Microsoft shows off possible UI revamp for Windows 10 Music app on Xbox support site

Microsoft launched a preview of its upcoming Music app for Windows 10 in late March, with a new user interface. However, it looks like the UI changes may not yet be complete, based on an image posted on the Xbox support page.

As shown in that screenshot, the image shows that the Artist category may be doing away with the square, Live Tile-like UI that's currently in the Music Windows 10 app preview. In its place are flat circles to show off the musicians and bands that can be searched from within the app.

It's important to note that Microsoft has yet to launch this UI in the Music preview for Windows 10, so it's possible that the company could change its mind and stick with the current interface or change it up with something different. We hopefully will have more information on this in the coming weeks.

Truth be told, this isn't even that new either, as we had reports from readers going back to the beginning of April about this image on Microsoft's site. Is it a placeholder or the actual planned look for Xbox Music? Looks like we will have to wait and see. In the meantime, let us know what you think of the dark theme and round images.

Source: Xbox.com{.nofollow}; Via: WinBeta.org; Thanks, Jonah P., for the original tip!

417 Comments
  • Cool...
  • I see that Playlists STILL aren't listed alphabetically.  Why is that so hard?!?
  • Why is that important?
  • Cause its obvious B comes after A not the opposite
  • B is too far away from A in my keyboard though :P
  • Well, if it's sorted by date of creation or by usage, I'm sold. Circle pictures? Don't we have them in the people app? Does it look like Spotify? I don't give a s***
  • This really bloody bothers me because all of my embedded artist and album art is square. WHY do Microsoft insist on cutting the corners off pictures suddenly?! GAH!! I sure as hell won't be using this on my PC. Look like I'll have to start using VLC or something else on my phone, too.
  • Album art is still square, just the artist (aka people) is round.
  • Yeah, realised that but for some reason I'm not able to edit my comment haha
  • Why is alphabetical order important?  Oh, I don't know... because I have 100 playlists and don't want to search high & low for them in a non-alphabetical list.  In case you haven't noticed, many things are listed in alphabetical order (i.e., App Lists).
  • I mean, there is the search button...
  • Extra steps, that's a failure in design.
  • I would much rather be able to sort them as I want, than being forced to have them alphabetized... I want the ones I use the most to be at the top... Easier to get to the ones I use the most, is good UI :)
  • Agreed. Sorting seems to be missing in a few of the newer apps, but hopefully it comes before RTM.
  • This! So much this! It's such a key feature for re-organising both playlists and contents of playlists by a-z, date added and recently played i.e. adding an album from an artist and removing duplicate songs that were from singles or EPs.
  • Awesome
  • LOVE IT.  Love how they distinguish content: Circles = People
    Squares = Things
      Great move! :)
  • That's true...
  • Same as on Google All Access.
  • Now that's a music app!
  • What fuckery is this ? why can't Microsoft just buy Spotify or another program like music bee change the name and call it a day  Microsoft my god you're buying everything else right now
  • ...
  • FUCKING CIRCLE PICTURES AGAIN! What in bloody hell is wrong with Microsoft?
  • I like them. So now I ask, what's wrong with you for not liking them?
  • It looks ugly.
    Plain and simple like the original wmplayer is what looks best.
  • "It looks ugly."
    Huh, it's almost like we have different opinions about esthetics and app design. My larger point: no point in debating preference. Just because you do not like it, does not preclude others from doing so. There are no "facts" here, just opinions.
  • Ladies and gentlemen, here is Mr. Rubino the MS advocate.
  • ❗❗ OPTIONAL❗❗
    ........
    IF MS WOULD LEARN TO MAKE THINGS OPTIONAL THEN THEY COULD PLEASE EVERYONE...
    ........
    Ummmmm.. Whatever happened to themes like in WimMo❓ That's what WP needs... Optional themes. Different versions of "modern" design...
    SMDH. FTLOG.....
  • Oh, I like this idea a lot.
  • What is in the article has nothing to do with windows phone. Its a desktop app. And I'm with Daniel on this one, circle pictures don't look bad at all. Posted from the Nexus 6, Nexus 5, or the Surface Pro 3
  • Ummmmmmmm, universal apps❓❓❓
    Ummmmmmmm, Windows 10❓❓❓
    ........
    McFly, (knock, knock)... McFly, is anyone home❗❗
  • Great point about bringing back optional themes.
  • WinMo 6.5 had customization options that WinMo 10 still won't have....
    http://www.istartedsomething.com/20090418/windows-mobile-65-personalizat...
    ........
    Nevertheless, With W10, it's more possible than ever.... The same way apps in W8.1/WP8.1 can take advantage of a theme color that is chosen for the entire OS, those same apps could use circular, or square, icons depending on the specific theme choose for the OS....
    ........
    One word: RedStone.
  • I think even one of my old Symbian nokias had that option. I could change the entire "theme" of the phone.
  • Yep.
  • There will definitely be a light and dark theme for this, as for most native windows apps.
  • The dark and the light isn't enough customization when you had experienced a windows phone 6. I could even change the font of the OS in WM6.
  • Exactly... You get it.
  • Come on, at least put some effort into it
  • How about just the advocate of common sense?
  • That's too hard... Makes too much sense.
  • This..
  • It just crop from the square image, you see less and you get the feeling you're looking through binoculars.
  • That's exactly what I've been saying... It's restrictive... We don't want cute. Lol.
  • I think MS has to put down an article why they are following circles just like they did with the Hamburger menu issue.. Just tell insiders about the intention.. We can see a lot of complaints here, just like we have seen about Hamburger menus
  • I think they did already -something about "people aren't squares" iirc
  • People aren't circles either... WTH❓❓
  • Daniel Rubino, here you are again being pompous.  You're right, it is an opinion. I don't recall either comment claiming it to be a fact, and it was very obvious that they were merely expressing their own opinion.  Now, I will tell you what is a fact.  It's "aesthetics," not esthetics.  You're the only one here debating preference, not them.
  • Shut up Sean Lee1, the OP inferred it by what he said. He never suffixed his opinion whaling all over the Internetz with IMHO. He stated it like a fact. I understand why Daniel posted his comment, we tire of every little post the voal minority whining. Its a circle, thats all - and people have their panties in a bunch, just liek the hamburger. Its pointless. Whine about things not working, fine. Don't whine about things that are clearly subjective and ones where MS have explained why (i.e. Asians want curved edges for cultural reasons). Besides the fact, no one likes a knob end grammar Nazi like you pointing out errors on quick fired comments on a forum section of the Internet, get over it Mr Pedant. Gimp.
  • Haha. Well put, sir
  • hwangeruk,  So, according to your logic, any and every opinion posted online should begin or end with, "IMHO."  Further, if "IMHO" is omitted the sentence, we should assume it's fact. If you don't like people whining, perhaps you shouldn't read comments.  I mean, what else are you expecting besides the "this is cool/crap" comments?  Why is the first comment, "cool...," any better than this one? Oh, so people can only complain about things that you and Daniel deem important.  Got it, makes perfect sense. Also, there's a difference between grammar and spelling errors.  Oops, looks like I'm being a "grammar nazi" again. LOL
  • More importantly, I knew as soon as I saw the images that the sane people would be yelling the same script. We get it. You don't like it. It's not a design "flaw"; it's a design "choice". Some will like it and others won't, but that doesn't mean that it's objectively wrong or that there is something wrong with the people who designed it.
  • Daniel is prickly. This site was a lot better when Sam was here--he balanced out the mean.
  • Here's a fact for you, Sean Lee1: "esthetics" is an accepted variant spelling of "aesthetics" so don't go jumping in accusing others of pomposity or make arrogant and unjustified claims regarding your own perceived superiority before checking your "facts".
  • OK, it's horrible, not ugly.
  • Daniel Rubino.. Because whole windows experience is based on blocks.. e.g. Tiles.. So it doesnt make sense to make circle icons in any stock app.. Its okay if its ported.. But microsofts own apps shouldnt have circle icons.
  • Dharmang, the tiles are still square, these aren't tiles. 
  • Yeah.. But once you have a square or block ui you dont go to circles. :)
  • What mister Rubinio doesn't want to tell us is that next build the all the tiles will be replaced with circles, like this: http://i.imgur.com/2UA0ENn.jpg
  • LOL!!
  • LOL.
  • http://oi55.tinypic.com/24odf95.jpg makes sense... hamburguers are circles!! Justice for McDonalds!! hamburguers are not three horizontal lines!!! ABOUT TIME.
  • You act like Microsoft's design language has been squares and tiles since the 90's. They've moved from one design to another over the years and now they're moving away from squares and tiles to something new. Just let go and embrace.
  • Daniel, let me ask you something: You said that nothing here is a fact, just opinion. Your statement is a opinion or a fact?
  • I don't know why people respond so strongly, but the article does say to "let us know what you think" which is the obligitory line at the end of every article asking for opinions.  Those with stronger opinions are more likely to respond.
  • Just because we don't like it doesn't mean we cant express it..
  • I hate to think that this will be the horrifying ui we'll have on xbox
  • Actually, square pics, besides looking much better, allow for a larger surface area, and thus, area superior.
  • "I like them. So now I ask, what's wrong with you for not liking them?" "My larger point: no point in debating preference."   Really, Daniel?  
  • Its beautiful
  • How can you say this is ugly? It's one of the best looking app I've ever seen.
  • The problem is that they are forcing circles onto pictures that were not originally cropped that way, resulting in parts being cut off unintentionally. A great many of my contacts DO NOT use simple portraits of themselves in their profile pictures. These photos end up looking bad when cropped to a circle. Microsoft should give users a choice and stop forcing this change everywhere in the OS.
  • Your friends are stupid. A profile picture must be a person or face and not a stupid building or whatever.
  • lol..  
  • :D
  • and what about the album covers?
    circle photos are claustrophobic as hell, like you're looking through a keyhole or something.
  • @Marcos - Album art is not a person, so it will not show as a circle.  Circles are only for PEOPLE/CONTACTS.  Things such as album art / apps / places / things remain square.
  • OK, but you can clearly see some artists being cut out in their band's picture. If the original photo was square, you can't assume the corners to be uninportant just because you want to.
  • I was going to say it feels claustrophobic as well. Most visual content has straight edges, displays have straight edges. Having circular UI elements feels like you're losing out on seeing more. Very much not a fan. They should have an option in Windows for curved or angular people pictures to please everyone.
  • COMMENT OF THE DAY AWARD GOES TO CRISE!   LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Exactly.  It's a poor use of space (and also ugly).
  • It's like putting portholes on a house. It just doesn't work. lol
  • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I like them. Nobody is right or wrong, its subjective and a matter of taste.  
  • Fair enough... but I never recall anyone in the past opining that Windows 8 needs more circles... At the very least, Microsoft needs to give us an Option... just like LinkedIn does.
  • As others have pointed out, squares are more functional (besides looking better)
  • Portholes on houses work a treat in Hobbiton ;)
  • I agree that maybe I'm not used to them, but they leave my eyes wanting more of an image, is this not the case for your eyes?
  • Circle pictures can look awsome, but I don't really like how Microsoft decided to use them.For me looks like two different movies, and the result is like 'Batman' and 'Alice in Wonderland' combined. Maybe you like both, but not in the same movie.
  • "I like them. So now I ask, what's wrong with you for not liking them?" Easy answer. Nothing wrong with him. In addition to other downsides mentioned, there is the matter of real estate. Rectangular pictures use more of the available space. Do the math. If a rectangular picture is worth 1000 words, then a round one is worth ~785 (4/pi). Nothing wrong with you liking waste but don't promote it being forced on others. Maybe you or someone could publish an app that replaces parts of pictures with dead space.
  • "wasted space" is what Windows Phone UI was allll about for years. People here liked it a lot, so it seems odd to no argue for a crammed UI. For that, we have Android already. Good app design is not about jamming as much stuff on your screen. It is about giving things space, life to breathe and not overwhelm the senses. So I disagree with your assesment here.
  • There's a difference between wasted space and intentionally leaving whitespace. Circular cropping an image is inefficient. To me it just feels like their designers are borrowing from Material Design without fully committing. It reads as trendy as opposed to forging their own path as they did brilliantly with Metro.
  • You do realise faces are sorta round? :/  Circle in effect are more efficient, using less pixels to display a face. You "efficiency" point is a stupid as most of the whining commentors on this thread. Say you don't like how they look, but trying to use dumb sh*t pseudo science to explain why is making people look really stupid. Either like it or don't, stop the other nonsense / justification.  
  • The inefficiency of a circular crop is "dumb shit pseudo science". A solid argument. You realize we're not just talking about headshots? For example, look at the screenshot, more than 1/2 of the photos are group shots. What shape are those?
  • How is circular cropping an image inefficient? a :  not producing the effect intended or desired 
    b :  wasteful of time or energy <inefficient operating procedures> 
    c :  incapable, incompetent <an inefficient worker> Look at the design templates for WP8, nowhere did Microsoft mention that you have to stick with rectangular shapes. 
  • Of course it looks great. On the album art, in images where there are four or five people, say, of Maroon 5 or of RHCP, the circle helps mask the less important guys from the band, the ones stood on either extreme ends...seems logical.
  • The reason is Skype. It has circles. Instead of Skypefying Windows, they should have made Skype contacts square.
  • I agree: Good UI design is also about differentiation and consistency, so if Microsoft sticks to round standing for personification of content and square for the rest, we have a logic here.
  • If you can break that logic by simply pinning a person to start, I guess it's a ill conceived logic!?
  • How's this for a reason: image standards prefer squared/rectangular shapes and to make a round image you need to use a format that has transparency like PNG which offers less compression than JPG? Even microsoft's own image tools in Windows 10 crop to an angular shape.
  • I actually went to make some circular artist pictures to make a point, but it's a lot bloody harder than I initially thought it would be, so I'm settling for blacking out the corners of pictures instead of making the images themselves circular.
  • OK yup, I give up. Too much of a pain in the arse to illustrate my point, which I think says enough about this matter all on its own.
  • No, not really. You draw a rectangular image, but only to a circular region. You don't create a new image.
  • Also, John asks at the end of the article "what do you think of the circle design" you have to let people hate them otherwise we'd all be simply lying and allowing any change to seem perfect when in some cases, it really has an adverse effect on ui/ux/aesthetics etc
  • You forgot, IMHO ;) FTFY
  • Make a poll here, it will be interesting to see the results.
  • Y don't you buy a round screen tv
  • Someday when we will use circular smartphones ...
  • This is exactly what i've been trying to say. A circular picture ignores the fact that the picture itself, nor the frame nor screen, isn't a circle and it creates a dis-harmony that sucks.
  • The problem with the circles is that they don't show as much content... They annoyingly hide some of the picture....
    ........
    Not fond of this.... And, it looks to damn childish, or maybe even feminine..... But, maybe that's MS's angle.. IDK.
  • Who cares about content.  Circles are for people/profile pics only! lol Any photos that should have content (e.g. tiles, photos app, etc.) still use squares.
  • You're saying every profile picture on FB is of the closeup of a face❓ Don't a lot of most peoples contact pictures feed from social media sites❓
    ........
    Are you saying that every picture of a band is a close up of one person❓ Lol..... It doesn't work that way...
  • I really really like them too, but it doesn't look that good when it is used for album art..
  • Agree, album art was never taken in a circular photo/design, so its simply erasing what was meant to be there. For album art this will not work.
  • They did it to distinguish people from things: Circles = PEOPLE only Squares = Album Art / Apps / Locations / Things / everything else.
  • Lol... So, you're saying the OS can distinguish which profile, or band pictures, are of a single face❓ Lol.... Bad rule.
  • All of the artist pics I have were cropped from rectangular group shots.
  • I think they look really bad, and are a far cry from the classic windows phone "tile" look that started making me love the simplicity of windows phone. This looks so "facebook", and apple. Quite nasty if you ask me.
  • And so Skype
  • Cause they look so not WP and a lot of people hate them.
  • @Daniel In all honesty you wouldn't say one bad thing about Microsoft's moves.  If they decided to go all in with Android you would champion that move too.  And as you pointed out, it's all opinions.  I for one agree with "startrunner" assessment with those circular tiles.  Then again, it's just my opinion too. :)
  • So much about Windows is square now, these circles just seem out of place. Just my opinion. I don't hate them, but they look "off".
  • last I checked album covers are still square.
  • According to the Windows 10 design lanugae, circles represent people and squres represent everything else. It's a consistant design phillosophy. Notice these circles are representing artists. Artists are people. Understand?
  • At least you understand it! :)  People here comment without understanding. They did it to distinguish people from things: Circles = PEOPLE only Squares = Album Art / Apps / Locations / Things / everything else.
  • I don't like them. So now I ask, what's wrong with you for liking them?
  • They crop the picture, they look tacky, cheesy, etc. You know, those kinds of things. Complaining about the circles in W10 now is kind of silly though when the rest of the OS looks like crap.
  • I don't get it either. There is tons of feedback in uservoice NOT to do this elsewhere in the OS but they seem to be ignoring it.
  • And just what the heck is the problem you people have with circles? Square images alone make the app look dull and less visually pleasing.
  • Yeah, but squares show more content❗
  • More content?  It's just supposed to be your face!  Circles are for people/contact pics only.  Anything content-related is square.
  • Ummmmmm, this is displaying group photos... Not just a face, like a contact.... Regardless, I don't like the idea of showing just a face, and a face isn't always the center piece of a group, album art, or even a contact... Most of my contact photos come from FB, and those pictures vary dramatically. Think about that.... I mean, it's not really that big a deal, but there is room to debate content... Nevertheless, if it's not broke don't fix it...
  • Yeah, square matches the UI, and is clean. I know that it is subjective, but this really does look jarring compared to the overall look of Windows.
  • Looking forward to laptops with circular screens. Or even circular tablets. And a camera that takes circular pictures so I won't feel like my image is being cropped by MS.
  • The only place it doesn't look funny is on the PC lock screen... Looks kinda nice there.... They could make it optional for phone, but OPTIONAL..... Optional.
  • They are listening.  But they can't change everything based on feedback otherwise they won't be able to progress.  They made it clear that they needed to use circles to distinguish PEOPLE from content. Circles = People
    Squares = Tiles / Things / Everything else
  • Is every contact on your phone a closeup of a face❓ I bet most of your contacts images come from FB... I don't see how that law even makes logical sense in the real world.... What about business contacts❓ Group photos❓ The image gets cut off..... No, I don't prefer it this way.
  • Microsoft is spending more time in personalization than optimization.
  • Don't think so, we're not even at rtm yet. If we get to rtm and the bugs haven't been fixed, then I'll agree with you
  • There's no way for you to know that. 
  • I wouldn't say that.... Optimization comes near the end.... Who wants to optimize a bunch of concept ideas❓ That's largely what the TP is, and they don't want to waste time optimizing for nothing.... Wait till over 95% is beta, then you'll start seeing polish...
  • Microsoft is not in a position to dictate design standards yet. It is lagging behind and the only way of catching up is to align itself with ios and android. That means allignibg in all the design. That's why we have hamburger menus and circles and pill toggles. I don't like the circles either, but I can see exactly why MS is doing this. When windows 10 gains traction and becomes a strong competition for ios and android, then Microsoft can think about dictating design standards. For now. It has to follow suit with ios and android. The one main reason other than a lack of apps I heard from people not liking windows phone was because the interface was too different and harder to get used to. So they have to align with ios and android, its sad I know, but I hope it works. (this music apps will also run on the phone so any design changes also go accross to desktop)
  • Maybe Windows 11 will use triangles. You know, just because... lol
  • You mean Redstone.....
  • I don't like the circles either. Everything else in the OS has right angles. The circles just look odd... like circular windows on a house or office building...
  • I've got used to them. Hated them first, now I don't mind them
  • That's their plan.
  • I hated it at first, but that's because the design was not complete.  Now that it's further along in the design process, it makes sense and looks great!
  • Square or circle.. It doesn't make any issues unless the application delivers It's function... I don't really care about the visual treat.. Skype is circle... People is circle.. Windows login is circle.. Just because we have tiles in our UI , you can't blame MS for going with the circular image design..
  • I agree. I think its subjective. And they're trying to align their design with Google and Apple, which makes sense
  • It's actually pretty cool and nifty, I really like them, but waiting for final release though
  • It looks super ugly. I really don't know what they are thinking. Even on the photos there, the cropping is just awful. How about all photos on the lumia taking round photos as well?
  • Dude it's time to let it go because circles are on Xbox One, Windows phone and Windows 10.  Ain't no going back until the next major revamp of the entire Windows ecosystem and branding. 
  • I read in a windows blog post that they want to use circles to identify people, to differentiate from other kind of contents. They are doing that in the contracts app and they are doing it coherently in other apps like the music app, where only artists have the circles, while on the right I still see the squares. This way they think the user can easily identify the singer from the album. It looks a nice way to do things. Plus, I don't think circles are based at all, but then again: This is just a matter of treasures. Lastly, I wanna say to those that think Microsoft should let us decide whether to use circles or squares, that the configurations cannot be a non-limited list of option. They just can't make a configuration toggle for everything that someone doesn't like, for every little thing that they change! Come on, this is a huge update and this means that things will not be like before: Some new things will be liked by many, some others will be not liked by many. Accept it and if you want to complaint, install the preview and send them feedback. That's what they are for. But remember that your complaint may be something that millions of other people applaud!
  • Congratulations on being the only commenter who understands the circle concept! :D
    Seems no one else has read/understood the concept.
  • Non sure of you'r