View Poll Results: Do you feel that interactive tiles is the way to go?

Voters
40. You may not vote on this poll
  • Yes! It's the future.

    30 75.00%
  • No, it ruins the simple "Metro".

    8 20.00%
  • I don't care.

    2 5.00%
  1. linking1990's Avatar
    Dear fellas,

    Modern design language -formerly known by Metro-, was originally found in the Zune app by Microsoft back in 2006.

    zune-software.png
    A software that inspired a vision

    Metro was a "refresh from the icon-based interfaces of Windows, Android, and iOS." It was found as a try of getting away from any traditional design language: it was meant to have a "better focus on the content of applications, relying more on typography and less on graphics". One of the famous messages it spread with many advertisements was: "Get in, get out and get on with your life".


    One of Microsoft's top ads to date.

    Under those quotes, and having been a user of this design language for almost 3 years, I can't help but see that Microsoft went astray from the vision it originally had -in Windows Phone at least-, this vision that got me to be a day-one user for a new born OS with all the risks and challenges it may carry along.

    blue_skies.jpg
    Searching among your tiles for any missed notifications, "get in, don't get out, life can wait"

    In the classic battles of engineering decisions, and here I am referring to: simplicity VS functionality, Microsoft was guilty of choosing simple every single time, and this is what this forum post is about.

    "All other things being equal, the simplest solution is probably the best." - Ockham’s razor.

    Although, some may argue that one-upping Cold War mentality in competition is a dead-end as it's an expensive, defensive, and paranoid way of building products, well I might agree to a level, but not in the fast-paced technology world.

    Yes, conventional wisdom says that to beat your competitors you need to one-up them. If they have four features, you need five (or 15, or 25). If they're spending x, you need to spend xx, and so on. Yes, this is what technological competition is all about; functionality and usability.

    "Simplicity: It's complicated!" - The Internet

    If you look up designers opinions of "Metro" through out the Internet, you would see that many considered it the future to be, but almost all of them felt like it could have been something more: some thought it had too much wasted spaces, others argued that it doesn't represent some content properly, some thought that it doesn't work all the time and needed to expand for different content-based scenarios, but almost every review I read included many compliments and hoped for a lot more.

    I think that Microsoft's journey so far has been more about "reinventing the wheel"; rather than applying what they learnt through the years about software and user interfaces and build upon that, they choose to rebuild everything from the ground up. Look up any video for Windows Mobile 6.5 (especially if you have used one back in the days), you will find that many of the features it had are still being cooked in a slow pace 5 years later.

    "The old Windows Mobile included a mobile version of Office had far more features than the current incarnation. That’s right, in the Windows Mobile days, you could get work done in Office Mobile on your smartphone with more functions than any Office Mobile version today." - Adam Lein, "Will Windows Phone 8.1 see a new version of Office?", Pocketnow.

    You can be simple, but yet complicate things at a practical level. Microsoft wanted to focus on the content more, but fell a victim of damaging what presents these contents.

    der-webmeister-sandyisland.jpg
    One step forward and two steps back, one forward again.

    Am I the only one seeing this? Examples is all I can give to defend my argument (there are so many, but I'll keep the list short):

    • ​Windows Mobile had a far more customizable interface, Microsoft recently discovered that this is what you need in baby-steps (still no color picker in your theme settings), and now they are claiming to have the most personal OS of all, while still having only black and white backgrounds through out the system. Well, even though I like it, I promise that it won't work for everyone. You just can't force everyone to like and accept your limited offers.
    • All other OS's had a notification center, Microsoft complicated things by arguing that your tiles is the notification center, even if it may work to a certain level, it never replaced the need for a true notification center, so they are back with one now. This notification center should have included more functionality, things like a toggle for data and actionable notifications (like Android and iOS), they shipped it without, and I promise that it will happen later on.
    • Many basic missing features, ones that they can add/added from the start without much trouble, but chose not to for it to be "simple": knowing a call duration, having Wifi always on, stopping music when you want to not show in the system, proper volume controls, no tiles limit of 30 min updating cycle, forward button in IE, search in IE (search was there, removed, than back in), no apps memory limitations, no background tasks limitations, no limit to 30 seconds ringtones at max, and complicating your way of having any, being able to change ringtones in the beginning (only from a list), no limitations regarding notifications sounds, limitation of brightness settings, swiping to close apps, they chose the simple and "Metroish" way of having an X, but then they added swiping to close them later, the multi-tasking panel has no "close" all button, having a battery percentage always showing, better landscape viewing, AND SO MUCH MORE. These clearly show how you can be so complicated at trying to be simple.


    wp_ss_20140412_0001.png
    This looks ridiculously stupid on my 1520. Landscape in WP still is a no-go.

    If you notice the pattern in all of these examples and many others, you would notice instantly that they barely know better from their experience (or others even) in the space, they are then forced to apply some things -still not entirely convinced even when they do-, never apply them properly, or chose a different way of doing things (in the sake of being different alone), then eventually, they get there but always a little too late.

    Microsoft needs to sit down, put a better plan, and hire a new decision engineering team, which is involved in engineering "a framework that unifies a number of best practices for organizational decision making. It is based on the recognition that decision making could be improved if a more structured approach were used." It's about balance between everything, you just can't let simple win everytime, some sacrifices are due to happen, and better sooner than later, for you to be a leader.

    Mind you that the strategy I mentioned earlier, of "one-up"ing your competitor isn't a long term one, but it's necessary when you're behind.


    Microsoft, please make interactive tiles happen soon enough!



    I know that Windows 7 at it's start had widgets (gadgets), and I knew that when they removed them, it has to comeback one day. I am with the people claiming of never losing any feature, except if it was utterly stupid. Microsoft is the best software company in the world, and they have the finest engineering teams of all, if any came up with a function, never lose it in your iterations, but rather improve and build upon it.

    By this logic, I know that interactive tiles is going to happen sooner or later, but I don't know when. I like the current changes Microsoft is doing, and I hope it extends to when they apply their true vision and what people still don't know they want or even need.

    "الشاطر الذي يتعلم من أخطاء غيره"
    A saying in my country in Arabic: "Him who is the smartest is the one to get it from others experiences"

    Interactive tiles is the new gadget "replacer", it's the next logical step in improving the tile interface, coupled with tiles grouping and quick access methods like Semantic Zoom, and some more tweaking to how the tiles display info, this could mean they are a real leader -as it should be-, not a follower in the UX department.

    Many people, including me, saw that an interactive tile concept is due to happen sometime, I made a forum post for a concept that included "interactive" tiles here:
    Windows Phone 9 concept - linking1990

    start-2-.jpg

    Although many people accused me of ruining Metro's simplicity with this concept, I think there is no other way to move forward. Although the concept of Microsoft's research team is executed differently, but it has the same vision to say the least.

    Do you, the respected reader, agree with me? Am I to harsh on Microsoft? Please let me know in your valued comments, I am really interested in knowing what everyone thinks.

    04-12-2014 08:55 AM
  2. linking1990's Avatar
    Waiting for your comments. :)
    04-12-2014 09:44 AM
  3. SwimSwim's Avatar
    Very good post, I enjoyed reading it.

    And indeed, Microsoft's quest for simplicity is a rather complicated one. One of the biggest gripes of users is, like you said, how they constantly shed features they helped to innovate, then building them from the ground up only years later.

    Microsoft is indeed a one step forward, two steps back type company. I've been patient for several years, but it's starting to wear thin. To be honest, there are three factors keeping my loyal to Microsoft:

    1) Windows Phone 8.1!!! Finally, we're caught up in 95%+ of the features found on iOS and Android, woot woot!
    2) iOS is tried and true, and very clean, but it's stale an boring. Metro is fresh and modern, and while iOS 7 is a refreshing look on an old UI, it's still really ancient by internet standards.
    3) Finally, Android has all of the features, but it's a horrendously ugly UI, not to mentioned how gimmicky it is (especially Samsung TouchWiz devices), resource hungry, and unoptimized it is. Android is a RAM ***** and mess, it hate it with an undying passion.

    Nonetheless, while I will be a loyal follower of Microsoft for several years, they keep doing so many stupid things, constantly having me look elsewhere. While the competition, as I mentioned above, isn't ideal for me, that doesn't mean it will be that way forever.

    Microsoft is a lumbering giant. That worked in the past, but we now live in the incredibly fast paced world of the internet. Miss the boat by a day, and suddenly you're hopelessly behind the competition.

    As you say, Microsoft needs to take features it already has and keep improving them, rather than constantly removing them and building from the ground up.

    I love your interactive tile concept at the end: it's truly gorgeous. It screams Metro, but still adds a ton of functionality. It's the beautiful culmination of Android's widgets and Metro's live tiles, I love it!
    04-12-2014 09:53 AM
  4. linking1990's Avatar
    Very good post, I enjoyed reading it.

    And indeed, Microsoft's quest for simplicity is a rather complicated one. One of the biggest gripes of users is, like you said, how they constantly shed features they helped to innovate, then building them from the ground up only years later.

    Microsoft is indeed a one step forward, two steps back type company. I've been patient for several years, but it's starting to wear thin. To be honest, there are three factors keeping my loyal to Microsoft:

    1) Windows Phone 8.1!!! Finally, we're caught up in 95%+ of the features found on iOS and Android, woot woot!
    2) iOS is tried and true, and very clean, but it's stale an boring. Metro is fresh and modern, and while iOS 7 is a refreshing look on an old UI, it's still really ancient by internet standards.
    3) Finally, Android has all of the features, but it's a horrendously ugly UI, not to mentioned how gimmicky it is (especially Samsung TouchWiz devices), resource hungry, and unoptimized it is. Android is a RAM ***** and mess, it hate it with an undying passion.

    Nonetheless, while I will be a loyal follower of Microsoft for several years, they keep doing so many stupid things, constantly having me look elsewhere. While the competition, as I mentioned above, isn't ideal for me, that doesn't mean it will be that way forever.

    Microsoft is a lumbering giant. That worked in the past, but we now live in the incredibly fast paced world of the internet. Miss the boat by a day, and suddenly you're hopelessly behind the competition.

    As you say, Microsoft needs to take features it already has and keep improving them, rather than constantly removing them and building from the ground up.

    I love your interactive tile concept at the end: it's truly gorgeous. It screams Metro, but still adds a ton of functionality. It's the beautiful culmination of Android's widgets and Metro's live tiles, I love it!
    Thank you a lot for your comment and feedback. :)

    We both share a lot of thoughts about Microsoft strategy and where it stands in the market. I am too a loyal follower of Microsoft, I love what this company does, and how it addresses software, but that doesn't mean that everything is perfect.

    You know, since Microsoft is far behind at the 3rd place, 100% of their efforts isn't good enough to get them back in the game, they should give 200% or even 300% to be able to get back. What bugs me the most is that Microsoft is doing that with Windows 8 currently, but I don't feel it as much regarding WP, although Windows 8 was built on the basis of WP, but it surpassed it in many ways, you can feel Metro being more mature over their than it is on my Lumia 1520.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts :).
    04-13-2014 02:49 AM
  5. Ezhik's Avatar
    I don't really want buttons on live tiles. It indeed ruins the simplicity of Metro. That recent Microsoft Research concept, for example is basically Android widgets that you unroll with the press of a button - which seems rather pointless to me, as you could just open the app properly and get the same information, but on a bigger screen.

    The concepts that just include buttons on live tiles just seem very busy and also pointless to me, as you could replace them with a couple of smaller live tiles, which would look better.

    I have to admit, I did see one buttons-on-live-tiles concept that I rather liked: Windows 8.2 [Concept: Desktop, taskbar, quick reply notifications] | The Verge Forums
    However that concept would interfere with the swipe to reveal all apps gesture, so it won't happen.
    rockstarzzz likes this.
    04-13-2014 03:20 AM
  6. wuiyang's Avatar
    button on tile concept are good, but if you have too many buttons on it, it become ugly.
    maybe tap one time to show buttons, double tap to open app then be like windows 8 flipping and enlarge to the screen size.
    tap the tile will show buttons and the tile will become larger (like the windows interactive concept [youtube link above]) and show the list (if any)
    for background, i think there is a reason why it is only black and white, it will become weird if having different color
    04-13-2014 03:56 AM
  7. rockstarzzz's Avatar
    Buttons on tiles - no. Tiles go bigger/smaller to give more interactive content - maybe. Also Modern design on PC will remain more matured than WP because of marketshare. Development on PC will always be faster. Eventually with Threshold when things merge, WP will come in the same league.
    04-13-2014 03:58 AM
  8. linking1990's Avatar
    I don't really want buttons on live tiles. It indeed ruins the simplicity of Metro. That recent Microsoft Research concept, for example is basically Android widgets that you unroll with the press of a button - which seems rather pointless to me, as you could just open the app properly and get the same information, but on a bigger screen.

    The concepts that just include buttons on live tiles just seem very busy and also pointless to me, as you could replace them with a couple of smaller live tiles, which would look better.

    I have to admit, I did see one buttons-on-live-tiles concept that I rather liked: Windows 8.2 [Concept: Desktop, taskbar, quick reply notifications] | The Verge Forums
    However that concept would interfere with the swipe to reveal all apps gesture, so it won't happen.
    With all respect, you are one of the people that is afraid of trying anything new, always short-sighted. I bet you were one of the people that said no to the customizable tile sizes that was introduced in WP 8 and wanted the black space back as it was. You gotta know that Android (as messy as it is) is still the top OS in the World, and that is for a reason. I love simplicity too, but Microsoft is complicating things when trying to be simple. Having 6 smaller tiles for Facebook for instance is never better than having a one tile that has buttons on it like the one I made with my concept, you just can't argue with that.
    04-13-2014 06:11 AM
  9. Jaskys's Avatar
    So... Widgets are coming back...?
    Most of the widgets in android are extremely ugly, i don't want WP to become ugly...
    04-13-2014 06:14 AM
  10. linking1990's Avatar
    button on tile concept are good, but if you have too many buttons on it, it become ugly.
    I agree, but then, at every customizable corner of the OS, that is applicable too. It's a user choice -and a developer one as well- to adjust and make it look as he wants it to.

    maybe tap one time to show buttons, double tap to open app then be like windows 8 flipping and enlarge to the screen size.
    tap the tile will show buttons and the tile will become larger (like the windows interactive concept [youtube link above]) and show the list (if any)
    for background, i think there is a reason why it is only black and white, it will become weird if having different color
    I imagine it would be practical to have those buttons showing via double-tapping on the tile.

    ​Thank you for your post.
    04-13-2014 06:14 AM
  11. linking1990's Avatar
    Buttons on tiles - no. Tiles go bigger/smaller to give more interactive content - maybe.
    As if having tiles grow larger or smaller, get positioned differently, them having all sorts of buttons and seek bars, them being kept open is more simple than having just buttons on the tile itself? Tell me, how would you imagine having that Microsoft research concept on a small-screened Windows Phone device? If you're afraid about ruining it's simplicity, then they might as well keep those buttons hidden and get access to them by double tapping on the tile.

    Also Modern design on PC will remain more matured than WP because of marketshare. Development on PC will always be faster. Eventually with Threshold when things merge, WP will come in the same league.
    The thing is, to have a bigger marketshare in WP, they have to focus their efforts on it as well, not the other way around. PC industry is declining in favor of mobile devices. This is the future that Microsoft should be focusing on.
    04-13-2014 06:19 AM
  12. rockstarzzz's Avatar
    As if having tiles grow larger or smaller, get positioned differently, them having all sorts of buttons and seek bars, them being kept open is more simple than having just buttons on the tile itself? Tell me, how would you imagine having that Microsoft research concept on a small-screened Windows Phone device? If you're afraid about ruining it's simplicity, then they might as well keep those buttons hidden and get access to them by double tapping on the tile.



    The thing is, to have a bigger marketshare in WP, they have to focus their efforts on it as well, not the other way around. PC industry is declining in favor of mobile devices. This is the future that Microsoft should be focusing on.
    On small screens of course that wont work. On small screens that's why they don't have a charms bar. Or snap apps. Microsoft has been in software business more than me or you know about it. What can happen on small screen is tile can zoom in to on screen to over lay so that it takes up all or most part of screen, giving you a feel of full screen app. The way it does right now when you long press a tile. Only difference being it actually expands to take more screen space. The way cards pop up on iOS or Google Now.
    04-13-2014 06:24 AM
  13. yehuda92's Avatar
    With all respect, you are one of the people that is afraid of trying anything new, always short-sighted. I bet you were one of the people that said no to the customizable tile sizes that was introduced in WP 8 and wanted the black space back as it was.
    You cant ask for feedback and then insult people who disagree with you, it makes you sound like a tool...
    04-13-2014 06:35 AM
  14. Ezhik's Avatar
    With all respect, you are one of the people that is afraid of trying anything new, always short-sighted. I bet you were one of the people that said no to the customizable tile sizes that was introduced in WP 8 and wanted the black space back as it was. You gotta know that Android (as messy as it is) is still the top OS in the World, and that is for a reason. I love simplicity too, but Microsoft is complicating things when trying to be simple. Having 6 smaller tiles for Facebook for instance is never better than having a one tile that has buttons on it like the one I made with my concept, you just can't argue with that.
    Interesting how arguments change. When everyone was arguing about the file manager, some people were saying that change for the sake of change is unnecessary (even though people gave multiple reasons for why a file manager should exist), that we shouldn't copy Android, and that Windows Phone needs to be simpler.

    Now you are using the exact opposite arguments.

    My main reason for my live tiles opinion is that adding them would be very ugly. Your screenshot is a pretty good example of how to not do things. If somebody can make it look not ugly, then we can talk. But like I said, I've seen only one live tile buttons concept that did not suck.
    04-13-2014 07:40 AM
  15. Morpheus Phreak's Avatar
    You cant ask for feedback and then insult people who disagree with you, it makes you sound like a tool...
    ...and yet you use name calling in your post as a tactic. Great choice /s
    04-13-2014 07:56 AM
  16. Ankit Nawlakha's Avatar
    Those missing features you pointed were actually cool!! Those features can definitely make windows phone a leader!
    But now I am starting to realize that Microsoft is indeed very behind!!
    So far they've done a great job with their update! I mean they listened to us!
    What I think is if Microsoft wants to make "the DIFFERENCE" in Mobile OS then these missing features has to be included in the upcoming update (8.2 or 9, whatever it may be called)..
    And If they don't do that.. I am Afraid Micorsoft will never be able to beat Android and iOS!
    04-13-2014 09:38 AM
  17. linking1990's Avatar
    Interesting how arguments change. When everyone was arguing about the file manager, some people were saying that change for the sake of change is unnecessary (even though people gave multiple reasons for why a file manager should exist), that we shouldn't copy Android, and that Windows Phone needs to be simpler.

    Now you are using the exact opposite arguments.

    My main reason for my live tiles opinion is that adding them would be very ugly. Your screenshot is a pretty good example of how to not do things. If somebody can make it look not ugly, then we can talk. But like I said, I've seen only one live tile buttons concept that did not suck.
    I never stated that I wanted a file manager, it's not something that IMHO is in need for your mobile device. Though, a file picker is something you definitely need. Anyway, I am not willing to turn Windows Phone to be the new Android, but additional features -including a file manager- is always welcome, when your OS is mature enough, feel free to make it grow as you want and have more features, while having set some limits and control over everything.

    You are saying they look ugly, well I don't think so, many people agree with me too. It's not about your taste alone, it's about everyone's too. I respect your feedback and what you think, but you have to think of the bigger picture, what this might add to your already beloved OS and device.

    BTW, have you tried downloading this to your phone and see how it looks? I Promise you it looks way better if you have a 1520 -as it was intended when I put my design-, just download it there and let me know what you think. I wish I knew how to code apps, I would have made one as a mockup and published it in the store so you can have a better understanding of my ideas. I am not saying my idea is the greatest, there are a million ways of doing this, make tiles more useful, but it's about the idea of moving forward from simplicity to more functionality. It will happen sooner or later, but I am wishing that Microsoft will execute it faster this time around. It's the next logical step, that is why Microsoft research is experiencing with it now, because live tiles -as they are now- aren't useful enough.

    You see, Microsoft is simplifying it way too much, it became complicated. Live tiles are meant to simplify your use for the phone, but yet they aren't:

    - Limited refresh cycle of 30 minutes, hell you can't even have a clock tile! Which is the basic of any programming language.
    - Updates are either a number or text (which doesn't show all of the text, followed by dots).
    - This lead to having the majority of wide tiles aren't different or more useful than the medium sized ones.
    - Animations are limited to two (except for Microsoft's own apps such as XB Music and Cortana).
    - You have to wait for tiles to flip for you to get to see what's on them.
    - If you have an app with sections, you have to pin separate tiles to your start screen instead of having one.
    - Can't clear tile counters even if you know what the notification is, you have to open up the app for it to go away.
    - Many live tiles aren't useful at all, they are just square shortcuts that do nothing.
    - Due to some limits from Microsoft, notifications on the tiles aren't that reliable.

    And so on.

    Limits and limitations before 8.1 is flooding the WP scene, this is what I want to see change.
    04-13-2014 09:45 AM
  18. Ezhik's Avatar
    I never said I liked those live tile limits. It's only buttons on live tiles I disagree with. You say you made your concept with the 1520 in mind - but there are still smaller phones that would run the same OS, and it will be very cluttered. And I don't understand how one can have a file picker without a file manager to go along with it.
    04-13-2014 10:57 AM
  19. linking1990's Avatar
    I never said I liked those live tile limits. It's only buttons on live tiles I disagree with. You say you made your concept with the 1520 in mind - but there are still smaller phones that would run the same OS, and it will be very cluttered. And I don't understand how one can have a file picker without a file manager to go along with it.
    I wouldn't say very cluttered, you have to try it first to see. Again, my design isn't the greatest, I am no designer what so ever, it's just a mockup of what interactive tiles might be, the more important thing in this forum post is better execution from Microsoft's side, not my concept. I always like their ideas, but they lack the right execution and timing, in this post I am hoping for this to change.

    And if you don't understand the difference between a file picker and a file manager then probably you shouldn't be discussing those matters.
    04-14-2014 03:18 AM
  20. linking1990's Avatar
    Those missing features you pointed were actually cool!! Those features can definitely make windows phone a leader!
    But now I am starting to realize that Microsoft is indeed very behind!!
    So far they've done a great job with their update! I mean they listened to us!
    What I think is if Microsoft wants to make "the DIFFERENCE" in Mobile OS then these missing features has to be included in the upcoming update (8.2 or 9, whatever it may be called)..
    And If they don't do that.. I am Afraid Micorsoft will never be able to beat Android and iOS!
    I think that WP 8.1 is a good start, but if it's gonna take Microsoft a year and a half for each update like this, then we are doomed!

    Thank you for your reply. :)
    04-14-2014 03:19 AM
  21. linking1990's Avatar
    On small screens of course that wont work. On small screens that's why they don't have a charms bar. Or snap apps. Microsoft has been in software business more than me or you know about it. What can happen on small screen is tile can zoom in to on screen to over lay so that it takes up all or most part of screen, giving you a feel of full screen app. The way it does right now when you long press a tile. Only difference being it actually expands to take more screen space. The way cards pop up on iOS or Google Now.
    I guess many people understood my post the wrong way. AGAIN I am not trying to advertise my concept design, nor I am suggesting that it's the best and the way it should be, it's not what this post is about, it's more about the chances that are available for Microsoft to seek, and how to execute them fast enough to get back into the game. It's about simplifying things for real this time, removing many of the limits that this beloved OS had, for it to grow properly.
    04-14-2014 03:23 AM
  22. Ezhik's Avatar
    I wouldn't say very cluttered, you have to try it first to see. Again, my design isn't the greatest, I am no designer what so ever, it's just a mockup of what interactive tiles might be, the more important thing in this forum post is better execution from Microsoft's side, not my concept. I always like their ideas, but they lack the right execution and timing, in this post I am hoping for this to change.

    And if you don't understand the difference between a file picker and a file manager then probably you shouldn't be discussing those matters.
    Don't question my competence if you can't even read my post properly.
    04-14-2014 05:00 AM

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