Posts tagged ‘MIX10’

July 12th, 2010

Metro UI – The Windows Phone 7 Aesthetic

METROThis year there was a lot of talk at MIX10 in Las Vegas about the new Windows Phone 7. A large part of this discussion was on Metro UI, the interface aesthetic driving the user experience on the new phone. The Keynotes spent a fair bit of time discussing the new phone and how Silverlight can power the experience of the phone.

I attended the MIX10 session – Windows Phone UI and Design Language which you can watch online:

List of Metro Principles:

  • Clean, Light, Open, Fast
  • Celebrate Typography
  • Alive in Motion
  • Content, Not Chrome
  • Authentically Digital

Twtpoll: – What words would you use to describe the new Metro UI design. ‘ Typography’ and ‘Content-Driven’ were my two.

The inspiration for Metro came from international mass transit, namely metropolitan train stations  and air ports in Europe and the United States. Microsoft created a neat little booklet that explains the Metro design aesthetic. Download the PDF. My big critic of Metro is that it claims to have drawn inspiration from international symbol design, however it seems to be extremely typographic heavy. They have done away with most of the symbols in favor of typography. And while it is very beautiful there is a level of concern in my mind with how well it will localize (translate into other languages). I can see a large German or Dutch word completely breaking the flow of a Metro UI. There are symbols still included in Metro, and they have been used to good effect as a sub-menu element.  I’m interested to see the future of Metro once Windows® Phone 7 goes international.

Here is a little interview with Albert Shum, Director of Mobile Experience Design at Microsoft. Listen direct from the source as he discusses the design inspiration for Windows® Phone 7.

January 18th, 2010

MIX10: Sales pitch or career resource?

I believe it’s common knowledge that vendor lead conferences will involve some level of marketing, otherwise how could you justify the expense to the bean counters. MIX10 is no exception.

Last year, there was a lot of hype about Blend/SketchFlow, Silverlight, Azure, and IE8. Some products lived up to the hype, others not so much. Regardless, the message was pretty one sided, Microsoft has some great new tools to help the designer/developer work flow improve and deliver outstanding content to users.

One thing I am seeing this year both from Microsoft as a company AND in some sessions is a real commitment to Open-Source and alternative technologies (JQuery, HTML5, PHP, MySQL, Ruby, Python to name a few). Seeing Microsoft include these technologies in the box with their software makes me smile. Windows Platform Installer will install and configure these technologies for you automatically. That’s a far cry from the nightmare it was to get PHP/MySQL running on an IIS server in the (recent) past. It now takes minutes. I also love seeing the Mix lab work with projects like Oxite, Gestald, and WordPress. I’m also seeing more session content revolving around these technologies. That’s a good thing.

I attended an event in Seattle put on by Interact Seattle a few months ago where two software evangelists Adam Kinney (Microsoft) and Ryan Stewart (Adobe) showcased their respective products Blend & Flash Catalyst side by side. This session created an amazingly interesting dynamic. It wasn’t about which features were better, it was about how tools could help execute and ultimately realize ideas. There was some great dialog during and after the presentations.

Seeing Open-Source technologies being talked about and used at MIX is a great step forward as far as breaking out of the “Marketing Marketing blah blah” of vendor conferences. I am hopeful that today, when the Open Call sessions are announced more of these alternative technologies will be showcased.

Finally, the part of MIX10 I’m looking forward to the most is getting a chance to talk with other industry professionals, most of which use Microsoft technologies, but not exclusively. It’s those conversations that I find the real value of a conference regardless of who is footing the bill.

See you in Vegas!