes a company feel like it really is in control. Like they know what they are doing. That reassures the user and makes them feel confident about purchasing and using their product. If a company like Google pushes out a product, most likely it has a rather different UI than the product that was announced a week before it. Prior to a few weeks ago with the launch of Google+, no more than two Google services looked alike. And icons look different for the same application if you access it somewhere else. You will not see the same Maps icon twice.
Now that Microsoft has fully embraced Metro in all its products, i can honestly sa Metro is the future. And it excites me.
Hardcore techies want every OS to act like good old Linux. The problem? There are 7,000 million people on this planet, and most of them don’t care.
With current release of the Consumer Preview of Windows 8, people have been throwing bad comments all over the web, mostly regarding they want the old desktop back. But this kind of commentary is nothing new. With the recent release of GNOME 3 and Ubuntu’s Unity interface for Linux, hardcore geeks that liked to customize every last bit of the interface and functionality of their OS have been harsh on the backlash they make to the people behind them.
I understand why they do this. They like the customization, and they are hardcore geeks for a reason. But with the release of the iPhone and subsequently the iPad, we have observed a dramatic shift on what people want on their devices and computers. Natural, uncluttered and easy to use interfaces. Technology, as ever changing as it is, aims primarily to make the lives of people easier. People have bought billions of iPads because they are so easy to use, kids and animals can use them. Elderly people love them, disabled people love them, kids love them, medical professionals love them, and I suspect artists will start soon. So why are you so adamant to understand that Windows and Canonical would want a piece of the action as well? Apple has made it clear, people want stuff that works, not to download a bunch of utilities and customizations the moment they buy a new device to that will become less of a hassle.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Most fields of technology have seen a slew of drastic changes and revolutionary advancements in the past few years. Change and new features are introduced rapidly. New apps and services pop-up like hot cakes every two minutes. But people seem very adamant about change, and I don’t understand why. It has to become clear that this is how things work nowadays. OSes release a new version every year, some upgrades will be incremental, some will be drastic. Apps will refocus and improve as soon as a new feature is ready for the public. It’s time to get with the program and embrace it. In fact, take joy in it. Maybe spaceships are not too far ahead.