I found the editorial on April 2012 issue of Creative Review quite inspiring. Patrick Burgoyne argues that Microsoft is a step ahead of Apple for what concern interface design. I already apreciated the unconventional approach used by Microsoft mobile interface, but I haven’t thought at the deeper conceptual switch behind it.
Still in 2012 interface design seems unable of getting rid of 1970′s desktop metaphor and other real world objects references (Check out Zooming out from the Desktop for more on the topic). You find a proof of it on buttons emboss effect used to give a feel of affordance, and on the design of most Mac and IOS icons and software interfaces.
Do we still need references to real world obejcts in digital interfaces? According to Mike Kruzeiniski, from Windows phone design team, we don’t.
We don’t need to make an eBook look like a book for people to understand how to use it. The book isn’t the cover and binding, it’s the images and the text that make the story.
Jeff Fong, interface designer at Microsoft, tells Creative Review they get inspiration from print design, transport systems and infographics.
Transportation wayfinding was a major inspiration for us, it’s a clear, direct visual language that helps people navigate a complex environment.
In a market were Apple and Android fight each other for the best shiny and glossy interface I find Microsoft Metro a beautiful bold alternative.