It is a long post, I am quoting first two paragraphs below.
I think I’ve been wanting to write this blog post for a while. A few days ago, Facebook announced the release of a new Windows Phone app (Beta). The app does not use the typical out-of-the-box controls i.e. Panorama, Pivot or Page that have “traditionally” given Windows Phone it’s particular flavor and perhaps even differentiation from iOS and Android design languages. The release of the Beta sparked a range of comments, some in support, some against the design aspects of this app. To be clear, the ones that support the app (me included) are not saying that this is the best ever possible app of all times… We are simply celebrating the fact that a major industry player like Facebook is pushing what I’ll call Metro, to the next generation. This celebration is independent of whether it is Microsoft itself or Facebook who actually authored this app. There are questions about whether Microsoft is actually behind the development and design or if Facebook is doing in house and/or with the help of a 3rd party agency. All of this is meaningless. The app is an official Facebook app and that’s what matters.
For 3 years now we have seen 100K plus Windows Phone apps hit the market. Many of them are games and the rest rely on mainly two design patterns: Panoramas and Pivots. I’m sick and tired of this. It’s not that Panorama and Pivot are wrong, no, they are reliable, flexible, powerful controls that give you a lot of options to create great apps. My problem (one that is shared by many in the community and inside of Microsoft) is that we have made these two patterns dictate our 100K Windows Phone experiences. This is wrong. Design patterns like Pivots or Panoramas are just that, patterns. A mature, design savvy, sophisticated designer knows that that story and experience comes first, much before “design patterns”, those are just tools. By slaving ourselves to these couple patterns we’ve tried to solve 100K experiences… It’s almost laughable when you think about it. If you think this is just a recent problem, no, it’s actually been there from the beginning. I talked to numerous Microsofties of all levels and most agreed “all Windows Phone apps look the same” – don’t you agree? But hey, isn’t that a good thing? The way higher level execs would pitch it is by saying they wanted to offer a unified experience in the phone. Nah, among other business reasons it has more to do with enabling an ecosystem with zero apps to get quickly to a 100K apps.