Microsoft's product design themes explained in new article

Microsoft's launch of Windows 8 in late 2012 presented many people with their first glimpse of the company's Modern UI. However, the basic design of that interface was first introduced in Windows Phone 7 in 2010 and was later added to the dashboard of the Xbox 360.

In a new an extensive in-house article, Microsoft takes a look at how the company has evolved its design concepts over the past three years to where they are today. The article, written by Steve Clayton, the head of the "Next at Microsoft" blog, is designed to be accessed best by a touchscreen tablet, although it can also be read on standard PC web browsers as well.

The Modern Design movement, the International Typographic Style, and the field of Motion Design are listed as the main influences for Microsoft designers in their concepts in reinventing how their products look and are used. Other design principles including creating programs that are "fast and fluid" and also have a digital look that cannot be replicated in the real world. Images show the Windows design team at work at Microsoft on these concepts.

Yet another Modern UI design principle is doing more with less; in other words, doing away with elements that are installed just to look good without any real purpose. Clayton states:

Our research shows people don't care about the origin of a fake light source that may display a drop shadow on an icon — it's superfluous. A Microsoft designer's focus is on making every element have a clear and useful purpose. No more, no less. It helps communicate what is most important so a person can focus on the task at hand.

If you are interested at all in modern design and how it relates to product development, this article is well worth reading, even with its unusual website layout.

Source: Microsoft | Images via Microsoft

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