Friday, February 3, 2012

Windows Phone 7 Design Redux

Windows Phone is not flying off from the shelf as much as expected. Few ppl blame it on limited hardware like no dual core, limited memory, camera resolution etc. Few people blame it on limited number of applications and marketing.

Recently when I played with Nokia Lumia 710 I felt main reason is its Home screen interface.  First  people are very new to this kind of interface. They have never seen a phone with this kind of interface. Second reason is customization is very limited. Third reason is lack of aesthetics mainly at home screen. otherwise very few people will really care a phone has dual core processor or not. Although few people might like its minimal interface. But many feel it as plain and boring.
I feel it can be improved with following changes.

  • Provide more number of color choices. At present windows phone provides option to select very few number of basic colors. Provide facility to choose any of 32 bit color.
  • Adding subtle gradient to tiles diagonally. Please check a sample image below. This will improve aesthetics.
  • Remove or add an option to hide right side arrow. It might be great to add arrow like this as per design theory. But Windows phone 4 inch screen phone looks very small compared to even 3.7 or 3.5 inch screen Android or iPhone because this empty space. By changing background color to lighter color also this can be improved.
  • Rounded corner tiles. provide an option to have rounded corner tiles. That will further improve home screen.
  • How about wall paper feature for home screen. Although it looks odd some times depending on photo used. But many smart phone users has habit of setting wall paper.
  • Transparent tiles. (Check below for some quick sample design)
Adding these kind of features will definitely change customers mind. What u think?

This is the original windows phone 7 interface which I have taken from Paul Thurrotts website.


After adding subtle diagonal gradient.
With subtle diagonal gradient
How about removing empty space space at right side of the screen?
Without Arrow

How about this with transparent tiles with custom wallpaper?

 Any thoughts on this? Please comment.


  1. You should buy an Android phone and put some tiles on it because that is basically what you've done here.

  2. Thanks for the comment. People are already buying that around the world. If Microsoft really wants to impress consumers it must provide customizing options. Providing customizing options doesn't hurt anybody. right?

  3. Rounded corners? Please don't! It doesn't fit to the Metro design language at all...

    1. Hi,

      I agree. Windows Phone is looking for differentiation. But we should not forget that subtle gradient, subtle texture, great aesthetics etc will add extra value to user experience.

  4. these ideas all seem to break the "chromeless" aesthetic that defines metro. i am not convinced that subtle anything would improve it so much as "slide left to see all your notifications for things you may or may not have pinned."

    the rounded corners are, honestly, not very pleasing. it begins to border on a super-sized iphone icon set at that point.

    though i used to wonder about the decision to disallow skinning the background of the homescreen, i think it makes a lot of sense. realistically, that space can get very long and tiling would look very tacky. the other option is to grab a subset of the image the way android did that fits the space. the space constraints on the android homescreen make this a lot easier though. this would probably lower consumer satisfaction.

    hide that arrow? i agree entirely. it is sort of a weird thing to not be able to do.