Aug 10 2012

Metro No More: Microsoft Ditches the Name for Its Windows 8 UI

There’s a lot of buzz around Microsoft’s decision to change the name of its tile-based design in Windows 8.

Names come and go, but design lasts forever. At least that’s the case with Microsoft’s Metro user-interface design for Windows 8.

The software maker from Redmond, Wash., has been calling its tile-based UI in Windows 8 the Metro UI for a while now. Metro design actually seemed to be playing an influential role throughout the company, as Sam Moreau, user experience director for Windows, explained in a blog post about Microsoft’s redesign of its Windows logo to better reflect the Metro style:

The Windows logo is a strong and widely recognized mark but when we stepped back and analyzed it, we realized an evolution of our logo would better reflect our Metro style design principles and we also felt there was an opportunity to reconnect with some of the powerful characteristics of previous incarnations.

It was important that the new logo carries our Metro principle of being “Authentically Digital”. By that, we mean it does not try to emulate faux-industrial design characteristics such as materiality (glass, wood, plastic, etc.). It has motion – aligning with the fast and fluid style you’ll find throughout Windows 8.

But because of a naming dispute with a European partner, which many are speculating is the Metro Group, Microsoft is now backing off from all things Metro. Instead, the company could end up referring to everything as Windows 8. Pretty straightforward.

Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet breaks down the new naming convention like this:

Anything currently/formerly known as a "Metro-Style application" (with or without a hyphen) will now be known officially as a "Windows 8 application." References to the "Metro user interface" will now be replaced by "Windows 8 user interface." And instead of saying "Metro design," the Softies and those adhering to their official guidelines will be using the words "Windows 8 design."

By using the operating system as an adjective for its UI, instead of another branded name like Metro, it appears that Microsoft would rather have users focus on the OS and less on a branded motif.

However, new reports have just leaked from The Verge saying that Microsoft will be referring to everything as Modern, not Windows 8. So who knows what the final name will be, or if there'll be one at all.

At the very least, Windows 8 fans can breathe easy knowing that they are losing only a name, and not any of the innovative UI developments that Microsoft worked hard to pack into the OS.

Does Windows 8 or Modern work for you, or do you miss Metro already?

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