Microsoft talks more about the Windows Phone 8 Start screen

Windows Phone 8 officially launched earlier this week when Rogers started selling the Nokia Lumia 920 in Canada. While other parts of the world will have to wait until later this month to check out Windows Phone 8 devices, the company is already talking about some of the things that it has done to improve its moble OS.

In a post on the official Windows Phone blog, Microsoft's Josh Phillips, who worked as the program manager for the new Start screen, talks about its redesign compared to Windows Phone 7. You can see the differences in the photo above, with the old Start screen to the left and the new version on the right.

Phillips says that a Windows Phone device uses more "negative" space compared to an Android or iOS smartphone. He says that's because Microsoft wanted to put more of a spotlight on a user's content. He adds:

In Windows Phone 8, we wanted to shave away even more user interface “chrome” to make room for your content on Start. So you’ll notice the arrow that formerly pointed to the App list has been relocated, while the column of space (or “gutter” in design speak) down the right side of the screen is also now gone. These changes created room for both more and bigger tiles, so you can see even more of what a loved one has to show or say. I also can’t wait to see what app developers do with this expanded canvas.

The blog post also talks about adding color to the Start screen and allowing for users to resize the Live Tiles in Windows Phone 8 to make them either bigger or smaller. Phillips also talks about how Microsoft came up with the four column layout. He states:

Over the months we tested hundreds of design iterations (a process that was both exhilarating and exhausting). Three-column layouts didn’t feel like enough flexibility, whereas five-column layouts left tiles too small to read and tap. In the end, four felt just right. Every app supports small- and medium-sized Live Tiles. But since Start screen real estate is valuable, only apps with something useful to show (like Calendar, Mail, or People, to name just a few) offer a large option.

Source: Windows Phone blog | Image via Microsoft

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so what was all they said about all the thinking they did to come up with the windows phone 7 start screen with all the golden rule and all other reasons of why the start screen was the way it was and now it's called "chrome"? to the spacing of the supposed golden rule lol they contradict themselves too much like on windows 8 they say no one uses the start menu and what do they do give you a full screen start menu????

I think its ugly and I am not convinced that a peek at some info on a tile negates the need to drill down into the app.

The live tile thing looks to be all marketing with no real benefit. I think that the only people who will like the Windows Phone interface are those that have been diagnosed with ADD.

derekaw said,
I think its ugly and I am not convinced that a peek at some info on a tile negates the need to drill down into the app.

The live tile thing looks to be all marketing with no real benefit. I think that the only people who will like the Windows Phone interface are those that have been diagnosed with ADD.

It doesnt negate the need to drill down but it allows you to skip having to drill down in each app.

For example, my train app knows my 'favorite' lines, and the tile will say whether those lines have a delay. If the tile says there are no delays then I dont have to open the app. I also have a 'rain radar' that shows me a picture of my country with collored clouds on it. One view and I know what I can expect the comming hours.

Its also nice to see status updates of my girlfriend, best friends and sister. Its also nice to see appointments, missed calls, unread emails, the temperature, linkedin invites and optional updates for apps. It isn't crucial but why waste so much space with static icons when live tiles take up about the same room but offer information as well as shortcuts to apps, friends, webpages, etc.

So it is far from a a gimmick aqnd you dont need to insult everyone who enjoys their Windows Phone.

derekaw said,
I think its ugly and I am not convinced that a peek at some info on a tile negates the need to drill down into the app.

The live tile thing looks to be all marketing with no real benefit. I think that the only people who will like the Windows Phone interface are those that have been diagnosed with ADD.


derekaw said,
I think its ugly and I am not convinced that a peek at some info on a tile negates the need to drill down into the app.
The live tile thing looks to be all marketing with no real benefit. I think that the only people who will like the Windows Phone interface are those that have been diagnosed with ADD.

Then don't ****ing it, damn.

derekaw said,
I think its ugly and I am not convinced that a peek at some info on a tile negates the need to drill down into the app.
The live tile thing looks to be all marketing with no real benefit. I think that the only people who will like the Windows Phone interface are those that have been diagnosed with ADD.

Then don't ****ing buy it, damn.

derekaw said,
I think its ugly and I am not convinced that a peek at some info on a tile negates the need to drill down into the app.

The live tile thing looks to be all marketing with no real benefit. I think that the only people who will like the Windows Phone interface are those that have been diagnosed with ADD.


Ding ding ding!! We have a troll over here!!

Get over yourself...

I'm a little confused by his comment that the arrow to access the programs list was "relocated".

Relocated means it was moved from one position to another position. It looks a lot to me like it was *removed* though.

Joshie said,
I'm a little confused by his comment that the arrow to access the programs list was "relocated".

Relocated means it was moved from one position to another position. It looks a lot to me like it was *removed* though.

But it hasn't been removed. If you've seen WP8 in action then you'll notice the arrow is below the tiles. IMO it looks out of place there but I guess MS wanted something to notify new costumers about the app list on the right.

If you havent seen it, check a review/preview of WP8. Usually the reviewer scrolls down on the startscreen and reveals the new location of the arrow.

Ronnet said,

But it hasn't been removed. If you've seen WP8 in action then you'll notice the arrow is below the tiles. IMO it looks out of place there but I guess MS wanted something to notify new costumers about the app list on the right.

If you havent seen it, check a review/preview of WP8. Usually the reviewer scrolls down on the startscreen and reveals the new location of the arrow.


Ah hah. I had just assumed you could swipe to the right.

Joshie said,

Ah hah. I had just assumed you could swipe to the right.

You can and for me that is enough.

However I have a co-worker with a Lumia 800 and he prefers to press the arrow. So I can understand why Microsoft is reluctant to get rid of it.

I like the ability to have small, medium, and large tiles, but every concept/demo/etc they show of it always looks cluttered.

The small tiles looks to small for touch. A medium size would be the minimum I would use for touch. But the spacing between the tiles does help a lot. I guess I have to wait and see. Lots of great features. I can see this being the number 1 phone os in the next 5 years. Looks great!

tytytucke said,
The small tiles looks to small for touch. A medium size would be the minimum I would use for touch. But the spacing between the tiles does help a lot. I guess I have to wait and see. Lots of great features. I can see this being the number 1 phone os in the next 5 years. Looks great!

??? Too small?

It's four tiles in a row at the smallest size, just like four icons in a row on Android or iPhone. It's no harder to touch than any icon on any competing platform.

Windows Phone 7 owners, if you're unsure about the new start screen, go download the W Phone 8 app, it's an app that mimics the WP8 start screen. It looks neat.

FalseAgent said,
Windows Phone 7 owners, if you're unsure about the new start screen, go download the W Phone 8 app, it's an app that mimics the WP8 start screen. It looks neat.

I just wish the developer of Launcher 7 on Android would update his app so you can mimic WP8 with it rather than just WP7. Would love the new interface on my SGS2 while I wait for Nokia to get off their arses, end the exclusivity arrangement with EE/P4U, and take my money

I think I prefer the Windows Phone 7 Start Screen, despite of its fewer customization options. The Windows Phone 8 Start Screen looks kinda messy and chaotic from the screen shot's I've seen. Can't wait to load it onto my Lumia 900 though to see what it's like in person. It's good though Windows Phone 7.8/8 utilizes all available screen estate though. The empty strip on the right in Windows Phone 7.5 is just a waste.

.Neo said,
I think I prefer the Windows Phone 7 Start Screen...

I think it is mater of good planing and own personalization, as a Lumia 800 owner I find 8/7.8 start screen more logic and less wasted space, with this ability I can have everything what I need on "one" screen without scrolling

I have to disagree, I think the new start screen looks amazing. But it's all subjective, and the beauty of WP8 is that, if you want to, you can jam your screen full of small tiles, or you can go back to the two-column style of WP7 and do mostly medium tiles if you prefer (sans the empty space on the right, of course). So great to have that freedom!

.Neo said,
I think I prefer the Windows Phone 7 Start Screen, despite of its fewer customization options. The Windows Phone 8 Start Screen looks kinda messy and chaotic from the screen shot's I've seen. Can't wait to load it onto my Lumia 900 though to see what it's like in person. It's good though Windows Phone 7.8/8 utilizes all available screen estate though. The empty strip on the right in Windows Phone 7.5 is just a waste.

there is nothing stopping you from having the wp8 start screen look like the one in windows phone 7. just choose to have every tile in that size:)

I hope you are joking, because you can keep the same wp7 screen in wp8. The size of the tiles are controlled by you. The only difference will there is no empty space on the right.

.Neo said,
I think I prefer the Windows Phone 7 Start Screen, despite of its fewer customization options. The Windows Phone 8 Start Screen looks kinda messy and chaotic from the screen shot's I've seen. Can't wait to load it onto my Lumia 900 though to see what it's like in person. It's good though Windows Phone 7.8/8 utilizes all available screen estate though. The empty strip on the right in Windows Phone 7.5 is just a waste.

.Neo said,
I think I prefer the Windows Phone 7 Start Screen, despite of its fewer customization options. The Windows Phone 8 Start Screen looks kinda messy and chaotic from the screen shot's I've seen.

Sorry Neo, but those screen shots you've seen have all been based on personal preference. You can have the screen looking exactly like WP7 (minus the wasted "gutter") if you like. So what's left to prefer?

the WP8 start screen seems to have nothing of any use on it (the Wp7 has much more useful tiles/programs on it). I'm reconsidering buying the Nokia 920 now, I may get a Samsung with android instead. At least it has useful icons on it and I can use the thing!

Also the old "rounded" phone with the rounded windows logo looks far better than the new "square" 920 and "square" windows logo.

if the 920 (/win 8) had been available for purchase at the beginning of November I might have just bought it without thinking. Now, with more information, I don't think I will.

I think you need to read more info about WP7/WP8 start screen. The start screen is your personal. You can pin any useful programs to it, or unpin anything that you don't need to. They are not static start screen.

dvb2000 said,
the WP8 start screen seems to have nothing of any use on it (the Wp7 has much more useful tiles/programs on it). I'm reconsidering buying the Nokia 920 now, I may get a Samsung with android instead. At least it has useful icons on it and I can use the thing!

Also the old "rounded" phone with the rounded windows logo looks far better than the new "square" 920 and "square" windows logo.

if the 920 (/win 8) had been available for purchase at the beginning of November I might have just bought it without thinking. Now, with more information, I don't think I will.

.Neo said,
I think I prefer the Windows Phone 7 Start Screen, despite of its fewer customization options. The Windows Phone 8 Start Screen looks kinda messy and chaotic from the screen shot's I've seen. Can't wait to load it onto my Lumia 900 though to see what it's like in person. It's good though Windows Phone 7.8/8 utilizes all available screen estate though. The empty strip on the right in Windows Phone 7.5 is just a waste.

That's what's nice about Windows Phone. If you feel it's chaotic, you don't have to use the small tile sizes...

MDboyz said,
I hope you are joking, because you can keep the same wp7 screen in wp8. The size of the tiles are controlled by you. The only difference will there is no empty space on the right


Gee wiz, really??

.Neo said,
Did you people blank out when I said I can't wait to try it out for myself?

Is what I meant to write.