Feb 19, 2013

[Unfinished] The Evolution of Metro UI

Unfinished: Sometimes I start a blog post, I just cant finish it. But right now, I am desperate to provide content, I decided to publish an unfinished post that is sitting on this blog for almost 2 years. Last time I tried editing this one was August 11, 2011. This is what I wrote before, unedited with its outdated information. Thanks.

Microsoft calls it Metro UI -- The design language that can be found on Windows Phone 7 handsets today. Sure it introduced many unique features on Windows Phone 7, but Metro UI didn't just simply start there. It came from a lot of different older devices and software that has evolved throughout the years and what would later contribute to what would be its greatest form yet, which is on Windows Phone 7. So join me as I show you how this design language evolved through out the years and how it became such a phenomena that people like me are so addicted and so in love with this user interface.


Windows Media Center was the first to utilize this familiar UI.
Metro UI's basic principle and feature is to celebrate typography. You might think that the first device that had this principle is the first ever Zune -- which is understandable, since before Windows Phone 7, we can only see this typographic user interface on Zune devices. But you are wrong. On October of 2004, Microsoft released Windows XP Media Center Edition, which is a tweaked version of the fairly young Windows XP back then. One application that is included with the OS is the Windows Media Center -- in which you can see from the image to the right, has the first ever iteration of this iconic UI.


It's not for about two years later when we saw the first ever Zune player. In November 2006, Microsoft released this new media player that housed 30gb of hard disk storage, and consisted of real, physical buttons to operate the interface.This first generation Zune UI is somewhat similar from what we see today. Engadget has some screenshots from their original Zune review, and from what we can tell, pivoting and artist background images are already present with the first UI. What is lacking in this UI though, is probably the most essential part of Metro UI -- the Segoe font.


One year later, Microsoft revamped the Zune line, in which new devices includes the a new touch sensitive D-pad, flash based memory, and an updated PC software. But along with many other changes, the most significant change was the font -- a font that has defined this user interface. Throughout the releases of devices over the years, Microsoft had done some several modifications of Segoe UI. The second generation Zunes and the Zune HD sported what is called Zegoe, and Windows Phones had Segoe WP. Although completely different from these devices, Microsoft also uses Segoe UI on their Desktop OS, like Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Zegoe UI -- a modificaation of Segoe UI.
ZUNE 2.0

The second version of the Zune devices is probably the real birth of Metro UI. From how it looks and operates, it is still basically how a modern Metro UI device is.

PS: And that is it. I will most likely never going to finish this post as I am deeply disappointed with Microsoft. I mean, I am the guy who stuck with them from the original Zunes, Zune HD, and Windows Phone 7.Only to realize now that apparently everything were abandoned by Microsoft. I since moved to Android, but I am still using Windows. Windows 8 to be exact. 

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