Nokia considered radical redesign of Windows Phone UI

Back when Microsoft and Nokia first announced their partnership, Nokia was given special permission to tweak Windows Phone's UI to their heart's content. So far nothing has come out of that provision, but PocketNow has come across some of Nokia's plans, which seem to have been discontinued.

As you can tell from the screenshots, Nokia largely ditched the geometrical design Microsoft's polarizing Metro interface. Instead of Live Tiles, it's got... Live Bubbles! The emphasis on stark colors and typography is still here, but the differences aren't hard to spot.

In one of the screenshots, a photo hangs on a clothes line, while a bird sweeps by overhead carrying a calendar. All of this is set against a brown background of a mountainous landscape, complete with a child carrying a balloon underneath a floating clock. The new interface is more acid than Metro.

Before you get too upset, PocketNow says that the designer got transferred to Accenture last September, which is the company that Nokia has in charge of Symbian's UI. You've got to feel sorry for those poor Symbian users. These designs are definitely original, but 'usability' is probably the last thing that comes to mind when you see them.

A Nokia spokesperson actually told PocketNow that the designs weren't even actually ever considered, saying that the mockups were "purely her own personal design explorations and were never part of any project being done at or for Nokia." If that's true, you've got to wonder why she bothered to do it if she wasn't getting paid for it.

For their part, Microsoft denies any knowledge that Nokia ever considered altering the interface, and Rich Greene, Nokia's Chief Technology Officer, seems to favor a more hands off approach. At the Windows Phone Day seminar in February of 2011, he said that:

There are so many places to innovate, it is critically important to provide the greatest opportunity for you the developer, you build once and everybody gets it, when you create more and more variance it becomes a hindrance. We also want customers to move between devices, preferably towards Nokia devices, but move between devices and not to hinder that in any fashion.

Basically, it sounds like he'd rather see Windows Phone bring together the best parts of the Android approach and the iOS approach; the simplicity and interoperability of the iOS design, where everything works the same way, and Android's flexibility of having different hardware to suit different needs. That sounds like a pretty good idea to us.

Images courtesy of PocketNow

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Keep the design flowing, design is the spice of life.

While this didn't bear any fruit, it's still a good experiment.

My fear is when design stops. Some of the world's best products came out of a radical redesign of an existing product.
I applaud her efforts, and beg her to continue. Great work!

MS would not let that happen... MS is paying Nokia not the other way around. Helping to integrate with strong hardware was part of the deal... not throwing away the primary UI paradigm that MS has worked so hard to flog and is starting to make headway... that is probably an app... that connects a bunch of hubs together... Let's hope...

I think Nokia is making fun of the Metro design. Don't believe they will change of WP UI because they UI standard that they will need to follow by Mircosoft.

ACTIONpack said,
I think Nokia is making fun of the Metro design. Don't believe they will change of WP UI because they UI standard that they will need to follow by Mircosoft.

Actually Nokia was given the unique option to alter the interface.

ACTIONpack said,
I think Nokia is making fun of the Metro design. Don't believe they will change of WP UI because they UI standard that they will need to follow by Mircosoft.

I don't think Nokia would make fun of a UI that they are embracing and putting on all of their devices... :?

.Neo said,

Actually Nokia was given the unique option to alter the interface.

Yes, but I'm sure Microsoft has some involvement and veto power on that too. They are trying to converge all of the devices running Windows so they have a similar look and feel...

"If that's true, you've got to wonder why she bothered to do it if she wasn't getting paid for it."

Imagine if everyone thought like this. No artist would ever come up with new music. No new ideas. Hell why bother. Lets just do as we are told.

Did you ever think that is what she enjoys doing?

Interesting. Probably not very productive, but interesting.

One of these days, hopefully, they'll be able to blend nice graphic design and usefulness.

As a designer, we always toy with design concepts. While we're working on something we're thinking "this looks cool!". By the time we're done though, sometimes we pause and say "well, that didn't turn out like I had hoped..." We then put it into the pile of ideas that get lost or forgotten. From an artistic stand point it's cool but from a UI standpoint, argh!

It's part of the creative process and it makes one really appreciate how good Metro actually is.

TheCyberKnight said,
Thank God Microsoft held its own on this one.
Nokia should continue to focus on building phones. Just phones. And maybe a tablet.

Nokia never considered this as a design for Windows Phone, or even commissioned someone to design it as a UI redux. The article headline is quite misleading

~Johnny said,

Nokia never considered this as a design for Windows Phone, or even commissioned someone to design it as a UI redux. The article headline is quite misleading


It isn't just misleading, . . . it's completely contradictory to what the article says haha. I reported it just after the article was posted, but it hasn't yet been changed.

Callum said,

It isn't just misleading, . . . it's completely contradictory to what the article says haha. I reported it just after the article was posted, but it hasn't yet been changed.

I understand what you guys are saying, but just because Microsoft or Nokia says they aren't/didn't consider doing something, that doesn't mean it's true. Remember how Apple wasn't considering making a tablet? The text of the article is in line with the title - at least it presents it as a *possibility,* it's only the words of the Nokia spokesperson that are in direct contradiction.

So, yeah, it's possible that they didn't consider it, but it's also possible that they were trying to avoid some embarrassment, or just didn't want to bother explaining. We're not the only ones making such suggestions, so I personally don't feel like the title is out of line with what the story is about.

THolman said,
I understand what you guys are saying, but just because Microsoft or Nokia says they aren't/didn't consider doing something, that doesn't mean it's true.

Honestly this rhetoric of yours doesn't make any sense whatsoever. You can't title an article this way without providing a single shred of evidence yourself while only providing proof to the contrary. Imagine a news article with the title: "The PM uses cocaine and heroin on a daily basis" - then the article goes on quoting the PM saying "I never used drugs ever" with other officials stating there's not a single piece of evidence pointing to the contrary. Your reaction to that is: "The title is fine because, hey, they could be lying!" Surely you must understand the conflict here? Your title and article really isn't any different.

Basically the title is problematic because:
A) Currently you're giving the initial impression that the title's claim is fact, which it isn't
B) There's no proof whatsoever given to back the title's claim, not even a real theory is explained
C) You don't really go into it and/or dig deeper
D) You're contradicting yourself (title compared to what's in the article)

The only way you can use your current title is to have a source to back it up with. If you don't, it just doesn't make any sense.

THolman said,
So, yeah, it's possible that they didn't consider it, but it's also possible that they were trying to avoid some embarrassment, or just didn't want to bother explaining.

It's pure speculation based on nothing. At least, nothing comes up in the article.

Edited by .Neo, Mar 20 2012, 10:36pm :

.Neo said,

Honestly this rhetoric of yours doesn't make any sense whatsoever. You can't title an article this way without providing a single shred of evidence yourself while only providing proof to the contrary. Imagine a news article with the title: "The PM uses cocaine and heroin on a daily basis" - then the article goes on quoting the PM saying "I never used drugs ever" with other officials stating there's not a single piece of evidence pointing to the contrary. Your reaction to that is: "The title is fine because, hey, they could be lying!" Surely you must understand the conflict here? Your title and article really isn't any different.

Basically the title is problematic because:
A) Currently you're giving the initial impression that the title's claim is fact, which it isn't
B) There's no proof whatsoever given to back the title's claim, not even a real theory is explained
C) You don't really go into it and/or dig deeper
D) You're contradicting yourself (title compared to what's in the article)

The only way you can use your current title is to have a source to back it up with. If you don't, it just doesn't make any sense.


It's pure speculation based on nothing. At least, nothing comes up in the article.

Agreed. As this is a News Article and not an Opinion Piece, you really can't write a news story and then use your personal opinion (Especially when contradictory to the news story) to title it...

It looks like it was titled just for clicks personally... And all it does is confuse people, so why even do this?

S3P€hR said,
I don't know why they hide it ?

Because I couldn't care less what the signal strength is. The only useful information on the top bar is the time, except in special circumstances - in which case you can swipe down to retrieve it.

rfirth said,

Because I couldn't care less what the signal strength is. The only useful information on the top bar is the time, except in special circumstances - in which case you can swipe down to retrieve it.

Yeah, I prefer things like that to hide unless I need it. The clock being the only real exception.

Neobond said,
I would have fired her too.
While I'm sure that's hyperbole, it's still a ridiculous sentiment. We know almost nothing of the circumstances of the mockups. It's unnecessarily insulting to the designer.

.Neo said,
I'm guessing the designer targeted 8-14-year old girls only?

I'd like it... Should be more pink/purple though and with manga decor.

I'd just use it as a "weekend GUI" though... I'd never want it as main (and without hacks only) GUI though!
*pats iPhone: "Good girl... Good girl!"*

GS:mac

There is some speculation that these are actually design mockups done for Symbian^4 when it was under Symbian Foundation. There was talk about 3 different types of design being considered where one was plain, the second being what is Belle now and a third design which was sort of cartoonish. Some believe this is that third design and the designer who worked on this, she is currently with Accenture and they currently handles Symbian.

Burn it with fire!

On second thought, it would be pretty cool if those bubbles were constantly moving and shifting around. It would take a little more hand eye coordination to open anything and get anything done. Usability is overrated these days. Adding a calendar appointment or answering a phone call should give you experience points.

Edited by Shadrack, Mar 20 2012, 4:36pm :

Shadrack said,

On second thought, it would be pretty cool if those bubbles were constantly moving and shifting around. It would take a little more hand eye coordination to open anything and get anything done.


This exists on Symbian and is known as Nokia Bubbles and it is very easy to use.
http://betalabs.nokia.com/apps/nokia-bubbles

Shadrack said,

OMG. That scares me. I like the bubble-to-bubble action... but why not just make the movement more subtle?

Yeah, good grief! If a cop saw me trying to use that he'd make me take a breathalizer... LOL

"If that's true, you've got to wonder why she bothered to do it if she wasn't getting paid for it."

Not really. Many designers went for a job as a Designer because they enjoy designing, so it isn't unbelievable that someone would want to design something in their spare time, for their own leisure.

Callum said,
"If that's true, you've got to wonder why she bothered to do it if she wasn't getting paid for it."

Not really. Many designers went for a job as a Designer because they enjoy designing, so it isn't unbelievable that someone would want to design something in their spare time, for their own leisure.

Absolutely. Everyone I've ever known that designs stuff like this designs a lot of stuff in their free time to play around with ideas. It's, as far as I'm concerned, very normal.

M_Lyons10 said,

Absolutely. Everyone I've ever known that designs stuff like this designs a lot of stuff in their free time to play around with ideas. It's, as far as I'm concerned, very normal.


I completely agree I think I'd actually be surprised if a designer didn't design much in their spare time. I wouldn't wonder why, but I would perhaps be surprised.

"you've got to wonder why she bothered to do it if she wasn't getting paid for it."
Why bother do anything if you're not paid to do it...

*Looks at headline*

Nokia considered radical redesign of Windows Phone UI

*Reads Article*

A Nokia spokesperson actually told PocketNow that the designs weren't even actually ever considered [...]

… Come ooooon!

Anyway, it's pretty easy to see why a designer would do it. Designers generally like to design, she was probably just having some artistic fun in her free time - not actually researching and crafting a properly usable interface for her job.

Edited by ~Johnny, Mar 20 2012, 4:24pm :

~Johnny said,
*Looks at headline*


*Reads Article*


… Come ooooon!

Anyway, it's pretty easy to see why a designer would do it. Designers generally like to design, she was probably just having some artistic fun in her free time - not actually researching and crafting a properly usable interface for her job.

That's what I was thinking too.

And I agree about the headline. Clearly designed to grab clicks...

if WP7 had a wallpaper it would sell more maybe wp8 will have that option. the solid colors and black background doesn't look good on store windows next to all the jaz you see on android phones.

it is trivial to fix MSFT. just do it!

neonspark said,
if WP7 had a wallpaper it would sell more maybe wp8 will have that option. the solid colors and black background doesn't look good on store windows next to all the jaz you see on android phones.

it is trivial to fix MSFT. just do it!

Agreed. The Zune screen looks fantastic with those backgrounds.

neonspark said,
if WP7 had a wallpaper it would sell more maybe wp8 will have that option. the solid colors and black background doesn't look good on store windows next to all the jaz you see on android phones.

it is trivial to fix MSFT. just do it!


I don't know. I like the high contrast Windows Phone currently has, plus that would probably break the unified interface to some degree.

XMac said,

I don't know. I like the high contrast Windows Phone currently has, plus that would probably break the unified interface to some degree.
I tend to agree with you, but I think allowing the user to supply a custom background--that the tiles still exist on top of in the same metro format--would help to ease some people into the system. I used a background on my iPhone for awhile, but then I went to the most basic one that I could after a few weeks.

pickypg said,
I tend to agree with you, but I think allowing the user to supply a custom background--that the tiles still exist on top of in the same metro format--would help to ease some people into the system. I used a background on my iPhone for awhile, but then I went to the most basic one that I could after a few weeks.

Yeah, you run into the same problem you do with a desktop wallpaper under Metro on Windows 8 though, where depending on how many tiles, it will need to stretch the image to an unknown size. With iPhone or Android, the home screen is the size it will always be. With Windows Phone that's not the case. That certainly complicates things like desktop wallpapers.

WP7 said,
Lol looks like a kids cartoon or something, glad it never caught on!
Agreed. Looks like some corny game for toddlers. IMHO it's incredibly ugly.

Steven Hutchison said,

Eventuated? WTF?

eventuated
past participle, past tense of e·ven·tu·ate (Verb)
Verb:
Occur as a result.
Lead to as a result: "circumstances that eventuate in crime".

UndergroundWire said,
I don't think chAos972 was questioning the definition of the word. He was questioning that it was used in a forum.

Why? It's a normal word used by many

mikeyx12 said,

Sorry, Mr. Uneducated. We can't all be as ignorant as you.

Relax, you don't have to be a jerk. It was just a joke. Did you miss your feeding time?

UndergroundWire said,

Relax, you don't have to be a jerk. It was just a joke. Did you miss your feeding time?


Calm down buddy, I was just joking

But anyway, please explain to me how it was a "puerile response". Joke or not, you make no sense...

mikeyx12 said,

But anyway, please explain to me how it was a "puerile response". Joke or not, you make no sense...

It was a trivial response. Just because one doesn't hear it everyday doesn't make it any less of a word to be used on everyday conversation. the response was just a joke

UndergroundWire said,

It was a trivial response. Just because one doesn't hear it everyday doesn't make it any less of a word to be used on everyday conversation. the response was just a joke

Care to read my first comment again? "It's a normal word used by many."

UndergroundWire said,

Just because one doesn't hear it everyday doesn't make it any less of a word to be used on everyday conversation.

Exactly the reason for my comment... lol...

mikeyx12 said,

What did you think I said?

Quite frankly I'm just dropping it. I still don't understand why you said Sorry, Mr. Uneducated. We can't all be as ignorant as you. Since I never once questioned why he used the word, I was only making a joke.

But that's neither here or there. I'm sure this whole thing is a misunderstanding since it's hard to tell if one is joking on the internet.

UndergroundWire said,

Quite frankly I'm just dropping it. I still don't understand why you said Sorry, Mr. Uneducated. We can't all be as ignorant as you. Since I never once questioned why he used the word, I was only making a joke.

But that's neither here or there. I'm sure this whole thing is a misunderstanding since it's hard to tell if one is joking on the internet.


Dude, what the hell are you on about? Either you've misread what I said by mistake, or you're going crazy.

I said "Sorry, Mr Uneducated" in response to your comment "That was such a puerile response. "

Forget everything else, it's irrelevant. You said MY response (which was: "It's a normal word used by many.") was puerile, so please answer a very simple question: HOW SO?

mikeyx12 said,

Dude, what the hell are you on about? Either you've misread what I said by mistake, or you're going crazy.

I said "Sorry, Mr Uneducated" in response to your comment "That was such a puerile response. "

Forget everything else, it's irrelevant. You said MY response (which was: "It's a normal word used by many.") was puerile, so please answer a very simple question: HOW SO?

Like I said, no reason to explain anything. I'm past that.

UndergroundWire said,

Like I said, no reason to explain anything. I'm past that.

lol! Well, in the time it took you to reply just now, you could have easily explained.

But you can't - because you misread what I said and rather than admitting it and moving on, you're just avoiding the question. Haha.

mikeyx12 said,

lol! Well, in the time it took you to reply just now, you could have easily explained.

But you can't - because you misread what I said and rather than admitting it and moving on, you're just avoiding the question. Haha.

Gotcha!

mikeyx12 said,

'Gotcha' is not an answer.

I'M MAKING A JOKE. YOU TOOK IT SERIOUSLY BECAUSE YOU ARE INSECURE AND THOUGHT IT WAS A JAB ON YOUR LACK OF INTELLIGENCE. I WANTED TO DROP IT AND BECAUSE YOU ARE IMMATURE YOU CAN'T. BECAUSE YOU WANT TO SEEM LIKE YOU ARE RIGHT.

YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO TAKE A JOKE. YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO DROP THINGS. IS THAT A GOOD RESPONSE FOR YOU?

NOW I AM DROPPING IT.

Have a nice day.

UndergroundWire said,

I'M MAKING A JOKE. YOU TOOK IT SERIOUSLY BECAUSE YOU ARE INSECURE AND THOUGHT IT WAS A JAB ON YOUR LACK OF INTELLIGENCE. I WANTED TO DROP IT AND BECAUSE YOU ARE IMMATURE YOU CAN'T. BECAUSE YOU WANT TO SEEM LIKE YOU ARE RIGHT.

YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO TAKE A JOKE. YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO DROP THINGS. IS THAT A GOOD RESPONSE FOR YOU?

NOW I AM DROPPING IT.

Have a nice day.


Hehe.

It was not a joke - it did not make sense, it was not funny, and had no relation to anything I actually said. All your subsequent replies have shown your inability to explain why you made such a random/irrelevant comment. For one to take a joke, it actually has to BE a joke, in case you weren't aware of that.

I'm not dropping it because the only joke is you, and that joke is quite hilarious and very entertaining.


If you can't post comments that make sense, then simply don't post. It won't hurt your head so much.

mikeyx12 said,
...
Again, I'm sorry I hurt your feelings. I always forget that there is a lot of babies on this site. Thank you for helping me remember this.