MIX11: Surface 2.0 continues the Metro trend

At the MIX11 conference today, Microsoft showed off a number of new user-interface controls for the upcoming Surface 2.0 SDK with hints of Metro, further cementing the “design language” as an universal design style spanning many Microsoft products moving forward.

The presenter, Luis Cabrera, from the Surface team specifically mentioned “Windows Phone 7′ and the “Zune software” as inspirations for the refreshed set of UI controls for developers to use with the new Surface. Although they are not cross-compatible with either WPF or Silverlight controls, the controls are styled in a way that is very consistent with Windows Phone 7, obviously larger.

One interesting control of note is the “ElementMenu” which is the context-menu equivalent on a Surface. Previously, this control was presented in a radial manner with each option branching out from the central point. The new ElementMenu presents options in rectangular blocks surrounding the contact point, appearing very similar to WP7 tiles.

Furthermore, a new tool for Surface developers, the “input simulator” is also very Metro. The tool will intuitively allow developers to simulate multi-touch interactions with just a single mouse. From the reception by developers in the session, it’s a very welcomed addition.

The new Surface 2.0 SDK will be available in summer of 2011.

12 insightful thoughts

  1. Really? They use the Arial font to present a Metro inspired UI? Outch.

    The actual design also isn’t very Metro-ish. Large fonts and the lack of gradients alone doesn’t make a content-centric interface. They still have pop-up windows and close buttons (and radio buttons that look exactly the same).

    To be honest, I’m disappointed how bad Microsoft itself implements the idea behind Metro into more and more products. There is a fine line between a futuristic, minimalistic interaction design and a cheap attempt. The terrible Microsoft.com homepage and now this are fine examples of how they risk the future of the brilliant and very progressive Metro concept by implementing bad or wrong translations of this “language”. This could damage the Metro ideas even before they are popular.

    BTW if they want to create a “very consistent” style, why don’t they just use the icons of Windows Phone? Why re-invent everything? For instance magnifying glass icons on Microsoft products are always aligned for the left hand use. ;P

  2. Well, on the one hand, I like the new style, on the other, I am a bit disappointed that it will take until summer for SDK 2.0 to be seen in the wild. Were there any hints about another beta or CTP version which is release right now? Or advice for people (like me) who are just about to start a multitouch-project and would like to use the Surface controls?

    Best,
    S.

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