Layman’s Take on Nokia Lumia 800- Take a look over it without shadows of anything

Windows Phones: The Metro UI

From where this Windows 7.5 Metro UI came?

Metro is an internal code name for a typography-based design language created by Microsoft, originally for use in Windows Phone 7. Early uses of the Metro principles, such as the typography, began as early as Microsoft Encarta 95, and later evolved into products such as Windows Media Center and Zune.

Zune HD was a Portable Touch Screen Media Player launched by Microsoft back in 2009 with Nvidia Tegra APX 2600 chip to compete with Apple iPod and probably was the first instance of Microsoft’s typography-based design language in a portable device, whose evolution would ultimately spread to Windows Phone and the short-lived Kin phones. It uses a font family called "Zegoe", which is a modified version of Microsoft’s font family, Segoe.

Coming back to Metro, "Metro" is based on the design principles of classic Swiss graphic design. Microsoft’s design team says that the Metro UI is partly inspired by signs commonly found at public transport systems and places a large focus on typography and has large text that catches the eye. Microsoft says that Metro is designed to be "sleek, quick, modern" and a "refresh" from the icon-based interfaces of Windows, Android and iOS. The innovation here is the fluidity of experience and focus on the data, without using tradition user interface conventions of windows and frames. Data becomes the visual elements and controls. Simple gestures and transitions guide the user deeper into content. A truly elegant and unique experience.

In simple words,

Metro UI means a UI stressing more on Text rather than involving conventional icons/graphics/windows etc. Text here is the data itself that feels alive due to smooth and natural animations and looks beautiful due to a specifically designed Font family and uneven sizes of Text. It was a very fresh approach considering the interfaces we seen lately and so was a breath of fresh Air for the Smart Phone world. Even the basics like making a phone call or sending a text message does feel like a futuristic experience.

Going Metro was kind of very interesting move by Microsoft after earlier versions of Windows Mobile. Like I said, at first, it was a departure from icons\graphics based, secondly and most importantly, it was the end of fragmentation in Windows Ecosystem.

The people, who been watching Smartphones and multiple ecosystems closely, will find it most interesting that how beautifully Microsoft managed to do an Apple, an Android and a Nokia just together.

A minimum and strict standard for hardware to ensure seamless performance on each device coming out and independence in software updates from Operators just like Apple (It seems that Microsoft giving up against carriers now), multiple vendors on board competing each other & offering cutting edge hardware just like Android and expertise of Nokia in durability and market reach. These all comes together with only one platform that is Windows Phone.


Just think how beautifully Microsoft managed to keep away their OS from being skinned from multiple vendors which keeps almost all the Windows Phone devices look and behave alike and so allowing Microsoft to keep update schedules streamlined just like the way they do with their Desktop OS (Actually not like that now, but its on the same path).

Windows Phone is not a slow operating system, there’s no lag in the transitions or scrolling, the manipulation of thumbnails, images, artwork and text flipping, folding and sliding around the screen as you move between applications is seamless.

Windows Phones are unique in the way that this doesn’t feel like a jungle of apps. On other platforms including even Nokia’s Symbian, one needs to know that which app, he/she should look for doing a certain task and if he/she chooses a different alternative app then he/she need to go through a different learning curve for the new app.

But in case of Windows, Microsoft has strictly mentioned the guidelines for developers that ensures that all the apps look and behave like the operating system itself in their appearances, so that a user never feels out of touch, whatever he might be exploring. Like there are a number of twitter apps including the official twitter app with different features, but each and everyone of them looks just the same. A challenge for developers but a delight for n00bs.

In Windows Phone Metro UI, every app shares the same basics; keep away from buttons\graphics, rely on swiping more and more, split the options in panoramic view so that rather than finding a button or text, a user just need to blindly swipe the UI on a side to go through various options. (Isn’t it reminds you MeeGo?)

And all this white, the name of app hub (like Pictures or People) will be shown on top in biggest fonts and then various other headings and text in hierarchy of sizes. Bold usually denotes clickable Text while light and normal Text meant for information. There might be an argument for wasted screen real estate, but as long as it looks beautiful and gives access of all required info to you in an easy way, not many gonna complain on it.


26 thoughts on “Layman’s Take on Nokia Lumia 800- Take a look over it without shadows of anything

  1. Nice review , by the way about OTA , it’s a wp7 limitation and not lumia , soon wp in market currently supports OTA same is true about other few features.

  2. Good post , though I must say I couldn’t read it in one go 🙂
    Even though I havent used or tried any WP device for more than half an hour, I just hated UI and how it looks. I don’t think that perception of ugly,over simplified UI will change.
    As expected and read all over for me 3 things stand out for WP. These can make it success.
    1) People Hub
    2) Brilliant Office Suite ( and its FREE)
    3) Email

    But sadly I feel Nokia is going away from their soul and going Apple way.
    This may be good for company(I really doubt) but not good for industry as whole.

    1. Suyog,
      I had similar sentiments about WP UI before trying it myself. Even I mentioned once that I felt those uneven fonts as ugly. But trust me, views are bound to change once you allow it grow over you. Not all the praises going around are dummy.

      1. Agree with Nitish, once I got my hands on Lumia 800, I didn’t like UI for few hours or a day and missed home screens. But later, started loving the UI and now I am a fan of UI. 🙂

    2. People hub is exceptional as just like Meego it brings all social activities at one place and like WebOS it brings all the photos (even twitter ones).
      So in all, people hub will effectively help people managing their social needs without going behind any apps that is a great thing for n00bs or even people coming from Symbian/Meego.

      Second great thing is speed of UI that literally no offers either be Symbian or Android

  3. Suyog, I’ll agree with Nitish.. in just two words…. you will see my views about it changing too… it’s actually a good UI. there are however some features that really were needed but if talking about UI, seriously I think if I was given more time with it I would been liking this UI. and I’ll not say like many out there that “Windows Phone 7.5” is not that good to be used.

    But still I’ll say that MeeGo on N9 (for its given time) has been the most *Mature* smartphone OS (in most of the aspects) among all of them.

    And Nitish; that really is great post above, I’ll try to read it completely 😛

  4. Very interesting article, Nitish. I’m very exited with Windows phone on Nokia, but lack of BT and file transfer worries me. Nokia has been great among other things because of its flexibility and versatility. Does is support USB on the go, like my N8? What about something small but GREAT in functionality, notification light? Man, I think Nokia should never get rid of this. It helps the user so much to see through a notification light, that you have a missed event.

  5. Quite a thorough article on the Lumia 800(& upcoming 900)windows phone. The most important things for me are:i’m not going to sell a Rolls Royce to ride a better handlind motorcycle-ie,my Nokia E7-00 vs any Lumia! No storage! No tethering! No bluetooth! No sale!

  6. One of the most comprehensive review of Lumia 800 I have read. sheer Brilliant.

    Are u still using this device? How is the battery life holding up for you?

    Any word on Lumia 900 launch date in india?


  7. The best review of WP that I have seen , kudos to u Mr. Kumar ! U r right , the Lumia 800 is beautiful ; it should be since it`s a copy of the N9 ! But that same design is also a problem in certain areas of the world ( more about this in a bit . ) .
    i`ve always said that WP has potential but it`s still immature ( Takes 3 years to work out enough of the bus and work enough features in , to make the OS useful . ) , seriously late to the party and there r too many other OEMs trying to get a piece of the pie . In all fairness to Nokia , they haven`t had a chance to make an impact on WP yet , maybe WP8 will change this . Nor have the Lumias been out too long , though this is changing . So it`s still a bit early to say for sure .
    That said , WP hasn`t exactly taken off yet , marketshare is still single digits . Nor do I like the Metro UI , though my issue with it is more function than form ( but I do think it`s ugly !) . I firmly believe that a homescreen should convey enough info to keep u current at a glance , and the Metro UI doesn`t do this . Even Windows Mobile could do this !
    WP`s biggest problem , IMHO , is it`s requirements for a constant connection and Skydrive . Not so much a problem in developed countries , but in emerging markets with their infrastructure issues and the need to watch data usage, it`s a different thing entirely . I don`t think WP will do well in emerging markets ( It seems to not be … ) , though it also doesn`t seem to be doing well in many developed countries either , with the USA , Finland and Russia as notable exceptions .
    Nor will do well in countries where the N9 was a success, most notably China , due to the problem that WP is functionally inferior to Meego , and Symbian , for that matter . even the new 311 is better from what I can tell !
    For these reasons , I don`t see WP as more than moderately successful , assuming it takes off , of course ! Maybe WP8 will change this , ir really needs too ! cheers !

  8. On second thought , looks like the 10/19/2012 post MIGHT have a reply so I take back the previous remark , t least to an extent lol…

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