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

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 (opens in new tab), 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?

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • 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.
  • While we agree, it's not happening. There will be a new term used.
  • 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:
  • +1 to Current
  • How about Modern Ergonomic Tiled Runic Object User Interface?
    But that's pretty long. Maybe there could be an abbreviation...
  • Rofl that's M.E.T.R.O.U.I. Take off the UI and its metro XD
  • 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.
  • "M.E.T.R.O UI" or just "M.E.T.R.O"
  • 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.
  • Have a cookie sir
  • 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.
  • Tile UI
    See Wikipedia =D
  • I'm not too sure about Tile UI, but I do definitely think Microsoft should let the tiles decide...
  • Yea and that's y apple is hated and Microsoft isn't cuz they respect others
  • Motro... I win
  • 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.
  • MSUI is hard to pronounce and Im fairly certain MSX is something that's owned by motorola.
  • 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.
  • Liquid UI
  • Reminds be of the personal lubricant...
  • 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...
  • Hahaha!
  • +1000
  • SL8 UI (slate user interface)
  • I like
  • 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.
  • not SL8 UI. better "SLATE UI" but then again when its on desktop it will sound wierd...
  • Inspired.
  • 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.
  • I used the term "metro" all the time?
  • 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.
  • by then, brand recognition takes hold...
  • 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)
    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
  • what?
  • 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!!
  • i have no idea what that guy is talking about, there's nothing there anyway.
  • Oh, he replied to the wrong comment.
  • Sorry about that. I apologize
  • MS would never be able to trademark metro as their UI as its descriptive and generic.
  • RIP metro you'll be missed... :'(
  • I vote for Microsoft UI or Transit.
  • and a play on transit: could be short for transition.
  • Escape
  • 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."
  • This is such a good concept, get into marketing. Slate for sure!
  • 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.
  • Can I get a $1 credit for agreeing that surface should be it. :-)
  • I like it too!
  • Pixels UI
  • Slide UI
  • Swipe
  • ** 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.
  • Motion UI
  • Modro. It's modern and metro combined.
  • Deez Nutz UI....cause that's what Apple will be hanging on
  • Jaja good one.
  • LOL
  • Umm..this is a bit hard. LOL.
    How about rush?
  • That's what she said
  • I believe this was unnecessary lol
  • Lmao. Wow. XD
  • Metrix
  • Tiles UI
  • Saw it somewhere else but: Urban
  • 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,
    All about CONTENTS as well as Bold and Beautiful TYPOGRAPHY in the form of Signages/Posts
    And these are the definitions of METRO Microsoft has been using so why not call it URBAN?