- 04-30-2013, 01:57 PM #1
I felt gutted when I read 241 comments (at that moment) on WPCentral news that Daniel wrote about new Facebook beta. I was deeply saddened to say the least after seeing the trend in all those comments. The number of woooots and yays for the new design was unbelievable. I'm one of those rare ones who still remember Feb 2010 announcement and a WP without copy paste, still remember what going from big dead space to no dead space at all and death of that tiny arrow. In short, in less dramatic way - I've been around since Metro was put on my palm, indeed in days of WM6.5!
The current beta app according to me is a touch.facebook.com with Metro-ish looking flat and no-chrome with our fonts. Something that resembles iPhone and Android app. Even though the current non-beta app has numerous bugs, the beauty of Metro was wonderful! The space on top that some people say "wasted space" wasn't any more wasted than "People" in People's Hub! But everything in a panorama was how Metro was meant to be (anyone remember Joe's first speech?). It's gone.
It felt like Microsoft itself retracted from the whole Metro - a baby that was so precious that they overhauled Windows with it, they changed Microsoft with it and they couldn't make a Facebook app with it?
In a nutshell, anyone else feels like if this continues, no third party developer might bother with that panoramic, huge typography of metro and just start delivering apps without chrome, flat boxes and vibrant colours only? Will that kill Metro in a couple of years, completely?
Are we bored of it already? I know I'm not!
Last edited by rockstarzzz; 04-30-2013 at 02:24 PM.
04-30-2013, 02:10 PM #2
- 379 Posts
Not bored with it at all. I love good design (hence why I love the look of the iPhone 4S but hate iOS ) and Metro is a good example of just that.
However one of the challenges for existing apps is that they can have an established look and feel on other platforms. Undoubtedly this will influence their look and feel on WP - and that's not just about porting effort but also about their desire to apply a consistent look and feel for their end user experience.
Having said that, I've looked at the FB Beta alongside the Android FB app tonight and to be honest the WP one still feels like a WP app to me. It's not pure Metro, but it's not just a port of the existing mobile app either. And of course it's just a beta...
- 04-30-2013, 02:33 PM #5
I don't use Facebook, but if I did I'd probably like this new app better. Pull down to refresh is one of my favourite features of the official WP Twitter app (and the reason why I use it, not any 3rd party Twitter apps).
- 04-30-2013, 02:36 PM #7
Even though this is just a beta, I doubt it gets any more metro than what it is right now. Also, things like pull down to refresh, did we not have it in metro-styled facebook as well? It even refreshed without pulling down! :P
04-30-2013, 02:36 PM #8
- 75 Posts
I was about to create the exact same thread!
As I said to my comment on the FB article on the main page, I personally love Metro and I believe the design language is using is pretty and very eye candy. However the more I use different Metro Apps the more problems and user experience issues discover.
Basically from my experience I noticed that Metro is causing the following problems for me:
1. Main body design of Metro Apps are using to much space, a wasted space for no reason
2. That becomes even bigger problem on smaller screen devices such as cell phones, take the old Twitter for example, you had a 720p resolution, 4.5inch screen and the App had a HUGE menu banner on top, a huge footer on the bottom and a list of three scrollable tweets in the middle which was basically the content you cared about :(
3. If you want to navigate to the "left/right" menus you need to do circles between the menus as there is no way to go from the 1 page to the 3rd and so on, you need to navigate to the pages in between.
4. Android and iOS has implementing a kind of similar design language between them and being the more popular platforms at this time developers are focusing on their design first, enforcing or implementing Metro on Windows Phone Apps, its creating many separate development and design challenges that are not helping the Windows Platform to catch up.
As of now many super major apps have already drop the Metro Design Language including Twitter, the upcoming Foursquare and the newly release Facebook Beta. User reactions of these changes have been extremely positive so far(!)
Lets see how this interesting situation will develop, I am expecting Microsoft to clarify its position soon as they have bet and invest big in the new Modern Design language.
Last edited by nMIK-3; 04-30-2013 at 02:47 PM.
- 04-30-2013, 02:40 PM #9
It isn't "dying" per se.
I don't know if its reasonable to expect every forum member and commenter who is going yaay or nay or woot or sadface to have decades of UI experience but what MS presented in Feb 2010 was a broken promise from the start.
Some facts (some may find them to be opinions but they're really not):
1. Humans recognise icons, symbols and images more than text
2. Humans respond much better to colour as an identity marker
3. Metro wastes a LOT of space (in the People apps of other platforms, you can see about 10 people without scrolling, in the WP app, you see.......2)
4. Metro is very radical and does not lend itself to the navigation paradigms of every single app, product or service
5. UI design on most other platforms is more or less standardised whereas re-doing everything for Metro/WP takes longer
6. MS knows and has indeed accounted for a lot of this in their guidelines, they are OK with things not being all large text and pivot/panorama based
7. First class FB experience is more important that conforming with Metro UI. In a nutshell, FB>Metro design
Also, the hubs promise has more or less broken down. There are very few things in the People hub that competing platforms haven't caught up with and the Messaging hub is a pale shadow of the BB Hub.
The fundamental and specific issue here is that the FB app done in Metro was not only lacking in functionality but felt alien (to FB users perspective not WP/Metro users).
There are certain apps and services which I would call Super Apps/Services or Platform Apps/Services. The OS exists to enable them and to cater to them, NOT the other way around. As much as some might hate social networking, sharing, FB etc It is a critical and possibly the most important part of the mobile smartphone experience.
Such apps (FB, Whatsapp) and their needs always take precedence over the OS. Their UI consistency *between* apps on different platforms is far more important that UI consistency with Metro. This is WPCentral, everyone here is a WP enthusiast and would look at this from a WP perspective. But essentially, what it boils down to is WP and Metro as an OS and device exist to enable us to get to Facebook/Instagram/Angry Birds/Whatsapp/Email etc. These Super apps can/should do whatever is in their best interests.
When you look at it from a App/Service>OS in terms of importance perspective. It all makes sense.
Now 100s of millions of FB users are going to open the WP FB app and take to it like duck to a water. Earlier, they would be disgusted with the "metro" app.
This is undoubtedly a good thing for WP
- 04-30-2013, 02:41 PM #10
well i actually prefer this new FB app a lot more! i think it's still metroish enough to say "hey, i'm WP"
i kinda liked the photo banner on the other one but i agree it took too much space, if they were to add big photos tumbnails on the feeds, it would look like a mess imo!
- 04-30-2013, 02:47 PM #11
Also, this could be seen as a kneejerk reaction to BB10's ecosystem.
Blackberry's FB app is almost like a mobile website in an app wrapper with notifications enabled and complete UI consistency with FB's other mobile apps AND their mobile website. This is pretty much all users ask for. Microsoft (Which like BB, builds the FB app unlike on iOS and Android where FB does) had to respond to the sudden better experience on some crucial apps on BB10 platform despite being in the game much longer (since 2010!).
Right now, BB10 has better FB, Whatsapp and Instagram apps which are three crucial apps for majority of people (BB10 Whatsapp is hardly ideal, just less worse than WP's and Instagram is a rubbish hacked sideloaded Android port but it is......something).
I believe this *race* played a big part in this 180 re: emphasis on specific design vs getting a good experience in front of users asap
- 04-30-2013, 02:54 PM #12
But doesn't this sudden 180 in terms of how apps should look defeat the whole goal of "you wouldn't know if you are in an app or native OS" - that's what apps were meant to do - inter-linked, all with same feel of the OS, same panorama, big bold titles, content and main options in the panorama, everything else tucked under ...
- 04-30-2013, 02:59 PM #13
Come on Metro is only getting ramped up. I mean MS just got done remodeling Windows 8, Skype, Outlook, Office and more to Metro design, and they aren't even done yet. And I haven't even mentioned the Xbox which underwent a Metro UI revamp last year and surely will be front and center in the Nextbox to be revealed in May. Not all apps have to be 100% full Metro styling to be great and high quality. Depending on the nature of the app, one might even argue that Metro design is less ideal, though those are pretty specific situations that are uncommon I would say. Flat, digital design, heavy on imagery and typography will be around for quite some time I think, and it too will evolve during that time and likely give way to something else in the future, but that future isn't now.
- 04-30-2013, 03:02 PM #14
- 04-30-2013, 03:04 PM #15
Its just one app, and now it reflects the website of a well recognised service and entity. If Microsoft decides to un-Metrofy the whole OS then you can start crying but for this, and other high profile apps like twitter who want to have their identity on their mobile apps, I dont see a problem.
04-30-2013, 03:09 PM #16
- 75 Posts
Is the design language and guidance for apps that looks like it's fading away.
Last edited by nMIK-3; 04-30-2013 at 03:30 PM.
- 04-30-2013, 03:20 PM #18
I think that asking if Metro is dying after Microsoft has basically committed to it with its Phones and now its Operating System isn't the right question. I think the right question at the moment is.. "Is metro evolving before our eyes?"I think the answer to this might be yes. the balancing act here will be whether Microsoft can make Metro more 'efficient' while keeping its fundamental identity. I think the more developers that start making new apps for WP8 the more the developers want their app to stand out from the crowd and at the moment that crowd IS metro. So they're going to push boundaries like this facebook app until the users say "this was too far".
I think it'll change very slowly over time but I think it's incredibly important that Microsoft is the instigator over these changes and not the developers.
- 04-30-2013, 03:23 PM #19
Granted it's just one app, but this is an app made by Microsoft! If the company itself cannot stick to it's design language which was forced on developers so that their apps don't separate out from OS UI, has itself made an app that stands out as an appendix of the whole OS!
That's where it gets awkward. Why would a small developer bother making beautiful apps i.e. Wikipedia, Cocktail Flow, WPCentral etc - these apps even though are apps, they remind you what a beautiful OS you are using! I agree, it's not glossy, shiny iPhone port, but open WPCentral and then open Facebook - does it not look different to you at all?
- 04-30-2013, 03:23 PM #20But doesn't this sudden 180 in terms of how apps should look defeat the whole goal of "you wouldn't know if you are in an app or native OS" - that's what apps were meant to do - inter-linked, all with same feel of the OS, same panorama, big bold titles, content and main options in the panorama, everything else tucked under ...I think a bigger issue is that the hubs are becoming less and less important IMO. Wasn't the promise of WP a unified experience through the me & people hubs, & not having to open & close individual apps? Now since Skype has replaced IM the whole experience is disjointed, with the result being multiple notifications for IM messages from both Skype & messaging. The same could be said for Twitter there is built in integration but also Twitter apps, & if the apps aren't updated regularly people complain. So are the hubs/integration not being used, & if that's the case what is the big difference between WP & the others?
Lets put it this way: Ice Cream is great, its awesome. Steak is great and awesome. Fries are great and awesome. Steak and fries go great together. Steak and ice cream? Not so much. Fries and Ice cream? Not so much.
The "integrated" parts in the WP Hubs are all severely lacking (FB integration is not sufficient to replace full fledged FB, Skype integration not sufficient to replace full fledged Skype, Twitter....Whatsapp......you get the idea).
What is good is Metro is beautiful, Nokia's hardware is gorgeous and innovative. Metro is different. But I am not one to always fall for marketing speak. MS's "content not chrome" is just as much of marketing brainwash as BB10's "no in/out from apps". Metro has the most wasted space (though it is partially by design to emulate the gorgeous print brochures design language with large text, vibrant images and ample spacing), similarly BB10 has the most in/out of apps to constantly check nature of notifications despite their marketing stating otherwise.
Megan Fox/(insert your fav person here) is beautiful but doesn't mean she would be a good mobile UI.
A perfect example is the Music player UI. Apple and Android all have the controls as "chrome". i.e they are always clear and distinct from the album/cover art. However WP has the controls overlaid on top of the album/cover art. This can make it hard to see when the background art is very bright or predominantly white.
Which is prettier and more vibrant? Undoubtedly WP is
Which is more functional and effective? Android and iOS
Are they that much more effective? No WP strikes the right balance coz overall the Music player UI is very light (in terms of complexity) and consistent and so it is predictable.
FB is the complete opposite, its a super app. It has more buttons in its various sections and pages then an aircraft UI. You can't be wasting half the screen on a banner image or huge text buttons (which cmon, are CHROME! even if you want to deny it) or shoehorning a cockpit level complex UI into a specific design paradigm.
04-30-2013, 03:27 PM #21
- 379 Posts
I'm not sure it's a sudden 180 (although it's definitely a 90 )
I would argue that the original FB app wasn't a true Metro app anyway, so I don't see it as much of an issue. The redesign still has Metro elements but is closer to the FB experience that Joe Public know and love, which means it's more accessible for them - and here and now I'd say that's what's important.
- 04-30-2013, 03:30 PM #22
- 04-30-2013, 03:32 PM #23
How isn't the original app non-metro? That was as close to metro as you could get in design without making it black and white of course! Not functionality wise, I agree it sucked big time on that. But in terms of design, the use of banner space, the panorama with content, no?
- 04-30-2013, 03:34 PM #24
I got on the forum basically to create my own post about this- so I'm glad to see this here. Couple of thoughts:
- I'm glad to see updates to key cross-platform apps like Facebook and Twitter. Having these apps, and having them be feature-complete is critical.
- That said, I'd prefer to see these apps custom-built for WP8 and be a bit more "metro/modern". Go ahead and scale down some of the fonts, reduce a bit of the blank space, introduce a little color or some icons here or there- but please be recognizably and distinctly a metro-style WP8 app.
- So many people are touting this beta over the current one for feature/performance reasons- but that is not the issue. By all means, update the feature set and performance.
- Why does FB or Twitter need to look and work identically across platforms? Sorry, but I don't care if an iOS or Android user can't instantly grasp how a WP version works.
- If apps look the same on WP as they do on Android, then what exactly is the point of differentiation for WP? Please don't tell me integration with other MS products/services.
I'm hoping against hope that the MS will update this design with something more metro/modern so that the WP design language and UI experience remains a point of distinction. Also, I hope that they expand the capabilities of the People hub in general.
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