Screenshots reveal Metro UI headed to Windows Live web services

Microsoft’s Metro user interface has earned itself a reputation for polarising opinions. There are those who believe that its ‘authentically digital’ design is infinitely better than the skeuomorphic stylings of iOS, for example; but it’s just as easy to find people who see Metro’s truncated, oversized text and big colourful boxes as being ugly and even childish.

Regardless of its capacity for dividing opinion though, Metro is here to stay, and having already made its mark on Windows Phone, Windows 8 and the Xbox 360, it will soon make its way on to Microsoft’s Windows Live services on the web.

LiveSide was alerted to a discovery made by a reader of Brazil’s Tecnoblog, who came across the first glimpses of the updated UI while accessing Windows Live services over the Easter weekend. The English language screenshots captured by LiveSide show a redesigned sign-up page featuring a new header bar:

Clicking on the arrow in the header bar exposes Windows 8-style links to Windows Live services, including Mail, People, Calendar and SkyDrive:

Tecnoblog also noted that Microsoft’s new Internet Explorer TV ad features a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it screenshot of a new look SkyDrive website:

The upcoming interface updates will inevitably make navigation on Live websites more touch-friendly, while of course creating a more unified user experience (UX) across Microsoft services.

LiveSide noted that the company has posted a job listing on its Microsoft Careers site (or the 'Microsoft Talent Network', as it seems to be called these days), seeking a UX Designer “to build the next generation of the Windows Live web services”; the fact that they're still recruiting to the design team suggests that there remains plenty of work to do before the updates are rolled out. Indeed, Tecnoblog highlighted that the UI seemed to be in its earliest stages of development, with some clunky design and less-than-intuitive layout.

So, it's not exactly ready for prime time yet - but the fact that a Metro-styled update is on the way is certainly something to look forward to… unless, of course, you hate the Metro UI, in which case it’ll just be something new to get your blood pressure up.


Images via LiveSide and Tecnoblog

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Just a thought, but if you look at the the video on http://player.vimeo.com/video/...portrait=0&color=2e2e2e both Twitter and Facebook have top bars with their logos on the left, so it might have been done just to show similarity. Also, the hulu shown in that video is different than the one I see when I go to hulu.com (the hulu logo is in the top left in the video, but on mine it's more centered), furthering my point. Just my 2 cents ;D

g0dlike said,
The metro **** and ugly squares soon to be everywhere. Great!

So, do you prefer circles instead? How about Triangles? At least the design isn't retro.

It seems like MS may finally have one consistent interfaces for all of their products:

Windows 8 desktop/tablet + Xbox + Windows Phone + Windows Live + Office

This year is going to be interesting. I actually like the Metro UI/UX. I really miss the Panoramic and Pivot functions when using Android or iOS. You can view different Pivot just by swiping anywhere on the screen rather than buttons.

KevinN206 said,
It seems like MS may finally have one consistent interfaces for all of their products:

Windows 8 desktop/tablet + Xbox + Windows Phone + Windows Live + Office

This year is going to be interesting. I actually like the Metro UI/UX. I really miss the Panoramic and Pivot functions when using Android or iOS. You can view different Pivot just by swiping anywhere on the screen rather than buttons.


Bing could do with more of a consistent Metro look and feel, though, even regarding those test screenshots we've already seen. The tiles and other elements on those test screenshots are completely different to the Metro elements seen around other Microsoft software.

I hope those screenshots show unfinished versions of the new design because the SkyDrive logo in the top banner should be fully white, in my opinion.

I support Metro. The more minimal, the better the performance. I think Metro's gorgeous in a way. Metro inspired me to make all of my content in Web Design to be minimal.

MrXXIV said,
I support Metro. The more minimal, the better the performance. I think Metro's gorgeous in a way. Metro inspired me to make all of my content in Web Design to be minimal.

I like minimal. But sacrificing functionality over going minimal is plain dumb.

sanke1 said,

I like minimal. But sacrificing functionality over going minimal is plain dumb.

Where did they say that they had done that?

Xerax said,
Where did they say that they had done that?

They didn't say anything. They have already done it. Haven't you used WP7.5 and Windows 8 CP? The Metro interface itself is cool and all. But it tries to hide some obvious options everywhere randomly. Power/Shutdown button for example. Even if that is minimal, it is incredibly frustrating. I might get used to it. But even after 1-2 months of using CP, I still cringe at the thought of going through the process of shutting Windows 8 machine down.

Edit: Come to think of it again, it's the switching two completely opposite interfaces Desktop and Metro while shutting down turns my head.

sanke1 said,

They didn't say anything. They have already done it. Haven't you used WP7.5 and Windows 8 CP? The Metro interface itself is cool and all. But it tries to hide some obvious options everywhere randomly. Power/Shutdown button for example. Even if that is minimal, it is incredibly frustrating. I might get used to it. But even after 1-2 months of using CP, I still cringe at the thought of going through the process of shutting Windows 8 machine down.

Edit: Come to think of it again, it's the switching two completely opposite interfaces Desktop and Metro while shutting down turns my head.

You should know that the most optional thing about Windows ; you don't have to use it. You're clearly going to make more use of Windows 7 when you're probably not going to be using most of Windows 8's features, depending on what services you're signed up to and how you use the PC.

I'm a Web Developer, and I use Open Source along with services that aren't a part of Windows Live. So I need everything right there, so I'll stick with Windows 7's UI. Remember, Windows 8 is more of a portable thing. It's not required.

sanke1 said,

They didn't say anything. They have already done it. Haven't you used WP7.5 and Windows 8 CP? The Metro interface itself is cool and all. But it tries to hide some obvious options everywhere randomly. Power/Shutdown button for example. Even if that is minimal, it is incredibly frustrating. I might get used to it. But even after 1-2 months of using CP, I still cringe at the thought of going through the process of shutting Windows 8 machine down.

Edit: Come to think of it again, it's the switching two completely opposite interfaces Desktop and Metro while shutting down turns my head.

You know, if it's that damn difficult, you can just change your power button to initiate a shutdown. You can also just hit Ctrl+Alt+Del and will be presented shutdown/restart/sleep. From the Desktop, and probably the Start screen, you can hit Alt-F4 and will be presented with the options there as well. There are many ways to shutdown Windows and none of them are new.

sanke1 said,

....

I was like you until I realized that I can take my hands off the keyboard and mouse and use the power button that is a part of every PC configuration since its inception.

dotf said,

I was like you until I realized that I can take my hands off the keyboard and mouse and use the power button that is a part of every PC configuration since its inception.

Why are you jumping on me over power button issue. It was merely an example of unnecessary moving things around. Metro is like hit at first. But then it quickly becomes frustrating once you have to remember which things are hidden where. Most apps need serious amount of additions and usability tweaks. Finding a particular feature of a Metro app is like hunting for an easter egg which designers have hidden deep within. Even the desktop has contracted the same disease. Good luck in finding system restore image creation in CP. Compare that to finding it in Win 7.

We get two tiny and irrelevant pictures of the new UI and you all hate it. You guys haven't even seen the Windows Live metro update yet!

Arrghh, Metro = kill it with fire!

Glad I don't use any live services, and have no need ever to log into the account manager for my live account.

Those screenshots don't look so bad, kind of the same theme Google has on G+. Plain, colorful, clean images and lines without all the clutter. I don't think the metro "look" is terrible, just the metro screen on Windows 8. Glad to see they're making all of their services look consistent, although not everybody is a fan. My little brother sold his XBox 360 when they pushed the metro dashboard update.

Gerowen said,
My little brother sold his XBox 360 when they pushed the metro dashboard update.

Now why don't I believe you? Every person that has seen metro on my Xbox admired it and the same goes for win8. I installed for a lot of people who kept nagging me to install it for them even after I told them that its an incomplete product.

mr lefleur said,

Now why don't I believe you? Every person that has seen metro on my Xbox admired it and the same goes for win8. I installed for a lot of people who kept nagging me to install it for them even after I told them that its an incomplete product.

Me too, even a few apple fanboys ay my college said it looked cool until I said it was windows (win8).

So, now I have a SkyDrive and Hotmail links right at the header. In the new version I will have to click the arrow and then the link I want. Great change ...

I see here another fail like the one with shutting down a computer in Windows 8.

Besides that, now I can create a new mail or Office document from any site (options are in the hover menus). They seem to be removed here. Another fail ...

I think it's just the sign-up page. Essentially, clicking the down arrow shows the services that are available. That's how I interpreted this article and the screenshot.

revanmj said,
So, now I have a SkyDrive and Hotmail links right at the header. In the new version I will have to click the arrow and then the link I want. Great change ...

I see here another fail like the one with shutting down a computer in Windows 8.

Besides that, now I can create a new mail or Office document from any site (options are in the hover menus). They seem to be removed here. Another fail ...


How often do you click those links? Merely having to press an arrow button each time you require access to those links should not cause an issue. Those links being hidden provide a cleaner and more good-looking design, especially now those links are fairly large tiles. Would you like those tiles to always be on show? I believe it would be better if they weren't. We haven't even seen the rest of the interface yet; those tiles constantly being on show could harm the overall design.