Microsoft's Windows Store gets a new layout

The Windows Store in the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 is a dramatic shift for Microsoft as it will open up a new revenue stream for the company and will also provide consumers with a convenient and secure way to purchase applications for the platform. Rolling out today, according to one user on Twitter, is a revamped design for the layout of the store.

The new look can be seen above and it should not come as a surprise that Microsoft has tweaked the layout. We fully expect Microsoft will continue to refine layout up until the launch day of Windows 8 and if the Xbox 360 is any indication, we could see several overhauls of the layout in the next few years.

The Windows Store is slowly being filled with content. When there are only a few applications, it is easy to sort and align them to broad categories. As the store grows, the refinement of categories will be critical to keeping the store organized to make sure consumers can find the application that fits their needs.

Let us know if you see the new look, Michael Gillett in the UK said that he can see it, but currently I cannot see it in the US. 

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eh this goes along with the article about metro losing its thing for "simplicity." I don't think that cramming the screen with 27 tiles and leaving no room for white space is truly metro.

Since when does Metro mean solid blocks of random color?! The Windows 8 and Xbox teams have absolutely ruined Metro by applying the "let's stick everything in a solid colored box" approach to EVERYTHING. It's like the dev teams at Microsoft are using Metro as an excuse to be lazy!!

They seriously need to look back at when Metro was good; Zune software and Zune HD are great examples, WP7 is an alright example too (although, IMO, WP7 was the start of the downward trend of Metro).

I love Metro when done right, but I strongly dislike the Windows 8 start screen, and I absolutely hate the Windows Store...

Metro should look like a Magazine cover, NOT a crayon book. My god please please please tell me they are going to dress it up a bit, and that this is just a new "layout" with content to come.

The metro thing is pretty cool and will the future for the next years to come..

but dam, they make it ugly..

None of the categories are displaying results properly and a lot of the apps that were once there cannot be found?

LOL people are reacting as if they have seen Metro for the very first time ever. It pretty much looks like the Start screen minus icons (which many people including myself find ugly) - but why the shock reaction now?

Have you ever tried looking at a webpage with a white background after first waking up? It feels like you're staring at the sun it's so bright. Not only that but the colours used by tiles hold no significance, which means you're having to read the title of every tile to find what you want. At least with the Metro start screen you can customise the background colour and add patterns to make it more visually appealing.

xpclient said,
LOL people are reacting as if they have seen Metro for the very first time ever. It pretty much looks like the Start screen minus icons (which many people including myself find ugly) - but why the shock reaction now?

This isn't Metro. This is lazy Microsoft devs using Metro as an excuse to be lazy. Metro was never about solid colored blocks until WP7, and then the Windows 8 and Xbox teams took the solid block concept from WP7 and applied it to absolutely everything...

And yes, this is similar to the W8 start screen (which I already find to be ugly), but it's basically taken everything that is bad about the start screen and made it worse...I think that's why there's such a bad reaction to it.

Needs icons or something. Make use of the live tiles.

I wonder what the second tier is like after you select a category. Ad central. Considering what they have done to the 360 I think they are going to ram it home on Windows 8 once your past tier 1.

While I admire them sticking to their guns on strict minimalism, I don't see how that interface facilitates finding content.

lunarworks said,
While I admire them sticking to their guns on strict minimalism, I don't see how that interface facilitates finding content.

Agreed, but don't forget that Windows 8 is still in beta, and all the various apps including the store are at an even earlier developmental stage. No doubt they're still experimenting with various layouts and such at the moment.

TCLN Ryster said,

Agreed, but don't forget that Windows 8 is still in beta, and all the various apps including the store are at an even earlier developmental stage. No doubt they're still experimenting with various layouts and such at the moment.

Yes, It is still in Beta, but jesus this is the proverbial low hanging fruit. They've got all of this historical Metro design stuff like zune and xbox and WMC which is all considered functional and attractive by a majority of users and they have this stuff coming out. The real hurdles to overcome seem to be the 2 or 3 designers which pump this stuff out who no one ever diagnosed as the colorblind SOBs they are.

And where is the black theme. I like that I can set my start screen to dark grey. Cool but why isn't there some kind of light / dark theme option so I can have apps default to a black background instead of white. I'm not a developer but all this stuff can't require a huge amount of resources to put in place.

While the tile design works well enough for the Start Screen. This update is pathetic. The old version was better despite it's faults. Perhaps this is a transition state, but why release it this way?
I still think if they are going to continue to have no purpose to the coloring of the tiles, this is a big failure. The programs all blend together and the colors they get seem to have no bearing on what category they belong to. It makes discovery horrendously slow.

I am really growing to hate these colored boxes now! there is only so much of a color can a human eye take at once....and here we have pure color filled boxes.....my eyes feel bad....very bad!

Eh, it looks better than before but could still be better like having Top Free, Top Paid like iTunes does.
But still, it's still pretty damn bad. I mean this horizontal scrolling is just ech, biggest thing I hate about Metro!

.Neo said,
Every time I think things just can't get worse with Windows 8 Microsoft shows me otherwise.

I really, really doubt this is the final product. If it is, I'll buy you a mountain lion. Microsoft usually throws the pretty stuff in at the very end.

The design still doesn't use a responsive layout, which means that nearly two-thirds of the screen is left blank on high resolution displays: http://img856.imageshack.us/img856/2162/storet.jpg The bizarre thing is that when you click on a category it actually DOES use the full vertical resolution. It's just lazy design.

Security is actually the last tab, which means rather than including all the content on the same screen you have to scroll right. It might be great for tablets but it's horrible on the desktop. More importantly, the previous design showed you apps in each category - with the current design you now have lots of repeating coloured tiles but it is completely devoid of any personality. This is especially true of the background, as the plain white is harsh on the eyes.

Microsoft should be leading by example. As it stands there are many third party apps that make better use of the screen.

I can't even use the Windows Store on my desktop or laptop. Search is broken, and clicking on nearly anything brings me to a page telling me it can't find it.

They had it right with how Zune's was set up on the left vertical menu of categories. This is too much for the eyes to consume.

Palpatine said,
This is against all Metro principles

In what way? This is pretty much Metro in its purest form.

This and the start screen would look way better if they stuck to a single color, or similar colors for the tiles. Sure it would take a little longer to pick out a specific tile you're looking for but, it would be visually much more appealing. Look at all the marketing images for windows phone, they all have the same color tiles for the most part.

giantpotato said,
This and the start screen would look way better if they stuck to a single color, or similar colors for the tiles. Sure it would take a little longer to pick out a specific tile you're looking for but, it would be visually much more appealing. Look at all the marketing images for windows phone, they all have the same color tiles for the most part.

http://i45.tinypic.com/2meu79y.jpg

giantpotato said,
This and the start screen would look way better if they stuck to a single color, or similar colors for the tiles. Sure it would take a little longer to pick out a specific tile you're looking for but, it would be visually much more appealing. Look at all the marketing images for windows phone, they all have the same color tiles for the most part.

The tile colours on the start screen are not defined by Microsoft, but by app developer. I think they should give users the ability to override the app developer's choice and pick their own though.

I really don't know why they haven't just ported the winphone interface and transitions. I really hate all of these multicolored tiles. It makes it harder to identify tiles especially since I've never been able to identify a classification scheme for apps. It's not like games are all in blue and productivity is in green. It's just like random and that is poor design and truthfully creates a lack of style.

I'm sure someone will hack it to be able to control the style more but this seems like an option that shouldn't be anything but obvious and easy to include within the config options they already include.

Zain Adeel said,
man who is doing this???

they seriously need some Designers there~!

I have a simple idea. Choose top 6 apps and show them in each tile... and use a color overlay over TEXT>. and allow the text to have the color that most of those apps have.. like we have the glow color on taskbar. Its decided by the color of the icon. Just like that. I could make a mockup but id need these app icons.

It's a shame Metro Style is turning in this direction as far as i've seen all those new metro apps comes with the Xbox 360 metro flavored style I'd prefer zune's metro style its beautiful useful and offers a good experience across devices. If microsoft is adopting that ufgly interface I think its because of an intend to bring Kinect Interaction to tablets and PC's Otherwhise that ugly metro style will be the end of Microsoft Windows

The trick is having enough differentiation and not having it all run together. Some sort of icon/symbols on the tiles would help a lot. I mean I see the pattern and all but at first glance it looks completely random. Having a powerful search feature will be a necessity no matter what it looks like.

They should add a few thumbnails of the most downloaded app for each tile.
A 3x3 grid where the bottom row would be text on a colored background, and each other cell contains a thumbnail, for example.

I think it looks better... BUT it needs some iconography or photos within those tiles to make them easily distinguishable.

j2006 said,
I think it looks better... BUT it needs some iconography or photos within those tiles to make them easily distinguishable.

That may probably be doing that next. I can imagine that spotlight games/books/videos/artists may be shown in the live tiles, once everything is finished.

Xenon said,
Microsoft REALLY needs to hire UI people with a sense of style. The store is truly ugly.

I love the metro design style, but the store seriously needs some style and usability help.

MrHumpty said,

I love the metro design style, but the store seriously needs some style and usability help.

I agree. However I'm reserving judgement until it's actually released towards the end of this year.

MrHumpty said,

I love the metro design style, but the store seriously needs some style and usability help.

I agree. I'm reserving judgement until it actually comes out of course, but it does need some work. The store is much more functional now than it was, but it's not there yet for sure.