Mar 13, 2012

What makes an OS or browser "metro style"?

One of the terms that keeps getting thrown around to describe Windows 8 is "metro style". Just today I read an article about the Chrome browser for Windows 8 embracing "metro style". What exactly is this? I just have an image of skinny jeans, messenger bags and emo haircuts, but that doesn't really apply to an operating system or browser, does it? I suppose I could wear my skinny jeans while I carry my laptop in a messenger bag on my way to the local coffee shop while listening to some dubstep. But what exactly do they mean when using the term in a software design context?

I translate that to read "like apple," but that isn't really fair to Microsoft. I suppose the most concise definition is that provided by Microsoft: "Metro is our design language. We call it Metro because it's modern and clean. It's fast and in motion. It's about content and typography. And it's entirely authentic." I'm not exactly sure what they mean by it being authentic - what would the alternative be? Fake? Whatever. Perhaps the most simple way to think of it is as Helvetica OS.
I think it has do with the Metro style of tiles, etc. I haven't used Chrome in Windows 8, so I can't comment on it directly. I dislike Metro and would never use Windows 8 as my main operating system anyway. I find it to be ugly and a huge mess on the desktop, I doubt it will be much more attractive on Windows 8 tablets either.

However, I can understand why app developers would want their applications to fit in well and take advantage of what Metro has to offer. It makes sense for them to do so, and it might please those who decide to use Windows 8 on the desktop or on a tablet.
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