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 official. 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 a choice to name Microsoft’s new design language, what would you call it? According to Microsoft, 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 handheld 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?


Reader comments

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


Liquid, Slate, or Transit sound the best to me. "Liquid" probably would be used best with another term ("Liquid-Slate", "Liquid-Transit") rather than on its own.

Problem is whatever they settle on - unless it says "Microsoft" or "Windows" in it, someone, somewhere probably will see an opportunity like Metro AG did to threaten legal action (and even if it did say "Windows" maybe)... which just points out how silly the whole thing is anyway. "Metro" was a great name for the design language and Microsoft shouldn't feel pressured to change it. :/

Good points...Transit makes sense if they really do need a new word.
What if they just "owned" the word, i.e. "Microsoft Metro UI", "Windows Metro UI".  We would all still call it "Metro" right?  Appease the legals, call it "Metro", just don't officially call it "Metro".

You bring up a good point...If Microsoft officially named it, for example, Microsoft Metro UI or Windows Metro UI, could they (legally)?  And if so, would it be OK to refer to it as Metro, for short.
If they could do this, I wish that they would.  I can appreciate Microsoft for respecting their business partners, but if renaming it to include the word 'metro' will allow everyone to continue referring to it as Metro, I think they should go for it.

This would be ideal.. Such a shame to lose Metro altogether - but it seems that ship has already sailed

meTro  - pronownced: [mee - Trō]  and if peeps wanna keep calling "metro" they can :p

Laser Ui. Its sharp,elegant,straightforward,clean & lean & woe to someone who opposes it ;-)

Natal I always liked that code name.... Brand it. Bring it back as it refers to a "birth". its a new age metro rebirths as natal.

I'm liking SL8 or Slate. Matches Windows 8 (SL8), jells with Smart Glass, tiles, and Surface, and its just one syllable.

Just call it "PRINCE" in the UI formerly known as Metro :)
...also, perhaps Microsoft could get the artist to perform at an official launch party

Wow. Things are getting serious around here. Make an off-topic PG-rated joke, get your comment deleted.

Glide UI and the new meaning could be Glide Is our code name for our design language.
We call it glide because it's swift and fast. Its modern and in motion. Its about content and typography and it's entirely authentic

Clear UI - MS is being very clear about what they want to do with the 3 screens ecosystem. Although nothing quite defines it as good as metro did.

In Toronto we have a Grocery Store chain called Metro and we have the Metro Newspaper. Both exist with no problems so what's the big deal

How about Purity?
It defines the design which is pure content and is free from chrome or other distractions.
(Nokia has headphones by this name, but I'm sure Nokia won't sue :)

Dang there honestly arnt any good words to describe it besides metro UI if Microsoft wants it to be a customer friendly name they should just fight the stupid law suit of the German company..what the heck do they do at that company anyways -_-

Microsoft METHOD
So when you see a Windows 8 device, be it a phone or tablet or computer, you know it was designed using the Microsoft Method of design.

oh thanks.
can you provide me a link please?? thanks again and sorry for the offtopic

It has to work in different languages, and inertia is too complicated. That's why metro worked so well.. Metro (as in transport) is called Metro in most languages already, so everyone knows how to pronounce it.

Me UI.
Our UI is so simple, clear, and minimalistic that we decided to drop the "tro". :p
Just kidding. Me as in the Me tile. Since i seem to remember them talking about how a windows phone is about personalisation. Once I unlock my screen, based on the way I arrange my tiles, based on the "Me" tile, the phone is instantly regconisable as my phone. I use it the way i want. The UI of WP is the personification of me.
Me UI. Me and you, you and I. Connecting me to you, becoming you and I.
Well, that sure as hell was some confusing gibber. hahaha.

How about SUB UI (Styled Unbelievably) Could Also Be Suburban UI instead of Metro just a bit further out :)
or maybe MOVE UI would work

I believe it should be named as "Real UI", because this is main point of it.  Everytime I see it adjetives: transitions, fluid, clean, light, non faking materials, look digital... is a trying to make it *real*, something wich people can interact, not something between you and your computer.
Real UI means you are diveing in something real :) 
Native UI is also a good name;

I like Transit UI. Calling it Surface, Kinect, or another brand name could cause brand confusion. A new name is in order. Transit references Metro, but something like Silk, Fluid, or Current UI could work.

"Windows UI" or "Window UI".......would be great name because UI design is like a home window.....!!!!


I don't know, I usually don't like the use of numbers in place of letters, but it ties in with their 3-screen vision.

Rename the surface to canvas and rename metro surface. Think about it, "canvas, create something".

just switch the two letters could mean...
Microsoft Empowered Run Time Operating-system
User Interface

I saw this mentioned above, but I vote for


The great part about the Metro UI for me was the Live tiles. Of course, with Microsoft abandoning the Live moniker in favor of other things (Xbox music,, etc) I don't think that will happen.

MUI but marketed to be pronounced Moo-Eee as in
when naviagting the Mooo-Eee interface
when programing for the Moo-Eee desigin language guidlines
the Moo-Eee experience for the end user provides.....
Its catchy and gets them focusing on the buzz word and goes beyond the acronym

First thought was Pure View, but that won't work. Purity won't either. Then I thought Panel or Panes, but that doesn't quite describe the entire UX.
And then, I came up with Clarity.
Now, does everyone (including myself) rename their apps that have "metro" in the name?

Does this mean the German company will be sueing or trying to block Pairs from using Metro in the name for its transport system or the London Metro news?  Whar about InterMetro, who for over 80 years been making products for the food indistry.and lets not forget metro radio, metro Chicago and last but not least the Oregon Metro.

Window's Pain
Window Pains

(not a typo)

I really like my WP7, and I think I'll like it on a Surface. I'm not convinced I'll like it on the desktop.

I'll go ahead and throw my hat in this race.
"MidCen", as in mid-century modern, which is also based on similar clean, simple, and functional asthetics.

I could call it PISO
Interface of
PISO means Floor or Ground in Spanish and since most of the floors in Mexico uses Mosaic like the tiles in the interface. I guess its a good idea.

Well the design is made up of squares and rectangles so they should call it 'Quad'

4 Letters
4 Sides
4 Everyone
4 Sure


"Urban" and "Mosaic" are my two favourite suggestions I've seen. Although, no matter what I'll still call it "Metro" because I like that the best.

A few world from data or knowleage sound cool.
1. Datum UI
2. Lore UI
3. Domain UI
Or my favorite Surreal UI

Manhattan UI
Its a huge Metropolitan area, so it is a spiritual successor of sorts. 
Plus Manhattan is a cool word. Duh.

"KISS UI" Keep It Simple Stupid. Imagine the ads with the cute girls looking at the camera, lips puckered, kinda sexy!!

How about "Clean" cuz that's what it is. Lol...although I would still kinda like to see something that has to do with the subway/transit system

To be honest we are so used to metro for 2 years anything they come up with is gonna sound naff, way to go MS. Can't even secure a brand name!

Really hard to leave the term metro, but I since everything is fast and flowing, I would probably call it "Swift".

This French version is pretty good too.  MetroUI is good too.  I hope they don't drop it.

windows currier, windows  stamp, windows transit, windows surface, windows impress, windows match, windows form, windows art, windows journey

Segoe Method
Switz (since its based off Swiss style typography)
These are my favs that I've seen.

Venice UI. Combines the idea of beauty, sophistication, desire, luxury, and of course, evokes fluidity and perpetual charm

As long as the OS is still known as Windows Phone, you could call the design "crap in a bag" for all I care. No one really refers to a phone by its design philosophy. At least no one I know

Did somebody say digital space?  Folks, behold the winning entry...
Def: In mathematics, a matrix (plural matrices) is a rectangular array of numbers, symbols, or expressions, arranged in rows and columns. The individual items in a matrix are called its elements or entries. (more...)
matrixUI, matrixApps, one of the best movies ever :)

It's called Metro and it will always be called Metro. Metro design is/will be platform and company independent. In appr. 2 years you'll see nearly every modern UI designed or inspired by Metro. Metro is/will be the new Bauhaus (one of it's root). Who's Metro AG ... ? - Metro design will be omnipresent in the near future!

Metro is state of the art!

I have no name to contribute, which is better than all of the suggestions I've read here so far. I'll always call it metro regardless.


Looks strange, but read it aloud, and it sounds a lot like 'genuine' -- exactly what it is.

Also it evokes the feeling of 'a new generation'

Still not as good as metro, but this one should be easily available to Microsoft -- as long as they hand me some fistful of Dollars ;]

Here's another good one - hope it's not taken.


Cosmopolitan is somewhat similar to the word metro. Def describes the UI pretty well to.

People UI
Personal UI
Post UI
putting the things you care about most - people
Each phone represents our unique settings, I could spot my home screen a mile away, my -personal- device.
Afterwards or future is -post. Also metro signage is on a sign -post.

Windows Aurora?
•Aurora, IL is located near Chicago, IL
•Windows 95 was codenamed Chicago
•Both Windows 95 and Windows 8 are breakthrough products.
Anybody see a connection? :-D

My choice - "Concourse." Meaning a road or passage, etc. Follows the same lines as "metro," just a different word

I really feel MS should fight this one, Metro is out there, people know it.

How about a (French?) spelling like Sioux, 
Metrioux or Metroux but sounds the same.
Finally. if they must, how about  Mesa.
"The new Mesa UI let's you focus on what is important..."

Avoid fluid, glass, liquid, areo - anything that conjures up the goopy gradients and highlights (chrome) that all the other UI's use including Windows 7. Windows Phone is free from those, beautifully simple.

How about an Infinity symbol? Its like an 8 sideways (Win8, WP8) and also descriptive of the infinite ways you can change your start screen (since the new live tiles are so customizable.

'Modern UI' - It's the simple and best choice by far.

To start with, it accurately describes what Windows 8 is; the first huge step away from the nearly 40 year old aging Xerox PARC UI and the move to the future of UI and computing.

Next, it quells snarky ignorant complaints from those who seek to tarnish its name and/or who are stuck in that idea of what computing "should be" from the 1970's. It does this by taking away the very word they try to tarnish and replacing it with something, that not only has a natural positive connotation but shows how these people are out of touch with the present and future. People can try to talk down Metro, despite them barely using it and actively trying to stay away from it, but what they are really saying is they don't want a Modern UI, they want to stay in their comfy outdated UI that's not "new, different, and scary!". So now when they decry that they don't like the new Modern UI, everyone can see what their real issue is; that they are stuck in their old outdated ways unwilling to adapt to the changing future.

Finally, it describes what we should all aspire too; to reach for the best of what can be instead of staying stagnant in the status quo. Our goal everyday, whether it be just using our computers to do a few simple tasks or working on something that will change the world, should be to reach for the best possible future, not stay stuck in out dated concepts. This isn't the 70s anymore; it's time to step up to the present and move on to the future; it's time to be modern. Windows 8 with a new Modern UI.

I previously said Pure UI, as "pure" is a synonym of clear and quiet.

I want to add another submission. This time, I considered synonyms of the word "win." This is WINdows after all, and MS wants to win.

Sweep UI

Someone said "Glass UI" already, but I think they should just call it: "Glass"
I have always wondered why MS called them 'tiles' instead of 'panes' since the operating system is "windows" and window panes allow you to figuratively look through to see your information.

VisualScape UI... panoramas are like landscapes you're looking through... scanning.. taking in... refocusing... and it's visually appealing

i quickly read through the comments but not sure if anyone has said it. what about Xbox UI?
it is a brand that they have already established and something that is well known with consumers, gamers or not.

First of all i don't want to stick with the word UI, yeah ofcourse we are talking about user interface only, but it'll be good if we cut out that word from behind.

So, we are surfing through the menu right so why we can't call it as Surf-Ace. Yes,


How is it?

I think Microsoft should rename it Reflex.
I rather like that name, especially for something as intuitive as their Windows Phone UI. The name paints the scene as a sort of natural, easy-to-learn interface that won't intimidate customers the least bit.
Hopefully that all made sense!

Microsoft Flip, or Live Flip interface because of all the flipping tiles and the flip transitions

I have another:
from Nautilus: name of marine creatures of cephalopod family Nautilidae.
and Tile: manufactured piece of hard-wearing material such as ceramic, stone, metal, or even glass

LIFE UI is a name that goes with the person who is actually using the WP or W8 device. They attach to us because as you said before "Content, no Chrome" the UI doesn't shine just by itself, it shines because of us. It is alive because it is an assistant for the user, so it has LIFE!

Everyone keeps using the term UI... Metro is not really a UI. It's part of a UI, but the definition of a UI encompasses more than what Metro is (was!). Metro is/was a design principle. "Metro" alludes to its own origin in Swiss transit graphic design, so why not stay transparent and call it something like MARQUEE... it's a catchy name and suggests that this is, well, what it is: signage (of a digital, abstracted sort).

I say PICTO UI. Since it uses pictograms like they do in metros, airports etc. What do you think?

I'd like to see NUI, New User Interface, (which is something else they are calling it) Honestly they should have looked into this before making salespeople go out an advertise something. Also like the idea of Live Tiles. Since they have Xbox live already. Windows 8 style UI. W8SUI. Also know as.. Weight Sooey. Wait Sooey.

Either 'Box' or 'Square' ? I think these both are perfect to describe a windows phone UI. Everything of windows phone can be describe with these simple word. =)

Very simple...SURFACE UI

Most people have never heard of Metro and have not been exposed to it due to lack of WP marketing and thusly lack of market share. However, If Microsoft marketing does its job (for once) then by Christmas "Surface" should become as much a mainstream household name as iPad. From there MS could leverage that new, modern, positive branding, and newly recognisable visual style for its entire range of "Surface style" products... PC, Tablet, Phone, XBOX, Web Services.

MS need to simplify their consumer branding. Surface is a golden opportunity to do that!

Also, because SURFACE is both a noun and a verb it can be use in much more versatile ways, especially in marketing.
e.g. Surface your memories (SkyDrive photos/videos), Surface your creativity (Office/Paint tools), Surface your inner gamer (Xbox live on tablet/pc/console), Surface your favourite people (deep social network integration across all MS products), Surface the things you care about....etc. Etc.
The term Surface can be used to create a mindshare link to all MS products, without actually branding them as Surface (that is retained for MS'a reference hardware), by way of linking the Metro/Tile based UI in all products with how Live Tiles actually SURFACE the information you care about seeing. Referring to all new MS Metro UI as SURFACE UI could achieved that mindshare link, on the back of a newly established, well liked and successful modern product, the Surface tablets.
Beyond XBOX, which is too synonymous with gaming at this point, SURFACE may be MS's best chance at creating a positive new brand. They should leverage the f#@k out of it, and the way to do that could be to use it as branding fir the Metro/tile based UI style across all products.

Freedom - suggests the UI can set you free (from the unoriginal mundane), suggests infinite opportunity, and also reflects the spirit of a new human era and the democratic and American ideal

Fluid or Live..... I prefer... Live owns by MS and we need to create a live ID for using Windows phone.... so we can use Live OS or Live UI..... Its life....

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