The convergence of Microsoft’s user interfaces

Microsoft’s clean and simple Metro UI, originally experimented with during the Windows Media Center days and later refined and made popular by Zune, is rapidly spreading throughout the company. What was once a vast number of disparate interfaces is fast becoming a wide range of operating systems, apps, services, and even websites unified under a single visual style. The result is a much more cohesive offering from Microsoft.

Today, Microsoft’s online services like Hotmail and SkyDrive sport the old Windows Live look and feel. But soon, they too will join Windows, Windows Phone, and even Office by adopting a Metro-style approach. The result is a suite of services that doesn’t just look the same, but acts the same as well. Our friends over at LiveSide have managed to obtain images of the next Hotmail UI, which is currently dubbed “Newmail.” If you look at the “compose new message” screen, you’ll notice that it looks strikingly similar to the Mail app in Windows 8, two-pane layout and all. It’s also completely ad-free. This new interface isn’t yet live on Hotmail, but it can be currently found on the Microsoft account settings page. You’ll also be able to bring up a list of Microsoft’s other online services – presumably by right-clicking, as in Windows 8. These faux live tiles, for lack of a better word, look exactly the same as their Windows 8 counterparts.

It’s exciting to see everything finally begin to come together; from Windows to Windows Phone, Xbox to Office, and Hotmail to Microsoft.com. I hope you like the Metro interface, because it’s fast becoming Microsoft’s signature style.

[LiveSide]
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William Devereux

William Devereux is the former Microsoft editor at Pocketables, as well as a Microsoft MVP and SkyDrive/Outlook.com Insider. As his title implies, he wrote about all things from Redmond, including Windows 8 and Windows Phone. He is currently carrying a Windows Phone 8X by HTC and a Microsoft Surface with Windows RT tablet.