Microsoft launches new Metro homepage

Microsoft is currently in the process of redesigning its suite of software to have a consistent design language. We have already seen a leaked theme from Windows 8 showing the new ‘Aero Lite’ theme that is encompassing the Metro design language and now Microsoft has also changed its homepage to reflect Metro too.

The update brings with it support for IE9, although ironically they are still promoting IE8 on the homepage. But the new page brings support for jumplists and pinning and also a redesigned layout.

The update shouldn’t come as a major surprise as it is expected that all Microsoft products will eventually reflect the Metro design language to some degree. The leaked Office 15 screenshots showed a flattened look with less gloss while WP7 and Zune already support the Metro look and feel.

The ultimate test for any redesign is the usability of the new page, it is ultimately up to the end users if the new look will last, but hopefully it doesn’t follow the roads paved by Digg and Gizmodo into the UI disaster hall-of-fame.

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I love the Metro look because it provides a clean and fresh look, instead of the "dull" monochrome gloss that Macs provide. I preferred the Aqua days of 10.4 Tiger and the old Finder.

I also love that Microsoft is finally going for a consistent design across the brand.

I only have one criticism. When I'm on the "For work" page, I see a sexy girl. They should swap the man for some woman instead, so the home users don't miss out! lol XD

I can't believe people are freaking out about cutoff icons, I think its a different approach to UI design. Graphic UI elements are always changing, there is no rule that icons have to be fully visible at all times. Its not like they are cutting them off to the point where they are not usable. I think its a nice evolutionary clean process they did

I love the flat look and if some subtle 3d is thrown in for smoothing then it would be a great move if it is the future of interfaces at Microsoft. It reminds me of a theme I used to run on Windows years ago called 'milk' which was a monochrome flat. For me I can't stand bright colours, especially when using computers for a long time hence the reason I have a bluish/grey background for screen rather than a pattern or something.

I love the Metro UI, I hope Windows 8 features a full Metro theme as an option, but the Microsoft Website needs a total redesign layout IMO, not just slapping Metro icons over it.

The Microsoft Store is a much better website, they should use that layout. Microsoft have a real challenge with redesigning their whole site though, its very easy to stumble over a Microsoft page that hasnt been updated or redesigned since the 90's.

netsendjoe said,
hmm. flat icons is the new 3D ? albeit it is easy to use and does animate smoothly.

i seriously hope so, back from the candyland websites/desktops that make everything look like a goddamn kid toy.

Shadowzz said,

i seriously hope so, back from the candyland websites/desktops that make everything look like a goddamn kid toy.

+1

TeflonDonInc said,
No matter what Microsoft does, People will find something to BITCH about.

^this
MS bad, google good

No matter what Google does, People will find something to brag about.

The metro UI looks great to me, though i really do agree with the criticisms over the cut off previous and next buttons. The best way I can really sum my complaint up is that it just doesn't look like it was done on purpose to me, every time I see it my mind just register's them as a glitch in the styling. o.0

The metro UI is great, and I think the new microsoft website is very slick and looks great. The people who are so against metro ui have obviously never used it, its great on windows phone the only real problem with metro ui from my point of view is the lack of on screen controls. Otherwise its much better than ios ui and much better than android.

I am hating everyones comments.. About how its not very "pretty".. it is so much more functional then the last one and it moves smoothly.. I can get more info faster then I could before with is being very well organized.. I care about functionality and not so much whether you like it or not..

windows 8 is doomed. whats with the metro fascination with microsoft? it's really not all that great. if they keep going this route i may have to go apple or linux.

smooth3006 said,
windows 8 is doomed. whats with the metro fascination with microsoft? it's really not all that great. if they keep going this route i may have to go apple or linux.

Metro is still relativly new and they are expanding it across their products and services. Which is their fascination they want it rolled out to their products first, it'll be a great move in the end. but for now it might look crooked or weird. just give it some time eh

oh and you do know the windows 'design' is easy to customize to your likings almost similar as Ubuntu? (altho you need 3rd party support instead of build in packages). I really doubt this'll change with the release of Win8

Not really into the Metro look (like the Windows Phone 7). I like minimalism but somehow it's too minimalist..or maybe it's the color, I dunno

Metro is a nice change from their earlier designs. I like it. I don't like the cut-off button thing though. If I hadn't read Neowin comments here, I had assumed it was a misalignment bug because it didn't work right in my browser. You kind of think that if there are widgets that don't fit despite having tons of room to fit in.

Northgrove said,
Metro is a nice change from their earlier designs. I like it. I don't like the cut-off button thing though. If I hadn't read Neowin comments here, I had assumed it was a misalignment bug because it didn't work right in my browser. You kind of think that if there are widgets that don't fit despite having tons of room to fit in.

IE9 has the same with the back button. feels weird/awkward, but i kinda like it

Nice and simple design, now I just hope this useless glass goes in Windows 8 and we get a more useful UI like Metro.

SPARTdAN said,
Nice and simple design, now I just hope this useless glass goes in Windows 8 and we get a more useful UI like Metro.

metro should be an option to use in windows 8, not a requirement. i want to be able to use the standard aero look myself.

smooth3006 said,

metro should be an option to use in windows 8, not a requirement. i want to be able to use the standard aero look myself.

Yep, everyone is different but I think currently Windows isn't too good for usability, it's too focused on trying to look good.

It's kind of boring and bland to me, all those solid colors and rectangles. I don't like the cut-off icons either. That's one of my only complaints about IE9. However it could have been worse I suppose; the back button could have stuck down into the web page like the stupid Start Orb they came up with.

I think it looks great. I love it's simplicity, a uniform look and feel across their products is the way to go.

As long as metro stay far away from Windows 8 i don't mind. I think it's an okay looking front page. But nothing really special.

The theme is terribly ugly, i hope this is not what they plan with windows 8 and future products, internet explorer 9 already has an incomplete back button, it's enough !

I like it! Way to go Microsoft! Finally they are using consistent UI for all of their upcoming products. I am loving the supposed new look of MSN as well. Please bring on the Windows 8 beta! lol. I am having beta withdrawal!

That is a very ugly page, horrible imo. Some of the fonts and color of them are terrible, the arrows are stupidly cut off it looks like a iframe that's cutting off content. The big ones ok but the small cut off ones look silly.

Overall the page looks crammed and doesn't have any flow to it.

SoyoS said,
Am I missing something? I've had this homepage for quite a while now?!

+1

same here, this page was released as optional try out by early this year !!!

bdsams said,
You were a tester, they started phasing it in back in early Jan but now its rolled out to everyone.

Oh that explains it then.

SoyoS said,
Am I missing something? I've had this homepage for quite a while now?!

You use this as your homepage? Why??

Morden said,
Seen a few times before rollout, I think it's pretty nice. Metro UI FTW!

The only thing that bothers me is some of the edges don't look very smooth. Same thing with the Microsoft Store site. Perhaps it is just my computer. Also, those pause, back, forward buttons seem poorly designed and too bolded.

Morden said,
Seen a few times before rollout, I think it's pretty nice. Metro UI FTW!

I agree. My only gripe is that, like the Microsoft Store site, some of the edges are a little...jaggedy...the opposite of sharp lol. Also, the buttons on the first marquee seem too bolded.

wixostrix said,

The only thing that bothers me is some of the edges don't look very smooth. Same thing with the Microsoft Store site. Perhaps it is just my computer. Also, those pause, back, forward buttons seem poorly designed and too bolded.

Well I remember that under the test phase those navigation buttons were really jagged but now as far as I see they're all right. The Store looks okay as well.

Kind of reminds me of when your doing something in powerpoint and accidently select a basic font. Everything just looks a bit misalligned and basic.

bdsams said,
Anyone else find it odd they are still pushing IE8 on their homepage?

How did I not notice that? lol, soon there will be a "Get ride of Internet Explorer 8, use Internet Explorer 10!" page.

bdsams said,
Anyone else find it odd they are still pushing IE8 on their homepage?

They probably just didn't update the content of the new site yet. It's now advertising IE9, and IE8 is nowhere to be seen.

bdsams said,
Anyone else find it odd they are still pushing IE8 on their homepage?

If you enter with XP, you might get a IE8 ad. I have no idea

bdsams said,
Anyone else find it odd they are still pushing IE8 on their homepage?

Haha, yes. Metro + IE 8. Not sure what's up with that. Yes, IE 9 is still very new. But this design is also very new.

Not a huge fan of Metro myself, but I will admit it's nice to see them finally going for some consistency versus the eclectic mixes of different UI styles that they've been using depending on the platform and program.

Xenon said,
Does anyone else think that Microsoft's Logo (the word Microsoft) is getting old looking?

LOL.. well ya its been around for a while without changing it.. Kinda like before apple changed there name from Apple Computers Inc.

Xenon said,
Does anyone else think that Microsoft's Logo (the word Microsoft) is getting old looking?

Its called brand identity, same reason apple hasnt radically changed its image, just like coca cola cursive text logo hasnt changed much.

Jenson said,

Its called brand identity, same reason apple hasnt radically changed its image, just like coca cola cursive text logo hasnt changed much.

I think you'll find they also slightly change the font making it more compressed.

SierraSonic said,
Hey look at all those pointlessly cut off icons!

Yeah the cut off button design is terrible. I don't know why they thought that looked good.

Kuraj said,

It's "by design".

Bleh.

I never found it to be good design logic to POINTLESSLY cut off icons on desktop applications/websites, which was originally a design used to SAVE SPACE on MOBILE devices/applications/websites. Maybe if this was for Microsoft.mobi.

Navan said,

yeah, what's the deal with that? =/
It looks really good.. Clean and modern. Much like everything they are working on right now.

What's the problem? You get large icons that take up the same space as smaller ones in the same place. It looks different, a bit swish.

Mac OS X is all grey. Logically, it's terrible, but it's clean and it works.

SierraSonic said,
Hey look at all those pointlessly cut off icons!

True. Microsoft is once again using Windows to sell their other important projects. Big mistake. It has proven not to work before and it won't work again, because they dare to charge some $200 for each Windows copy.
MICROSOFT, PEOPLE GET TIRED OF THE WINDOWS INTERFACE EVERYWHERE. PEOPLE GET TIRED OF THE SAME INTERFACE FOR EVERYTHING. Why do you think everyone wants the iPad? Because it's simple, yes... But because it is beautiful and simple. Metro is ugly and confusing.
Another Vista fiasco is coming up.

Luis Mazza said,

True. Microsoft is once again using Windows to sell their other important projects. Big mistake. It has proven not to work before and it won't work again, because they dare to charge some $200 for each Windows copy.
MICROSOFT, PEOPLE GET TIRED OF THE WINDOWS INTERFACE EVERYWHERE. PEOPLE GET TIRED OF THE SAME INTERFACE FOR EVERYTHING. Why do you think everyone wants the iPad? Because it's simple, yes... But because it is beautiful and simple. Metro is ugly and confusing.
Another Vista fiasco is coming up.

The Metro UI is not boring. The only gripe I have about it is the lack of a background in a lot of areas. It feels like I'm looking into a black hole sometimes with my Focus. Nonetheless, I enjoy the experience. Even though a lot of Microsoft stuff is adopting Metro, they all look fairly different. Unlike with what Apple is doing, iPod Touch, iPad, iPhone, and soon Lion (LaunchPad)will all have the exact same interface. How boring is that?

SierraSonic said,
I never found it to be good design logic to POINTLESSLY cut off icons on desktop applications/websites, which was originally a design used to SAVE SPACE on MOBILE devices/applications/websites. Maybe if this was for Microsoft.mobi.

It wasn't a design used to save space. It was a design used to makes the content/UI elements feel bigger and unconfined. Making a button graphic look cut off doesn't save any space, the button still takes up the exact same amount of space.

geoken said,

It wasn't a design used to save space. It was a design used to makes the content/UI elements feel bigger and unconfined. Making a button graphic look cut off doesn't save any space, the button still takes up the exact same amount of space.

I agree, personally the Metro UI gives off the feeling of a more open environment than other UIs that feel more confined between the walls of the application you are in. Like the People hub vs contacts on iOS and Android. It flows so smooth up/down, left/right. A much better experience than shelved away contacts and tabs.

what said,
What's the problem? You get large icons that take up the same space as smaller ones in the same place. It looks different, a bit swish.

For me, such a design just looks silly. It's like they are desperately trying to be modern and slick. And instead it ends up looking way too conscious of it's own aesthetic.


Mac OS X is all grey. Logically, it's terrible, but it's clean and it works.

But it works because it uses colours, gradients and bevels in the right places and not because it uses silly cut off icon gimmicks.

wixostrix said,

The Metro UI is not boring. The only gripe I have about it is the lack of a background in a lot of areas. It feels like I'm looking into a black hole sometimes with my Focus. Nonetheless, I enjoy the experience. Even though a lot of Microsoft stuff is adopting Metro, they all look fairly different. Unlike with what Apple is doing, iPod Touch, iPad, iPhone, and soon Lion (LaunchPad)will all have the exact same interface. How boring is that?

Because the LaunchPad is a feature, not the entire OS is based on it. That's why it gets boring and irritating when Microsoft does it.

Luis Mazza said,

Because the LaunchPad is a feature, not the entire OS is based on it. That's why it gets boring and irritating when Microsoft does it.

Metro is only the entire OS on the phone and Zune. The new website just mimics it. I don't really have a problem with it since for the first time in a long time, Microsoft is getting some cohesiveness between their products. It's finally feeling less like a bunch of individual products with no relation.

SierraSonic said,
Hey look at all those pointlessly cut off icons!

I personally like Metro and the new website. It just feels less confined to me...

SierraSonic said,
Hey look at all those pointlessly cut off icons!

-1000.... the icons are simple and slick. Go use a mac if you want clunky.

SierraSonic said,
Hey look at all those pointlessly cut off icons!

I see many more things cut off besides icons.

[quote=j2006 said,]
-1000.... the icons are simple and slick.[quote]

I agree. And I think most people here would agree. The icons are simple and slick. But the fact that they're cut off makes them look just retarded.

Mac... Clunky? What are you talking about?

Lamp0 said,
But the fact that they're cut off makes them look just retarded.

Mac... Clunky? What are you talking about?

Speak only for yourself, for me there's nothing retarded about it, it's nice and different while OSX and iOS look both old and lame to me. Hope W8 really goes in this direction.

SierraSonic said,
Hey look at all those pointlessly cut off icons!

I agree. On a phone it makes sense. The space it limited so get some of it falling off to the next page. On a desktop webpage, doesn't make sense.

oh well at least im not the only one that think that cuoff icons its ugly and pointless

what a shame with ie9 UI its so completly messed up

Luis Mazza said,

True. Microsoft is once again using Windows to sell their other important projects. Big mistake. It has proven not to work before and it won't work again, because they dare to charge some $200 for each Windows copy.
MICROSOFT, PEOPLE GET TIRED OF THE WINDOWS INTERFACE EVERYWHERE. PEOPLE GET TIRED OF THE SAME INTERFACE FOR EVERYTHING. Why do you think everyone wants the iPad? Because it's simple, yes... But because it is beautiful and simple. Metro is ugly and confusing.
Another Vista fiasco is coming up.


oh boohoo, they spend millions of USD and manhours into designing the OS, and you have to pay for it? OH NOES.

oh and theres cheaper versions then wanting Ultimate

SierraSonic said,
I never found it to be good design logic to POINTLESSLY cut off icons on desktop applications/websites, which was originally a design used to SAVE SPACE on MOBILE devices/applications/websites. Maybe if this was for Microsoft.mobi.

save space?? look at the wp7 home screen? the screen is cutoff too. save what?

koo9 said,

save space?? look at the wp7 home screen? the screen is cutoff too. save what?

Yes, on the mobile screen it looks as if you are zoomed into the interface. While on the desktop it looks weird and out of place.

Shadowzz said,

oh boohoo, they spend millions of USD and manhours into designing the OS, and you have to pay for it? OH NOES.

oh and theres cheaper versions then wanting Ultimate

I think that extra-large profits, even to cover up bad products are a symptom of lack of efficency and overpricing. That is Microsoft.

Luis Mazza said,

I think that extra-large profits, even to cover up bad products are a symptom of lack of efficency and overpricing. That is Microsoft.

Bad products? Businesses don't use Microsoft products because they have to, they do because they are great products. They aren't without their issues, nothing in software is, but Microsoft is trusted and their stuff works. Windows 7 is a great products, Xbox and Kinect are great and leading the innovation in next-gen gaming. Zune is a fantastic services and the Zune devices were great. Windows Phone 7 is a fantastic piece of work that has surpassed everyones, admittedly low, expectations. Not to mention how well Windows Live is continuing to bring integration between all of them.

Nothing, IMO, from Microsoft is overpriced. Windows SKU and pricing for consumers can use some tweeking, but most people don't buy Windows standalone, they get it with a new computer.

TRC said,

Yeah the cut off button design is terrible. I don't know why they thought that looked good.

It matches the cut off text of WP7

wixostrix said,

Bad products? Businesses don't use Microsoft products because they have to, they do because they are great products. They aren't without their issues, nothing in software is, but Microsoft is trusted and their stuff works. Windows 7 is a great products, Xbox and Kinect are great and leading the innovation in next-gen gaming. Zune is a fantastic services and the Zune devices were great. Windows Phone 7 is a fantastic piece of work that has surpassed everyones, admittedly low, expectations. Not to mention how well Windows Live is continuing to bring integration between all of them.

Nothing, IMO, from Microsoft is overpriced. Windows SKU and pricing for consumers can use some tweeking, but most people don't buy Windows standalone, they get it with a new computer.


OEM installs of windows are dirt cheap compared to an ultimate version.
besides, its not the desktop products that make Microsoft a good company for businesses, its their professional line of products that are the best of their kind by far. For desktop its more a matter of preference or taste whether to go with Windows, Ubuntu or OSX.
But i have yet to find a proper alternative to a Windows environment for businesses if you want proper user rights setup and exchange
OSX rights just plain suck and Linux rights are far overcomplicated and not as sufficient as active directory/group policies. And there is no mail server as powerful and tightly integrated into an OS as Exchange is.
Also MS Office is far ahead of its competition.

SierraSonic said,
Hey look at all those pointlessly cut off icons!

I love the cut off icons. It moves the focus away from the imagery inside the content boxes which clutter up the place, so you can focus on the content itself. It's very thought out.

===
Delight through Content Instead of Decoration
Reduce Visuals that are Not Content
Content is the UI
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metro_Design_Language
===

wixostrix said,
Nothing, IMO, from Microsoft is overpriced. Windows SKU and pricing for consumers can use some tweeking, but most people don't buy Windows standalone, they get it with a new computer.

You're not supposed to buy Windows Ultimate Edition. It's priced with that ridiculous price because Microsoft don't want you to buy it. The computer manufacturers are supposed to buy it, and then pre-install it on the computers that they sell.

Microsoft is a software company with expensive software.
Apple is a hardware company with expensive hardware.