Yet Another Rant About Microsoft…

Yes, I know, I sound like a broken record; but my excuse is that Microsoft’s actions just bring it upon themselves on a regular basis. So, what is it this time?

The spotlight of scorn is back on the OneDrive team, again. After generating lots of goodwill over the recent announcement that Office365 subscribers will get unlimited storage in OneDrive, the team promptly undid it by announcing a new UI for the Windows Phone app. The announcement has been greeted with a storm of protest, both on the OneDrive blog post, but also over at the feedback site for Windows Phone.

The reason that there has been such derision is that the “new UI” makes the Windows Phone app look very much as though it is an Android app. It flies in the face of Microsoft’s own guidelines for UI design of Windows Phone apps, and introduces Android UI elements instead.

Frankly, if I’d wanted an Android phone, I would have bought one. One of the key reasons why I went with a Windows Phone was the UI design. I like it a lot, and I am at ease with it. To have a key Microsoft team turn their back on it and introduce Android elements is a shock, to say the least. One might almost wonder if the team had actually read the “Review questions for prototype” section on the Design the best app you can page of the guidelines, in particular:

  • Are you coming from another mobile platform? Windows Phone users will expect fewer taps, clearer views, large typography, and the use of contrast and color.
  • Are you using both axes of scrolling (the X and Y axes) and orientation (Portrait and Landscape)? Depending on the purpose of your app, users may expect both.
  • Do you use Pivot and Hub controls effectively and correctly?

Even simple things, such as a transparent Tile for the app have been forgotten about (or ignored) in this bastardised design. I hope that the howls of protest that have greeted this version result in a swift redesign to make it a proper Windows Phone app. Good design and adhering to UI guidelines are important, and help to build a brand. This horror does just the opposite.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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