Why Microsoft's Windows Phone is a design winner

Is Microsoft becoming a design leader? Technology and user interface experts think so--at least when it comes to the sleek and dynamic interaction design of Windows Phone.
Written by Reena Jana, Contributor

It's the "gorgeous," the "best-looking," and "superior" smartphone, according to the Huffington Post, Slate, and Tech Crunch--and it's first letter doesn't begin with "i." The design triumph described here is Microsoft's Windows Phone.

In a story that appeared in the January 8 print edition of the New York Times titled  "Critics Rave...for Microsoft?" reporter Nick Wingfield analyzes how Windows Phone--a software platform that runs on devices like the Nokia Lumia 710, pictured above--is winning over design and technology critics. After interviewing not only long-time Microsoft software engineers and designers, but also outside interaction-design professors and analysts, Wingfield points out several design lessons. These can be seen as tips that other companies might want to consider when creating attractive and easy-to-navigate user interfaces for mobile devices.

Summarized here, they are:

  • Use bold typography
  • Consider animated tiles versus the usual grid of static icons
  • Be competitive with, but not an echo of, Apple's designs
  • Have a design team that's unafraid to disregard earlier, unsuccessful versions of software and "start from scratch"
  • Draw design inspiration from the clear typography of airport and transportation signs
  • Offer smooth, "broadcast quality" transitions between screens
  • Give very specific technological requirements to hardware partners so the entire design experience is consistent among all devices a new platform

As Wingfield states, while Windows Phone is turning heads among technology journalists and industry gurus, it remains to be seen whether consumers will fall in love with its elegant interaction design as well. But with so many recent high-profile accolades as rhapsodic as those usually associated with Apple, perhaps more design-savvy buyers will at least be willing to take a look at and try Microsoft's offering, too.

Image: Microsoft

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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