No more Metro for Microsoft – What do you think they should use instead?

WP Central

Now that the dust has settled, the previously rumored story that Microsoft was ditching the term ‘Metro’ seems to be holding true.

The claim was that the German company Metro AG made a complaint to Microsoft over the term and while it seems specious to us it was evidently enough to get Microsoft to immediately cease all usage of the name.

Ed Bott over at ZDNet has a good article articulating the point that Microsoft was not using ‘Metro’ as a code-name but instead used it dozens of times in press conferences, keynotes and developer documentation thereby making it offiial. In turn, he finds their public reasoning for abandoning the term ludicrous. We agree.

Microsoft is expected to reveal a follow-up name to Metro, used to describe their minimalist design principle based off of metro (airport, subway) signage, sometime in the next week. While we wait for that name to drop, we want to know what you think it should be called?

WP Central

When you think about it, branding is something that is very difficult to do which is why ‘Metro’ was so great—it flowed, it was descriptive, it was a single term, it evoked a modern feel.

So if you had choice to name Microsoft’s new design language, what would you call it? According to Micrsooft, these are the principles behind the-design-language-formerly-known-as-Metro:

  • Typography. Type is beautiful. Not only is it attractive to the eye, but it can also be functional. The right balance of weight and positioning can create a visual hierarchy. Additionally, well placed type can help lead you to more content.
  • Motion is what brings the interface to life. Transitions are just as important as graphical design. By developing a consistent set of motions or animations, a system is created that provides context for usability, extra dimension and depth and improves the perceived performance of the whole interface.
  • Content not Chrome is one of the more unique principles of Metro. By removing all notions of extra chrome in the UI, the content becomes the main focus. This is especially relevant due to the smaller screen size and gesture-based interactions.
  • Honesty. Design explicitly for the form factor of a hand held device using touch, a high resolution screen and simplified and expedited forms of interaction. In other words, be “authentically digital”.

With those descriptors in place, do you have a good replacement?

If so, sound off in comments. 

We'll pick the top 5 names and run them in a poll for you folks. The winner will get a $50 gift-certificate to our store (which now has international shipping). Cool?

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Reader comments

No more Metro for Microsoft – What do you think they should use instead?

449 Comments

Apple would use the name they wanted to use no matter who owned it or what they threatened to do.

I think MS should stick with Metro.

Then they should just call it "Nice".
 
It looks Nice.
MS is playing Nice.
It is Nice and unassuming.
It is Nice and unthreatening.
 
and if MS doesn't get some Mojo or Moxi it could go the way of most things Nice and finish last.
 

After the poll, will you guys let us know your answers?
 
My official hat in this race is:
 
Current
 
 

How about Modern Ergonomic Tiled Runic Object User Interface?
 
But that's pretty long. Maybe there could be an abbreviation...

OMG you're right! I wouldn't have realized that had you not said it! You are a useful member of these comments... As am i.

Shhh!  The lawyers might hear you.
It's kind of like how JavaScript was forced to change their name to ECMAScript due to a patent dispute, but everyone still calls it JavaScript. If you make the name long and unwieldy, people will revert back to the original name.

What are your thoughts on using "WinRT" since that is now the underlining kernal used. May not roll of the tounge well but its a start...

"WinRT" is *not* the "underlying kernal". It is a set of API's used for Windows 8 development. It is not even the 100% same set of API's used for Windows Phone 8, which also uses the design-language-formly-known-as-metro. That was internally called WinPRT. In addition, other applications have used Metro and not even touched WinRT on Windows 8, such as Office 2013 and Visual Studio 2012. So using WinRT for the name of the design language would just make things far more confusing.

If they're going to use "Windows 8 style UI", why not just call it "Windows UI"? It doesn't have the ring that Metro did, but certainly fits better than what the rumored name is going for.

That's what I was saying in the last article. Windows UI or WinUi for short just works.

Call it MSUI (Microsoft UI) or MSX (Microsoft Experience).  The UI name is not that relevant to customers, they talk about the product names (Windows, Office, Xbox, etc.) not a UI.  They are using this design language across all of their products now, whether it's on the web, applications, or on devices so it should reflect something broad and generic within the company not something specific like Surface or some other brand product they have.
 
Short version, the UI of it's products should simply be known to people as Microsoft's design.  No real need for a specific labeled name.  When people see it used in general, they will say that it looks like Microsoft design.

I agree with most of your post. I think something needs to be used without "Windows" or "Microsoft" because of the baggage many people associate with the company.

I wish more people looked big picture and realized the average user doesn't know nor care. Most people that will be using Windows 8 still haven't seen it.

I thought that metro was a descriptive term, not a copyrighted brand. Why would you wanna complain about that?

Ot is a descriptive name, that's the problem. MS has so much invested in it across all their product lines, they want to be able to trademark the name. Metro is descriptive and common usage, so they can't trademark it.

This is far more plausible, and the reason I thought MS was moving away from Metro. There are enough uses of Metro out there that I doubt any company could make a credible claim against Microsoft. But that swings the other way, too. Microsoft would have a hard time trying to trademark a name like Metro.

Could be: Voguish UI, Contemporaneous UI, Contemporary UI Coexistent UI, In-Touch UI, Stylish UI. I don't know what else! I like Metro name so much that is hard to find another word for those Elegant Live Tiles=/

How about.. fuck that shit German company UI? They are in sales they are like wallmart so its not like the two would be mixed up, hate all this sue that sue them sue him nonsense that's got huge in the last few years.... I love metro so much...

I like Slate, but it could be confusing for consumers who don't know the difference between a slate (as in tablet) or the design interface.

I don't think it needs a word, no reason to pigeonhole anything.
 
Microsoft is using a very authentically digital style which fits their new branding and should be thought of as Microsoft as a brand not something else.

Of course it needs a word. How can you have principles for something if you don't have a word for that something? It's like

"Here are the critera for X" Okay, what is X?  We don't know it has no name. " That's just weird.

Well it needs a name of some kind sure for internal use and for developers mostly.  Not so much for customers.  They don't (As a whole) refer to a computer/device/application UI by a specific name too often.

Notice I said (as a whole).  Most customers outside of developers and techies that know all this stuff inside and out, don't use a UI name of a product.

The artist formally known as Prince didn't use a name...hey! That's it! "The UI Formally known as Metro" ! ;)

Why is it weird? I would just say that it is Microsoft's design principles or Windows design priciples. That is what they are.

Since I doubt MS would want to call it the Zune UI since they're trying to burry Zune, "Fluid UI" would be kind of cool. Instead of "Metro Apps" you could have "Fluid Apps".

They should just bite the bullet and buy the rights, it would cost less than changing everything and you can't buy brand awareness, something they already have. If I had to choose I'd pick something simple, that gave a sense of organization and layout. Something that that yields a return. Like:
 
----------
----------
---------
Garden (UI)
or 
Harvest (UI)
----------
---------
----------

Already supplied that name. Fluid UI. Please check comments columns under heading: Microsoft reportedly moving away from

If you meant to reply to my comment, I apologize. I did not know that name had been supplied in the comments of a previous article. Nice choice in naming :)

Since the comment list is long over there you can check it by the time 12:46:41. Thank you

Why would we check the whole other comments section in one story just to make sure we didn't write the same here a whole different story posted hours after the 1st? Calm your farm dude!!

Wow, I almost stopped reading all the comments but got to yours and instantly thought get out of my head.  It's an escape from conventional thinking and you're able to get in and get out quickly allowing you to escape the bonds and get back to what really matters.  But it's also more than just an escape.
It offers so much at just a quick glance like when you look at a shot of a cityscape or landscape you get to see everything.  Which is why I'm casting my vote on "Scape."
How do you sell it?  Picture a dark screen and a flare glow that is ignited and does a slow trace to outline a letter "S."  A voiceover that starts out with, "It was born from a desire for simplicity, an escape from following a trend, and a passion of understated beauty."  The "S" is fully illuminated now and the voiceover continues, "Welcome to the new Windows... Welcome to Scape."

I really liked the term "Metro". It sounded so metro. They should name the UI "Surface". I know this is the name they gave a (so far) vaporware product, but it could also apply to the UI.

** Trim
 
** Shear
 
** Slim
 
Dear WPCENTRAL, put any of these in your poll. 
Easy to pronounce and keeps the main theme of the Metro Principles;
 
"Removes all the Cluter"
 
Windows 8 with our new and improved Trim UI.

You and cybrtitan probably stole my idea or coincidence LOL...!
"URBAN" is the best replacement/alternative to METRO in my opinion because both of these words refer to similar meaning. They can call it URBAN (Design Language) because it can represent to a metropolitan town or city, which can be,
MODERN and CLEAN
FAST and IN MOTION
All about CONTENTS as well as Bold and Beautiful TYPOGRAPHY in the form of Signages/Posts
also ENTIRELY AUTHENTIC !!!
And these are the definitions of METRO Microsoft has been using so why not call it URBAN?

exactly my thought... sorry repeating it after it was brought up i had thought of it sometime during the day at work and just quickly posted it from my phone... but it has exactly the same meaning and would be easy to move all the current language into and meaning behind METRO into

Do you speak Polish? Because "youtro" sounds almost like "jutro", which means "tomorrow" in this language.
So maybe... Tomorrow UI?

Flow, Fluid, smooth, suave, drift. Or combo words like Fluid Flow or Smooth Flow.

So, I think I may have a name that could work, and it's based off a neat little play on words. So, two words that people would use to describe Metro is "quite" and "clear." Quite, because Metro does its best to steer away from today's typical "loud" UIs, e.g. colors everywhere, heavy chrome, multi-layered, etc. Clear, because Metro makes the content you're viewing much more clear than any other UI today.

So, one could say Metro is quite (and) clear; quite and clear, and quite clear, get it? :)

There is one word that is a synonym for both quite and clear, and that word, and my suggestion for the renaming of the UI is:

Pure

Lol, yes, my bad, where is my brain.
Quiet and clean and quite clean.
Pure UI

Got my vote. PureUI works for me. But, then someone may pronounce it as PEW. Let me stop over thinking it. ;O)

I LIKE SYNERGY!!! makes sense with all the integration
but i also like Flow UI
or Mesh UI

I think they need to stick with the whole tile, surface theme for their name, so something like:
Granite
Marble
Slate
Shale
Graphite

Federer UI. He is fast,fluid,economic in movements,smart,clean,modern,no riff faff about him plus he is the greatest( my opinion)

And he is Swiss, just like the design language in the UI. (look up Swiss design if you don't know what I mean)

Except that the design language has nothing to do with Win8. Win8 uses the design language, but their the connection ends. This set of design principles formerly called Metro is the basis for all design going on at Microsoft: Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows Phone 8, their Web properties (checkout the new Outlook.com), desktop applications. Everything being pumped out of MS is using this style. So it makes sense for them to want to give it a distinctive (read trademarkable) name.

What about the other way around- Micro? Or Mitro? ...those don't sound as good after typing them, but I'll still throw 'em out there.

I guess calling it MetroUI (one word) is out of the question right? Second choice would be for me something related to Surface or Tiles.

I agree with the poster that advocating buying the rights to it, assuming it's not that expensive.
If not, how about MView / mView / M-View / any variation of it?
The M can be Microsoft, but people can associate it with Metro.  Or associate it with My View.
 

I think it shows corporate maturity to be respectful of another business and their products/services, even if there's no legitimate confusion, they're still saying, "Sorry, we'll find another name." And let's face it... the good will helps, because odds are Metro AG is a Microsoft customer in some way, and Microsoft needs all the public good will that they can get these days.

Surface UI or just do what apple does and shove a whole lotta cash their way.  Glance UI, depth ui, umbrella corporation ui, hell I don't know

KINECT UI - TOTALLY! This is in keeping with the appropriation tactic they've taken to lately, i.e. Surface and Outlook... =D=D=D=D=D

That's really not a bad idea at all! :) In fact, it's even more fitting since it "kinects" you with your devices in new ways. Hopefully someone at Microsoft is reading.

Call it Stacks or Stax.
Microsoft is just rolling over while Apple kept the iPad name for HOW LONG?

I can't believe that Cisco has never filed a lawsuit against Apple for iOS, since Cisco's networking OS has been IOS since their creation.

I believe they would like the new name to embody the true essence of the metro interface which is dynamic. Alive and ever changing it should be called "Dynamic UI".

Why don't they just call it their, "Modern" UI. Calling something Modern still has a nice ring to it. When you think of it, all the other companies are using old, tries and true UI's with the icons and such. Old and boring. But, here's Microsoft, new to the phone market and ready to take it by storm with their "Modern" phone. Appealing, and to the point, simple yet elegant and new. "Modern" :)

Yeah I think Microsoft Tiles, Grid or UI would work fine. Any multi syllabic second words would ruin homage to the UI formerly known as "metro".

Transit (see my post from yesterdays topic). Also, consider InTransit and Transitions. The whole idea is to communicate the shift i.e. transition from the old design to the new design.

Lucid/Lucent/Luminous - fits with the popular Lumia phones and means clear and easy so it fits with the design. Although I agree they should keep metro

I love this idea, makes me think light, airy, flowing.  Microsoft should hire u for that one comment.

I think they should just call it Segoe, after the central font used in the interface.
Microsoft already owns it, its fairly original...and hell, it rhymes with Metro !!
Can you dig it ??!?

+1. This should be a contender.. Not super catchy, but at least not silly either...

I'd call it "Fluid" but I really doubt they will come up with a new name.  I think they will just refer to the "Metro Style" as "Windows 8 Style" 

Lumia UI.
They are probably asking Nokia to come up with a slick name for them.

ZUI (nod to GUI with a touch of Zune origins' in Metro), WinUI, WinTouch, Microsoft Flip, Microsoft Tile, WinSUI, MS-UI, WinX
Though, knowing Microsoft, they might end up with something like "Microsoft Touch Experience LIVE+ Interface Premium" :P

Actually, Aero UI seems really poor to me. Aero in Windows Vista/7 is nothing like Metro. Aero is all about the chrome, while Microsofts new designs are all about removing chrome. Conflating the two would just be confusing.

It probably did start as a developer code name...but it worked so well, that it become the publicized name for the design.
 
Instead of "Metro", it should be okay to call it it "MetroUI" as it is commonly referred to today anyways (albeit with a space).  The "UI" suffix would remove any association with Metro AG (as if anyone is making that link today anyways...).  Using any other word would hurt brand recognition that has been consistantly built since Metro's inception.  Every effort should be made to not have to break that brand link, even a settlement with Metro AG if needed.  It's not often that a company hits a home run with branding.  Metro is a branding home run and the foundation for the mind share of customers behind not just Windows phone...but now Windows 8, WinRT, Xbox and Microsoft Web Services (Outlook, Skydrive, etc.).  Essentially Windows Software.  You can't roll over on this one, it's too important.
 
"MetroUI"
 

(P)hone
(E)ntertainment
(W)indows
(X)box
PEWX
I kid... :)  Not really sure what they should use, I personally liked Metro /sigh.

How about yoUI? Since its the phone that puts people first, lol. In seriousness, I think they're just going to brand it Windows, to mirror the image of their brand new computer OS. Also, gr8 would be an interesting one...

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