A peek at Microsoft's Metro-inspired msweb intranet

Say what you will about Microsoft’s ‘Metro’ design language – and goodness knows, some people have plenty to say about it – but whatever your opinion on its aesthetic, the company’s user experience is clearly here to stay. From some of its earliest roots in Media Center, through to implementations in Zune, Surface, Windows Phone, Xbox, and soon Windows 8, Microsoft has firmly established Metro as the guiding light for interface design across all of its products.

Metro has also found its way onto Microsoft’s web properties – take a look at microsoft.com as one obvious example. The company’s global corporate intranet, msweb, hasn’t escaped the Metro touch either. Having worked with MS on redesigning msweb, design agencies If/Then and Red October have provided a glimpse into its new Metro-focused look.


Overview
The project took a total of nineteen months from inception to completion. The content in these screenshots is obviously out of date, but the overall look and feel is the focus here.


People
Microsoft’s 90,000 employees around the world access msweb over 5.2m times every month. The new site design does a much better job of connecting people within the company; the ‘professional-social’ focus is evident, with profiles for employees, along with photos and a wall on which colleagues can leave messages.

Information
News about the company is also available on the intranet, where staff can share comments and thoughts on corporate developments. The comments here show MS staff getting excited about Microsoft’s new KIN phones. Oops.

Guidelines
To the uneducated eye, Metro is just a load of text and squares thrown together – but there are strict guidelines to maintain consistency of the user experience.

We’ve come a long way
The Metro-inspired redesign is certainly an improvement on earlier designs of msweb. The agencies behind the new design say that feedback on the new design from Microsoft employees ranges from “functional” and “inspiring”, to “beautiful” and “stunning”.

Seems like a job well done then.


via I Started Something

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36 Comments

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Funny when you compare these screens looks like MS was going backwards with design, each worse than previous one. There are so obsessed with Metro that it goes beyond comedy.

This particular implementation of Metro on msweb looks good. So why is it so hard for MS to design a Metro theme which itself is also consistent? The people who constantly asked for consistency in MS products should rejoice now. They are getting Metro everywhere. Except that some implementations of Metro are beautiful, some are too simplistic and FUGLY.

xpclient said,
This particular implementation of Metro on msweb looks good. So why is it so hard for MS to design a Metro theme which itself is also consistent? The people who constantly asked for consistency in MS products should rejoice now. They are getting Metro everywhere. Except that some implementations of Metro are beautiful, some are too simplistic and FUGLY.

Actually i give MS credit for being consistent now even thought that is Metro fugly interface.

the weather and date in the top right look cool to me. i still think window's phone should integrate weather into the bing section

smooth3006 said,
metro...kill it with fire!

Google is copying metro all the way...blame also google for using metro inspired design. Oh no... you can't because it's... Google.

fenderMarky said,

Google is copying metro all the way...blame also google for using metro inspired design. Oh no... you can't because it's... Google.

**** Google too, don't even use them.

SoCalRox said,
Looks like basic Sharepoint design and nothing more.

I'd say this is most likely Sharepoint 2010 (or perhaps an even newer version). The people stuff looks a lot like Sharepoint 2010. It would make sense for them to use Sharepoint, the design they've put on top of it still looks pretty damn good.

Those previous screenshots show the site to be based on SharePoint. The metro ones contain some SP elements but are missing others. I suspect these are lockups that are yet to be given to the SharePoint devs! Some rework will be needed.

Looks pretty nice and simple. MS is trying to implement a culture of design. Doesn't matter you like it or not, it's like what Apple is it glossy icons.

But I like Metro much better.

MiukuMac said,
To the educated eye, metro still looks like a bunch of squares. Not to mention pretty ugly.

To the educated reader, you are trolling.

MiukuMac said,
To the educated eye, metro still looks like a bunch of squares. Not to mention pretty ugly.

lol that educated eye need to visit a doctor

MiukuMac said,
To the educated eye, metro still looks like a bunch of squares. Not to mention pretty ugly.

To the educated eye it puts content over glossy features.

MiukuMac said,
To the educated eye, metro still looks like a bunch of squares. Not to mention pretty ugly.

MiukuMac trolling again.

MiukuMac said,
To the educated eye, metro still looks like a bunch of squares. Not to mention pretty ugly.

Oh please, stop kidding yourself. Your name wouldn't contain 'Mac' if you weren't against everything of Microsoft.

IMO, its looks nothing like the Metro design.. also did anyone notice the date in the webpage its 04.09.2010

It looks far more Metro than half the stuff that gets claimed to be "metro" on this site. It also seems to take it's design cues closer from the Zune style than the WP style, which is no bad thing - considering the WP style was designed especially the mobile, and this isn't mobile

Seems like a healthy mix of the current Windows Live style with a bit of Metro inspired shakeup.

still1 said,
IMO, its looks nothing like the Metro design.. also did anyone notice the date in the webpage its 04.09.2010

The project took a total of nineteen months from inception to completion. The content in these screenshots is obviously out of date, but the overall look and feel is the focus here.

still1 said,
IMO, its looks nothing like the Metro design.. also did anyone notice the date in the webpage its 04.09.2010

Metro is just a underlying design principle. It allows for freedom to make things look different, while still maintaining the overall Metro style. Hence, it may not look like the Metro you know, but its still Metro.

still1 said,
IMO, its looks nothing like the Metro design.. also did anyone notice the date in the webpage its 04.09.2010

Yes, no one said this was brand new though. and yes, it looks very Metro.

still1 said,
IMO, its looks nothing like the Metro design.. also did anyone notice the date in the webpage its 04.09.2010

The fact the first screenshot shows Mango on May 14th 2010... I suspect the date is just random and not the date of the screenshots.