With Windows 8 moving towards a Metro UI look-and-feel, I thought it would be interesting to compare two current Microsoft products using the Metro UI design principles and look at some of the inconsistency between them. The two programs I chose to compare are Zune Software and Games for Windows.
Shadows or no shadows?
The first thing that became apparent is that even Microsoft isn’t sure whether Metro apps should have a shadow or not.
Where does the back button go?
It seems like the Games for Windows team has the better idea here, placing the icon a very precise 18×18 pixels from the top-left corner of the window. Zune chose 35 pixels in and 29 pixels down, I’m sure for a good reason…
Which icon for back?
Looks like even something as small as what icon to use is a problem for the Microsoft UI teams. Here the Zune guys went with the classic thin circle and arrow as seen in other places such as Microsoft.com, while the Games for Windows guys chose what appears to be the ship from Asteroids.
Font and case for headings
Another example of some of the confusion surrounding the Metro UI. Here the Zune team seems to be following the guidelines, using all lower or uppercase along with varied font strength and color to signify the selected section.
Where does user info go?
It seems like Microsoft can’t even decide where the user info box goes, below or beside the window option buttons.
More inconsistency here. In the Zune software, settings and help are shown here, but no feedback or sign out options. In Games for Windows, the Settings option is shown under the main menu next to marketplace and downloads!
No search in Games for Windows?
Looks like Microsoft just completely ignored the fact that users might like to search the Games for Windows marketplace, as there’s no search button to be seen… anywhere
That is the question…
Window control buttons
Seems like the placement of the minimize/maximize/close buttons was also an afterthought.
So, it seems like the Zune software team is closer to the mark than the Games for Windows team, but both still have a little ways to go. What will happen once Windows 8 is released? Will there be consistent integration of Metro across all applications, or will there be massive confusion over where and how certain UI elements should be used? Only time will tell, but my money is on massive confusion!
Stay tuned for my interpretation of a designed Metro UI version of the Games for Windows application.