Minimalism - The Metro Experience

The new look of Microsoft is Metro, as we all know by now.It is very attractive at first glance, and offers a great minimalistic interface.



Utility and Minimalism

This "Get in, Get out, Get on with Your Life" is exactly what I had been looking for in a phone, so I got a Windows Phone 7. Having used the Samsung Focus for a year or so, I have become rather familiar with this way of working. It is completely opposite of what other phone makers are doing. They are adding more chrome and more bloat to every new device that is released, making the requirements for the processor speeds go up, to handle all of this extraneous processing. A good example of this is HTC's Sense UI.




Tactile Inexperience

After the initial honeymoon phase of loving everything Metro, you get to a point where you are just using it to get work done. This of course happens with every device and interface, but with Metro, it feels as if it is missing a human touch. 

The immense darkness of Metro's black backgrounds gives off a rather gloomy vibe after a while. So I thought maybe I will turn the theme to 'light' and give that a shot for a few days. While the white theme did make it seem a little less depressing, it felt like a blank canvas where only text existed and the screen space was just being wasted. 



Life in Metro

Using only three colors throughout the interface was a great starting point, but the lack of any sort of styling or visual flare to simulate a real life experience  in the interface, really keeps me away from wanting to actually live in the device. Some shadows to simulate an artificial light source, a simple gradient to expose a button from the surface it is attached to, and a compressing of the button as it is clicked, are just a few of the things that could help simulate the humanly experience of pressing an actual button in real life. 






Even something as simple as putting a background behind the text based interface, does so much to change the experience for the better; as demonstrated by the Pictures hub.




Taking a real live example would be Google's new interface overhaul across their Web Apps. A simple play of grays has worked wonders for them, but were it not for the shadows and gradients on buttons, and the simple highlights around elements to show focus really differentiate the experience of using the app, the gray could might as well be non-existent.





These missing subtleties are what make Metro feel very inhuman, and incomplete. Metro has a long way to go/grow to get a mindshare that all these new platforms have captured. At least this is my impression so far of Metro. What is your experience of using Metro day to day?