Microsoft held a launch of new products for surface tablets last month, and it’s not just hardware products like Surface that’s striking, but windows 10X, the new system that’s coming with it, is also eye-catching. Compared to today’s Windows 10, the most intuitive change of Windows 10X is the interface – Windows 10X removes microsoft push tile design, refreshing visual style is eye-catching.
In Windows 10X, the iconic tile design on Microsoft’s system in recent years seems to be out of sight, with a big change in the menu, lined with redesigned icons rather than large tile blocks.
Microsoft’s various apps also reflect this change, with logos transforming from flat tiles to a slightly stereoscopic and layered level.
So the tiles are outcasts in the new Windows 10X system — perhaps a sign that Microsoft is giving up on tile design. The tile design has been controversial, and many people say it is difficult to accept.
So how do you rate the design style of tiles? Should Microsoft embrace the mainstream and abandon tile design? Let’s talk about it today.
Tile design: The mismatch of touch screen?
The tile design, which first appeared on Microsoft’s Zune music player, was not originally intended for intelligent systems.
Tile blocks work with large text, which takes up much larger screen space than traditional icons and small text, giving a powerful visual impact and a great fit for the presentation of music album covers and titles.
Another advantage of this feature is that it’s perfect for touch – after all, it’s such a big tile that it’s not easy to order.
After the release of the touchscreen Zune HD, the tile design wind review reached a peak.
Visually, tiles perfectly fit the features of your music album cover, while they also give Zune HD a more finger-aligned touch experience.
As a result, Zune HD’s UI is considered by many to be one of Microsoft’s best designs, and there was also a view at the time that this was the future direction of THE UI.
In 2007, when the iPhone came out, Windows Mobile, which has an extremely painful touch experience, looked old and out of date. Microsoft thought of the highly rated Zune UI, and the tiles began to enter the Windows operating system.
Microsoft’s design of the Windows interface has always had an interesting idea – mobile and desktop versions of Windows share a set of UI.
In the era of Windows Mobile, mobile systems used the UI of desktop Windows, and in the mobile Internet era, mobile UI was dominated by customers and moved into desktop systems. As a result, both mobile and desktop versions of Windows have a large number of tile elements.
At the same time that tiles were introduced into Windows, Microsoft aggressively pushed all kinds of touch-screen devices, in addition to mobile phones, tablets, desktop platforms also appeared more and more touch-screen computers.
Visible, Microsoft for the tile set up a sufficiently broad hardware stage, it should be reasonable to fully develop the tile in the touch advantages, but why the tile acceptance is still limited?
Tile disadvantages: Low content density
The tile’s huge footprint provides a convenient touch experience, but it also has a drawback : low content density.
This disadvantage is intuitively observable, since the tile occupies a large area, then the same area of the screen can put down the number of tiles, will be less than icons, and tiles tend to work with large text, can display more limited content.
In Zune players, the problem is small, people don’t need to use music players to manage massive amounts of applications, files, and in computers, phones and tablets, people need to read more, and the low content density of tiles makes it necessary to move more points of view, flip pages, and create additional operational fatigue.
Later, Microsoft improved the tile feature to include folders, adjustable size, and so on, but this still does not solve the problem.
In Windows 10, tiles still occupy a large area in the Start menu, which is a waste of screen space utilization.
Compared to Windows 10X’s refreshing start menu with no tiles, the layout is reasonable.
A big feature of tiles is that you can dynamically display content, such as an album APP tile, which can roll pictures from an album, and an IM app’s tile that scrolls through the content of a new notification.
Because of this combination of logo and notification content, Windows once had no notification hub — Microsoft believes that tiles have played a role in displaying notification content, and that the home screen takes into account both app lists and notification centers.
The design is cool, but it brings other problems. People are used to a fixed logo for an application, but tiles are constantly changing, which creates a problem of recognition.
For example, mailbox and IM APP, both come to new information at the same time, their tiles are scrolling text, do not show their own logo, this time users to distinguish between the two APPS, it is more difficult.
Practice shows that users are still more accustomed to the system interface is divided into “static area” (fixed logo, menu, etc.) and “dynamic zone” (dynamic change of task bar, notification bar, etc.).
“Quiet zone” changes less, conducive to identification, memory, users can quickly locate a function after the formation of habits, “dynamic zone” can allow users in a specific area, at a glance at the dynamic changes of the system, do not need to look through the system in multiple interfaces.
Tiles combine logo and notifications to seem convenient, but they create more visual interference, reduce recognition, and fail to view and manage all notifications at once.
Microsoft became aware of the problem and added a notification hub in a subsequent release, so that the setting to display news feeds on tiles became a recipe.
Since tiles no longer have to display News Feed and other drawbacks, why not change them to traditional logos? Windows 10X may be the product of this idea.
Finally, Windows introduced Notification Center, but the tile that shows the notification becomes chicken-and-out.
Tile disadvantages: Alternative design, low inclusiveness
The tile design is really very personal, and people can tell at a glance that the interface is from Microsoft. However, the UI design of tiles and other systems is out of place, making it difficult to blend into other styles.
For example, compared to iOS and Android, Windows Phone is undoubtedly a latecomer, but it uses a tile UI, which makes it difficult for iOS and Android APP to be easily ported to the WP platform – in the early days of Android, many iOS apps could be moved to Android almost intact. It’s a short-term explosive growth for Android APP, but that doesn’t work in wp.
Even at the peak of WP’s popularity, cross-platform apps were dominated by iOS/Android, and even with the launch of the WP version, the functionality would be weakened, which is hard to say that the tile UI did not negatively impact porting.
For example, in Windows 8 or even Windows 10, traditional icons simply can’t fit into the tile, pin the icons of the traditional software to the start menu, and fix the logo in a square, completely losing the aesthetic.
In Android and iOS, different versions of the interface design can transition more smoothly, such as iOS transitioning from animaginal design to flat design, And Android transitioning from Holo to Material Design, but Windows tiles can hardly do that.
In Windows 10, Microsoft launched Fluent Design, a new design language, with a very different style of Metro/Modern UI with tiles, with solid-colored tiles glued to translucent, light-and-shadow, layered acrylic-style UI.
Perhaps the advent of Windows 10X is an opportunity for Microsoft to abandon tiles and embrace Fluent Design altogether.
In addition, tiles also have the disadvantages of consuming additional resources, poor stability (and not updating in a timely manner), which is not detailed here.
Tiles are an extremely user-friendly design for touch operations, but they also expose a number of issues that affect usage.
What about the Windows 10X experience of giving up using tiles? Will Microsoft completely deprecate tiles in subsequent versions of Windows 10? Let’s wait and see.