Coffeehouse Thread

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Why does Microsoft hate Visio?

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  • User profile image
    ScanIAm

    Oh crap, someone left the door open and the metro designers snuck in.

  • User profile image
    Harlequin

    All the new products have the Modern UI, Office 2013, SharePoint Designer....

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    ScanIAm

    I can't help but wonder if the reason Win8 is going to run so well on ARM devices is that the new UI is so lifeless and bland.

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    exoteric

    , ScanIAm wrote

    I can't help but wonder if the reason Win8 is going to run so well on ARM devices is that the new UI is so lifeless and bland.

    Well, if there ever was a place where low-noise graphics made sense, it must be Visio. Metro must be about a higher signal-to-noise ratio -- making it faster to understand what you see and therefore making you more (to use a marketing term) productive. Diagrams should be a perfect fit for that.

    I don't think Metro has to mean lifeless or bland, in fact one of the phrases used to describe it is "fast and fluid" - but it surely can be implemented in a way that makes it feel boring and uninteresting.

    Google Chrome was also marketed on its simple UI. The UI was supposed to get as much out of the way as possible so you could focus on the content you were browsing (which makes its name ironic; surely on purpose but ironic still). The smaller the device, the more sense that makes but in any event, irrelevant detail never helps productivity.

    It's kind of a balance; you probably don't want the chrome to be so sterile as to impact the overall UX negatively but on the other hand you don't necessarily want the Apple-way of super-detailed 3D chrome either because that has a lot of irrelevant detail; it looks beautiful though. I think one place where the UX is too sterile or boring (for my taste) is the new start screen.

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    Bas

    Metro is supposed to be "alive with activity", which I think is the greatest failing of all these "we got rid of lines, now it's metro" UIs.

  • User profile image
    DeathBy​VisualStudio

    @exoteric: I've been using the Office 2013 preview since it's release and while the apps are somewhat eye pleasing when you go to use them they are a PITA as they've washed away too much chrome, same problem with VS 2012 -- it's hard to track things visually. I know all of the keyboard monkeys will say "there's a key combo for that; why use such silly things as a mouse or touch". Regardless of their excuses I find myself scanning the UI frequently looking for less often used features. I didn't mind the original switch to the ribbon but this is just going too far. I'm all for a clean looking interface but they need to dial it back a little. Outlook in particular feels like they took a bunch of parts made in isolation, threw them all together, and then erase some of the chrome so they look like they belonged. Outlook.com does a much better job.

    If we all believed in unicorns and fairies the world would be a better place.
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    MasterPi

    , exoteric wrote

    I think one place where the UX is too sterile or boring (for my taste) is the new start screen.

    Ultimately, this is up to how the tiles are designed. One could reduce it to a bunch of small solid colored rectangles atop a single color background and then make the argument that the start screen looks dull because it was designed that way. But the content that appears on the tiles is probably the most important part of the design as metro is largely meant to optimize information delivery.Basically, if you were to appeal to gestalt principles, the total design of the screen ultimately depends on the designs of each individual tile. Currently, a lot of these designs are not completely interesting.

    Take the weather tile...when expanded it shows a weather icon, the temperatures, and current location. But this information is presented in a grid and this grid is shoved to the left side of the tile, leaving lots of empty space to the right. The tile taken on its own is a lame (and possibly weak) visualization of weather information - they could do more, but chose the easiest way of conveying information: a weather graphic and a blob of text. It's effective, but it's not particularly interesting, and it stands to reason whether more useful information could be portrayed in some alternative design.

     

  • User profile image
    MasterPi

    , Bas wrote

    Metro is supposed to be "alive with activity", which I think is the greatest failing of all these "we got rid of lines, now it's metro" UIs.

    It fails because people do the bare minimum like "flatten" everything and use large fonts (and as you say, get rid of lines). They don't go further and try to actually design their content. It's like they took a great looking website template and just stuck their content in there -> the design is for the content, but you have to have a sense of what you want to convey and you have to shape your design around those goals. Metro is a guideline; it doesn't do all the work for you.

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