1. Rayner Lim's Avatar
    Hi

    I'm a 17-year-old student from Singapore.
    I study industrial design in Nanyang Polytechnic, though I'm interested in other fields like information architecture, interaction design and UI/UX design too. My interests centre around technology, business, and design, and I find it really exciting when all three come together.

    You can view my concept on Behance - https://www.behance.net/gallery/1733...hone-9-Concept - or scroll all the way down to view the concept, and below you can read the rationale behind my concept. I apologise for it being really really long, but if you take the time to read the stuff below and in the images carefully you might not be so confused about certain parts.

    This concept is a radical reimagining of Windows. But it's grounded in reality; it's not change for the sake of change. I considered a subtle evolution, but eventually I felt a larger change was needed to face the coming wave of change. And yet, you won't find it too unfamiliar, because I've incorporated familiar cues from various versions of Windows. However, It was never to be an evolutionary successor to Windows Phone 8. It's a complete rethought from the ground up, and might not sit well with Windows Phone fans. But does that really matter? Windows Phone sales are going to come from low-cost phones in developing countries for the 'next billion', people who have never seen a Windows Phone before and have no preconceptions, because evidently the markets in Europe and the US are already over saturated. Try not to think of it too much as 'Windows Phone' but focus on the ideas and concepts behind the design - I did a concept for it because it's the only underdog with any chance of breaking out, plus there's an ecosystem of Microsoft services I can easily integrate with. It could well be an Android derivative concept - but it's unimaginable changing it radically because hundreds of millions have gotten used to it, or even a Tizen OS concept - if it had things like Cortana. Whereas Windows Phone, it seems to lag behind the competition all the time and has a relatively small userbase, so a radical change, like from WinMo 6 to WP7, wouldn't be so unimaginable, though lots of people (especially fanboys) will still hate it.

    It's also designed for the 'millenial' generation and the next 'fully digital' generation who grew up with digital devices. These are people who need to constantly be kept up to date on what's happening in their world - the people you see now who habitually check their notification drawer, which has become almost like a drug. So while some may find my concept cluttered and busy, I think there's a trade off between keeping the UI simple and not really know what's going on and having a more complex Androidish UI which shows you full information at a glance. I think live tiles are great at keeping you focused on what youve decided is the most important, but not so great at keeping you up to date on all the things that have happened since you last checked your phone, because while I can tap a live tile to go to the app and see more, I dont want to, I just want to see the complete information right away, because I have a lot else to see, instead of going in and out of multiple apps, and then get back to real life asap.

    It paves the way for Windows to take on the near future. It has a fully modern user interface without carrying any baggage from the past. One of the first things you'll notice is the lack of any hard navigation buttons. That's because it has a gesture-based UI. It might take a while to get used to it, but it's easier to familiarise yourself with it because it exposes the hierarchy and spatial relationships of screens clearly. It'll feel a lot more natural and intuitive too, without sacrificing any speed. For example, to go back, you don't need to stretch for that back button; just swipe right from the left edge.

    And it's really simple to use. You either pull up from the bottom to access the Start screen with all your content like notifications, widgets, and apps, or pull down from the top to access system stuff like quick settings and recent apps.

    The Start screen is the closest thing to a home screen - but you can also think of it as a drawer. It's designed for a world where apps are no longer everything, but where snippets of information and functionality take centre stage, and full(screen) apps take a backseat. It's also designed for a more contextually-aware era, with tight integration with Cortana, who intelligently handles your content, but only if you want her to. For example, if I reach a department store, what if the Cortana created a new group on the Start Screen for me that shows me whats on offer, a map of the place, show me how many points I have on my loyalty card, etc, and this temporary group disappears as soon as I walk out the door, all without having to download an app because thatd be wasting space, but of course these snippets of information and functionality are provided by that store. Or if I got to a cinema and the Start screen creates a temporary group showing me how to get to my seat, the price of the popcorn, and other things, which disappears when I leave the theatre. (This isn't actually in the concept, but it's just the kind of thing the structure of the Start screen in this concept was designed for.)

    It's a hub of information, handling notifications in a more sophisticated way, because the volume of information coming at you will rise in the future. They're separated into sections, one for whatever Cortana has for you right now, another for all your notifications, and any others you can create for specific things you want to keep track of. And of course, you can sort them however you want, whether in chronological order or by what's most important or relevant, and more. For example, you might want to keep up with what your friends are doing on social media, but their notifications will only appear at the bottom of the 'All' section since what's most important right now are your work email and document collaboration notifications, so you can create a section with just your friends' notifications to keep up with them. The Start screen helps you to make sense of the huge volume of information coming at you and stay focused on what you're doing.

    It's also where you'll find your apps, within those same sections as for the notifications. So, there's one for apps Cortana suggests for right now, another for all you apps, and any others you can create to group them up. And of course, you can sort them however you want too. For example, create a section to group all your favourite games together, which will also receive any notifications from those games.

    Thats the idea behind the Start screen in my concept a place you go to get updated on whats going on quickly (eg not the number of Facebook notifications you have, but the contents of the notifications) and launch apps if you need the fuller picture, and then get back quickly to whatever you were doing which is just a swipe away.

    Next, there's the Heads-up Display, which is just a fancy name as I couldn't think of anything better. It's where you can see and control what's going on in the system at a glance. You can see system status and change common settings quickly. You can switch and close apps quickly too, or maybe you just wanted to cancel that Store download, which you can do right from the recent apps screen, so you can just pull down the title bar to zoom out to the HUD, slide to the Store app and tap the Cancel Download button, then slide back to whatever app you were using and tap the window preview to get right back to it.

    Your lock screen got a lot more powerful too, showing you a small pane in the middle with a quick summary of the first 8 notifications and still leaving plenty of space for your wallpaper, because you don't exactly want to be bombarded with information the moment you unlock your phone and have your peace disturbed. You can then slide it sideways to scroll through all your notifications, and even unlock straight to them or dismiss them.

    Popup notifications appear in a place that makes a lot of sense - not just physically because that's where your thumb naturally lies, but also because it's at the bottom where all your content resides. They never block or cover what you're doing, and you can swipe them away or tap them to go to them while never leaving what you're doing.

    You might wonder as you explore my concept below why I refer to it as Windows yet all the mockups are for phones. That's because creating for all form factors would have been too much effort, and I think phones will become the primary hub-like device people will use in the near future, especially for the 'next billion'. Nevertheless, when I thought of all the basic structures and features, other form factors and contexts where always in the mind.

    While you're looking through the images, you might think "Hey, this looks like s**t". And yeah, it might. The surface graphics and visual style weren't really a priority for me, though. I basically just followed whatever already exists in Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. Consistency was more important to me, both so that it would look unmistakably Windows and it would also allow me to illustrate the underlying structures and concepts clearly, without having to bother so much about drop shadows and stuff like that.

    You can explore it in more detail at Behance - https://www.behance.net/gallery/1733...hone-9-Concept or below. The blank spaces are actually for the video mockups; scroll all the way down to see them.


    2014 Rayner Lim. All trademarks and registered trademarks belong to their respective owners.

    Sorry for the small fonts in the images and the blank spaces are actually for the video mockups:

    Start:

    Cortana:

    Lock Screen:

    Heads-up Display:

    Notifications:

    Thanks a lot for taking the time to view this project!
    Please do comment on what you loved, liked, didn't like, or hated and especially why; I'm really interested to know, but please, say something constructive.
    06-29-2014 09:52 AM
  2. jordanzhninja's Avatar
    Looks really cool actually, well done!
    My only criticism is some of the UI looks a little clunky, and theres too much going on
    Rayner Lim likes this.
    06-29-2014 03:47 PM
  3. Geddeeee's Avatar
    I agree. A lot of concept designers miss the point of the minimalist approach to WP8. They all seem to be cluttered attempts at making WP like Android or iOS...
    Thanks for your hard work though. You just need to streamline it all. A lot of WP features are 'hidden' so as to keep the minimal design. Too much info onscreen is distracting.
    Rayner Lim, teckris and RJ Priest like this.
    06-29-2014 03:58 PM
  4. ali27677's Avatar
    Looks quite busy
    Rayner Lim likes this.
    06-30-2014 05:35 AM
  5. Rayner Lim's Avatar
    Thanks for your comments :) I agree with everything you've said. I've also posted this on the Verge forums, and the people there have pointed out that my concept misses the whole point of Modern/Metro UI. When I first set out on this project, all the ideas were just waiting to burst out of my head, so I kinda cobbled all of them together. I didn't have a really clear idea then of what Metro is, but now that I think I've finally understood it, it's too late and I've already finished the project. There's always a next time though :) I used (and still have) a Lumia 620 a while back, and while I loved the simplicity and beauty of the tiles, I began to get irritated with them, mainly because I had to wait for them to cycle through the information but I really wanted to control them on my own terms. I then inherited an S3 and am quite happy with the few widgets I put on my homescreen that are useful and beautiful (please don't hate me at this point). So I guess my concept reflects my personal preferences, which in retrospect, was a totally wrong way to approach such a project, since it was only half-serious and the other half was just having fun exploring my ideas. But I'm posting my project online anyway so I can learn more from the criticism for whatever I decide to do next:).
    Geddeeee likes this.
    06-30-2014 10:56 AM
  6. Geddeeee's Avatar
    Thanks for the ideas and also the mature way you handled the comments. Good luck to you....
    Rayner Lim likes this.
    07-03-2014 04:42 AM
  7. Ezhik's Avatar
    Reminds me of Windows Phone 6.5, and not in a good way.
    07-04-2014 08:45 AM
  8. ohgood's Avatar
    looks like CyanogenMod 11 (vanilla android 4.4.x) influenced it a lot.
    07-04-2014 08:50 AM
  9. manicottiK's Avatar
    looks like CyanogenMod 11 (vanilla android 4.4.x) influenced it a lot.
    I had a similar thought: this looks like Android for Windows Phone. I'll go read the comments at The Verge, but I'm not liking the mix.

    Part of the problem for me in this design is that the focus is on a time-driven UI (i.e., like a notification center). As such, it gets in the way of me prioritizing information sources by placing and sizing tiles as needed. Right now, when I look at my phone, I know what's going on. When I look at the designs above, I know what happened recently, but not what happened in my key information sources.
    Rayner Lim likes this.
    07-04-2014 12:48 PM
  10. Flagz's Avatar
    Yay, I never thought it was possible, but this looks more beautiful, and like the most confusing thing I've ever seen in my life. Congrats for the double whammy! :D
    Rayner Lim likes this.
    07-04-2014 03:08 PM
  11. teohabunal's Avatar
    Looks great! But I think it's a bit too crowded, and is quite far from the true concept of the 'simple' and 'minimalistic' design of the overall Windows.
    08-29-2014 10:37 AM

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