First Windows 8 mockup from 2010 was called "Pocahontas"

Above image is not the first mockup that was shown off in 2010

Microsoft's launch of Windows 8 is now less than six weeks away, but over three years ago, the company was just beginning to think about the design for its next PC operating system. A new and extensive article on the process Microsoft went through to come up with the "Metro" style for Windows 8 has now been posted on the FastCoDesign.com website.

The article reveals that in May 2009, Sam Moreau, the director of user experience for Windows, and Windows designer Jensen Harris, got 150 team members from various company divisions together in one auditorium to discuss the design of Windows 8. The final result was a mockup of the first version of the OS in 2010, which the article reveals was called "Pocahontas".

The term was used in order to represent the company's journey into a "new world" where design became more important when creating a PC OS. The new movement in the company was also pushed by the fact that one of Microsoft's biggest rivals, Apple, had shown that making a good design for products can also make businesses a lot of money.

The article also says that the "Metro" UI was heavily influenced by Bauhaus, a school of design in Germany that operated in the early 20th century. Moreau said of the design movement that originated at the school, "Reducing down to the most beautiful form and function--that’s what the Bauhaus was all about."

Source: FastCoDesign.com | Image via Microsoft

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Microsoft to launch new Citizenship Initiative effort Thursday

Next Story

Google acquires iOS photo app Snapseed; could be attempting to rival Instagram

22 Comments

View more comments

I like Windows 8 but it could be improved a lot design wise. The start screen could have more options, what about more tile sizes? Then the Desktop environment has hardly changed, it's still using a lot of old icon's and the general shape of things hasn't changed much from metro except from the addition of the ribbon bar which looks like something out of vista and doesn't feel very 'modern'.

Windows 8 feels like Windows phone 7, a great base but needs a few adjustments which we are now seeing in Windows phone 8. So perhaps Windows 9 expand the modern design within it's self and bring more of it into the desktop experience.

Gaffney said,
I like Windows 8 but it could be improved a lot design wise. The start screen could have more options, what about more tile sizes? Then the Desktop environment has hardly changed, it's still using a lot of old icon's and the general shape of things hasn't changed much from metro except from the addition of the ribbon bar which looks like something out of vista and doesn't feel very 'modern'.

Windows 8 feels like Windows phone 7, a great base but needs a few adjustments which we are now seeing in Windows phone 8. So perhaps Windows 9 expand the modern design within it's self and bring more of it into the desktop experience.

- The startscreen could use more options, I agree. However I understand that Microsoft doesn't immediatly want to bring all the options of the old WIndows to this new interface. The old WIndows became too complex (not for us, but for the average user), it was very bulky with dozens of ways to do the same thing. I'm sure the new UI will slowly gain new features (as it becomes apparant that some features are required).

- Of course the desktop hasn't changed much. The desktop isn't part of the ''real'' Windows 8. It is to Windows 8 what the DOS prompt is to Windows XP. You use it to access old applications. Naturally all the icons in it also look dated, but in a year you won't be using 95% of those old applications as they've all been replaced by modern versions.

Microsoft is making another generation jump, Windows RT is the future but Windows 8 is there as a bridge between the old and new. On top of that, Windows 8 will be essential for businesses that have software that goes back to the early 90's. When I started to view Windows 8 from such a perspective then its design choices suddenly made sense. I no longer hated how the desktop looked strange next to the modern UI. I've even started to use the desktop less and less.

StevenJ said,
Nobody cares. At all. We don't have to have this discussion on EVERY SINGLE Windows 8 thread.

Please speak for yourself; I am always interested to read about intelligent and articulated opinions.
Thanks

Fritzly said,

Please speak for yourself; I am always interested to read about intelligent and articulated opinions.
Thanks

Agreed, this wasn't simple W8 hate, it was a real opinion and I always welcome that.

Ronnet said,

- The startscreen could use more options, I agree. However I understand that Microsoft doesn't immediatly want to bring all the options of the old WIndows to this new interface. The old WIndows became too complex (not for us, but for the average user), it was very bulky with dozens of ways to do the same thing. I'm sure the new UI will slowly gain new features (as it becomes apparant that some features are required).

- Of course the desktop hasn't changed much. The desktop isn't part of the ''real'' Windows 8. It is to Windows 8 what the DOS prompt is to Windows XP. You use it to access old applications. Naturally all the icons in it also look dated, but in a year you won't be using 95% of those old applications as they've all been replaced by modern versions.

Microsoft is making another generation jump, Windows RT is the future but Windows 8 is there as a bridge between the old and new. On top of that, Windows 8 will be essential for businesses that have software that goes back to the early 90's. When I started to view Windows 8 from such a perspective then its design choices suddenly made sense. I no longer hated how the desktop looked strange next to the modern UI. I've even started to use the desktop less and less.

I'm not too sure that modern apps will replace so much so soon, hell some companies are still using DOS apps for their systems now (I was this as Costco the other day). I do like some of the concept stuff MS has shown, especially the CRM app and other dynamics products but from what I saw they wont fully replace the web app or the outlook plugin for a while. Then we have apps like sage and photoshop etc. - no chance they'll be replaced with modern apps any time soon, we might and probably will see a modern counterpart but not replacement.

Ronnet said,
- Of course the desktop hasn't changed much. The desktop isn't part of the ''real'' Windows 8. It is to Windows 8 what the DOS prompt is to Windows XP. You use it to access old applications. Naturally all the icons in it also look dated, but in a year you won't be using 95% of those old applications as they've all been replaced by modern versions.

Just to nitpick and hopefully add more clarity.
The desktop in windows 8 is better compared to the dos prompt in win95.
WinXP was full NT where the dos prompt was the application, not the bootloader.
This is the direction the windows runtime will go. Right now it has a dependency on the desktop (win32,COM,etc) but will replace it as the new face of NT, where the desktop will be truly relegated to an 'app'.

So by the time windows 9 or 10 hits, your comparison will be correct.

Wow. Great read. I can't wait to see what else is coming. Hopefully more unification of the old with the Modern. Totally in love with the concept so far. Time to move computing into the new century!

Dot Matrix said,
Wow. Great read. I can't wait to see what else is coming. Hopefully more unification of the old with the Modern. Totally in love with the concept so far. Time to move computing into the new century!
lol

Windows Nashville said,

And Facebook-addicted Windows 8 fanboiz gonna play apologists for the worst OS in Microsoft's history. "lol"


No.

I thought it might be called Pocahontas because giving someone Windows 8 is like giving a Native American a blanket contaminated with smallpox.

I kid! I like Windows 8.

I'm less interested in its past than where it is going. MSFT needs to listen to feedback. there is a LOT wrong with windows 8 and I'm not talking about killing the start menu, which is right IMO. I'm talking a lot of issues with mice/keyboard UI usability.

Soo... a committe of 150 people was involved in coming with the Windows 8 / Metro design?

It sounds to me like "innovaiton by committee" killed off the possibility of real advances at Microsoft.

Commenting is disabled on this article.