Three International Design Excellence Awards(IDEA) for Windows Phone 7

| July 3, 2011 | 54 Replies


Windows Phone’s Metro UI gets much flack here for having an ‘ugly’ or ‘boring’ UI. Whilst as a user, I can welcome some important changes I’ve seen in concepts, I think Metro is great. It’s clean and simple, simple, logically arranged and gets things done. I could live with changing the tiles and scrolling app list (hopefully to see some Nokia Stamps, aka SWIPE in future NWP, 2012) but the rest of the Metro-Pano stuff and all the little nice touches  (like how a button/label moves at a different angle depending on where you press it like you’re really pushing something) produced for me a very cohesive and engaging experience (note, just talking about UI stuff, not features).

If you’d like to know more about Windows Phone design you should read these posts from Paul Thurott, a blogger about all stuff Microsoft.

Or you can read the official design guide here. <<Actually an interesting read. Will have to revisit these later.

Awards for Windows Phone 7

IDEA (International Design Excellence Awards) was decided by The Industreal Designers Society of America (IDSA).

Windows Phone 7 has won awards in the following categories:

  • Gold award in the category of Interactive Product Experiences,
  • Silver in the Research category and
  • Bronze in Design Strategy

Would be interesting to see what else is in these categories and what other OSes won other designs awards.


Well we can. Check out


For Design Strategy: This is in with the likes of Boeing’s Dream Liner (Gold).


Interactive Product Experiences:





Category: Windows Phone

About the Author ()

Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]
  • Paul Grenfell

    ? That was lost on me.. I think Metro is boring..W7 is borung..At first when i looked at this page, i thought the award was for N9 Harmattan..That would have made more sense..Ah well, each to his own..

    • Deep Space Bar

      notice how funny this is…….WP7 UI is shit … one is buying their phones…….and now this to promote it…just to seem important even enough though no one is be really buying it

      • Dion

        lol troll, try polishing up your grammer before imposing your biased comments on everyone else. tyvm 🙂

  • Mario

    Thanks for the links, they made me finally understand what exactly was annoying me from WP7. I thought it was the space-wasting UI, or the crayon color palette (sky blue or amber over black, wth), but it is that the designers assume that I want a bunch of stuff that I don’t want or need, like social integration. I feel that WP7 designers are locked in a monolithic echo chamber, without having any kind of critique. No wonder the prizes, the UI looks like a fashion magazine.

    In that sense, I also got why I loved the N9 UI so much: it just gets out of your way so you can actually do stuff on the device.

    • h3csc

      Design award, I agree.
      Interactive award, hell not. Terrible waste of screen space, not practical.

    • Anastasios-Antonios Toulkeridis

      the tight social integration is what i like most about windows phone 7 (and i still haven’t tried Mango). Try harder next time troll

      • h3csc

        Wtf? That is consider as a troll? The fact that only 3 tabs can appear at a same time and waste of screen space is true. Social integration could be good, but it doesn’t means that other OS are poor on the other section. Every UI has it’s pro and cons and I don’t think WP7 UI is superior enough as compare to all other OS’s UI to earn that award. UI design is creative though that’s why I agree with the design award.

        Stop worshiping OS like a god, Fanboy. It’s just an Operating System!

        • Dion

          just saying, not everyone likes a screen crammed full of apps, widgets and other miscellaneous crap

      • Lloydo

        I don’t think he’s trolling, merely expressing his opinion.

        The social integration in WP7 and even Meego “Harmattan” isn’t particularly well-designed.

        For those of us who don’t use Facebook/Twitter etc these features are useless.

        Then the “People” hub (for example) doesn’t degrade gracefully into an area which is useful. It just seems spartan and user-unfriendly.

        To me that is poor design. Good design should cater to the widest possible array of people.

        • Just Visiting

          @Lloydo…While the People hub may not be useful for those who do not use Facebook, etc., the People Hub/Tile does not have to be pinned to the Start menu. Users would simply remove it, or not pin it there. The start screen is for applications and hubs the user finds useful or rather, what the user feel they will be utilizing the most.

      • ummNo…

        Let’s see how well WP7 social integration works with Google+ if it comes popular enough.

        With open enough platform google, or any other third party could write code for integration. Is WP7 open enough?

        Tight integration starts to really suck when you need manufacturers permission to add additional services. I bet there is api that makes it possible. But there is allways some politics between big corporations.

    • Jesse

      Very well deserved, Windows Phone 7’s interface is so fun to use. It was missing some key things to make it as enjoyable as it should have been because of app dehydration and sometimes slow network response but Mango fixed every single one of those areas! Cannot wait to use it on a Nokia device!!

      • Deep Space Bar

        you like wasted screen space atleast symbian uses the whole screen

        • Jesse

          Love it, one of the great freedom’s of having touch devices is that moving around should be seamless and enjoyable! Windows Phone 7 is first OS to really get touch interfaces and be designed to flow with it.

          Open space has always desired especially by designers but wasn’t very attainable because OS’s weren’t designed to make dataviews flow.

          • Deep Space Bar

            waste of space and effort you use this OS is

          • Dion

            /agree i updated to mango the other day and it was seriously better… even on beta!

  • stylinred

    well look at that WP7 is among other unpopular, niche, unknown, nominees and it didnt even sweep the show

    • Cloud_Connected

      Of what use is an award if the customers don´t buy that os…?

      • Anastasios-Antonios Toulkeridis

        What use is an anti-wp comment on a blog about Nokia. Do us all a favor and take your trolling behavior elsewhere

        • j

          you are totally right. There is no need for anty wp comments. But to be precise: in a nokia fan blog there is no need for any comments on windows phone.

          • Cloud_Connected

            Since this is a nokia blog I see every WinPhone news which is posted here RELATED TO Nokia and it´s products.

            Even though the metro ui is now award winning – the problem for nokia (no sales/ marketshare of WinPhone) will persist. People don´t buy devices with that os despite it´s award winning, georgious looking ui. Fact.

            The right place for fanboys of WinPhone os would be e. g.…

            • Dion

              actually, most people who support wp7 aren’t fanboys but just people who don’t understand why others are so obstinately biased against it :\

        • kevin

          You are the biggest troll here! Quit calling everyone a troll who doesn’t like WP7!

    • Paul Grenfell

      Peoples Choice Awards, are what count…
      N9 – 9/10 ****stars..

  • N9 ecosystem

    Cant wait to see a nokia windows phone, then we can tell the nokia future

    nokia cant save windpw phone platform! I dont think nokia wp7 makes much impact

    why developers join the third ecosytem while they are busy with ios and android
    ios ecosymtem is almost perfect

    • Paul Grenfell

      Its not so much the eco, well it is i suppose, but i cant see W7 making much difference Nokias bottom line, seeing there are already other W7 devices out there..
      Meego , the other hand has so much potential..

      • Anastasios-Antonios Toulkeridis

        Nokia will be allowed to heavily customize wp

        • Paul Grenfell

          Do you really believe W7 is going to make inroads anywhere near the likes of Symbian or other competition? Like i said, Windows phones are already available and they are not selling well.
          I would love to see Meego given a fair chance..I think it could well displace any Windows phone..But Nokia needs to back it up properly..Look at the interest displayed in N9..

          • Dion

            if the positions we’re switched, with meego to be nokia’s main os instead, the same interest would be for wp7

  • Ninja

    So I think we can safely say in a nutshell, “The Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA)” idea of what’s good is completely different to the buying public’s idea of what is good, because otherwise people would actually have bought some Windows Phones in significant numbers, right?

    And this is NOT an international award. This is a totally American award for American technology. It will mean a lot more when we see:

    a.) An INTERNATIONAL design body award WP something.

    b.) Far more importantly, people ACTUALLY BUY WP DEVICES.

    Then, and only then, will I say “Well done Windows Phone”.

    In contrast, has Symbian won any design awards? I’m not sure. But it’s won where it really matters, with the biggest sales, userbase and market share of any smartphone OS in the world by a long way, which was only diminished when Elop thrust the dagger into it’s heart on Feb 11th.

    All I’m saying is: Prove yourself Windows Phone, prove yourself. And right now, after about 9 months of sales, WP looks like almost a total fail on every front.

    • Jim

      thank you Ninja

      Now here’s the proof that Japanese are superior to stupid, fat and lazy yankees, they’ve managed to make a better Metro UI on their android phone than MS!!!

      Japanese carrier KDDI has revamp their Infobar line of phones with an Android Gingerbread smartphone.

      And this revamped UI takes inspiration from Windows Phone 7 Metro UI. But then it does much better than Windows Phone 7! Check out for yourself:

      iida INFOBAR A01 – INTERFACE

      KDDI iida INFOBAR A01 is a cool, Japan-only droid with custom UI

      • Mac

        Now that is awesome! If wp7’s metro ui looked that good, i’m sold!

      • Harangue

        That Japanese UI does look pretty good. However I find it looks very cluttered and ‘busy’ While looking at the video I couldn’t identify elements quickly and see what they said.

        WP is boring as heck to a lot of people (myself included at some occasions) but it does provide info at a glance. Because of the simple colors and icons the eye isn’t distracted quickly and can identify what is what at a glance.

        Not defending WP here, but merely a personal opinion. 🙂

        • Jim

          I guess, you couldn’t identify em because nearly all the elements were in Japanese 😉

  • Bhairav Pardiwala

    All that is good and all but i wonder what would nokia do if nokia wp7 does not take off from the ground !!!
    put swipe on android ?

    • N9 ecosystem

      If nokia windows phone fails, nokia will release n9 successor, and focus only on meego and s40

      so nokia partnership with ms fail will benefit many its royal customers

  • Deep Space Bar

    i wonder how much they paid since MSFT is on a spending spree LOL

  • doffen

    The main problem with WP is not the UI but the closed nature of the OS. MS is out- appeling Appel. WP would be ok if it was open like windows for pc.

  • Hypnopottamus

    I can understand that people don’t like the UI. It’s a more than reasonable criticism. But I think it won this award b/c of it’s unique approach to the UI. MS seems to have taken a really minimalist approach. If you think about it, no other mobile OS has gone this route. What people here are calling “wasted screen space” is just minimalism. Instead of icons, text is used. It’s different. Based on that, I think the award is deserved. Whether or not people like it is a different story. Nokia pioneered the whole icon/grid based UI and everyone else has copied it. People are just used to that interface.

    • John

      +100000000000000000000000 😀

      Bravo sir for understanding what Wp7 UI stands for, I wished more people thought like you.

      You made some excellent points there. I strongly encourage people to read the links Jay has provided there because not until then will you understand the true meaning of Metro UI. Most of the time it is harder for geeks or engineers to understand the creative part of any design.

      • Deep Space Bar

        i used windows for how many years and now i laugh at the poor excuse for UI they still keep….i’m running ubuntu for 3 years now and microsoft will hasn’t caught up as yet……if you take a look at all the homescreens for the OSs windows phone really doesn’t have one…just floating panels that make the feeds look boring and plain….as unique as it is…’s BORING and PLAIN too look at….and yes the transition effects might be smooth but at the end of the day it’s BORING AND PLAIN and no one wants boring and plain

        • Hypnopottamus

          It’s called minimalism. It’s fine that you don’t like it, but don’t generalize on everyone else’s behalf. There is a market for the minimalist approach. There are some launchers on Android that try to achieve this as well. As a matter of fact, there is even a launcher that mimics WP7 tiles. So yes, there are people who want and like it. If you don’t, then dont get WP7. Pretty simple solution to your “problem.”

    • Mario

      You know what I mean with wasted screen space?

      When I see a list of applications, and both the icons and the names are in a minuscule font, surrounded by a huge sea of black nothingness, when they could have been bigger for easier reading and manipulation.

      That is wasted space. Different from minimalism.

      • Hypnopottamus

        Fair enough. I can’t argue w/ you there. Many others just seem to not like the minimalist aproach ay all though.

      • Jesse

        Space would have to cost something to be wasted. Screen real estate on phones used to be a premium because it was so difficult to find things and get around, that is not the case anymore. You can afford to have space and use it make your interface flow.

        Especially when your programs are all easily accessible by jumplists and hubs. You can do a simple case study using Symbian and Mango, install 160 programs and find all the programs that start with “T”. Mango will be instant, click any letter for jump list and then “T” didn’t have to scroll at all.

        Or let’s say you know the exact app you want to open out of your 160 programs, with Mango you hit the start button and say “open xbox live”. You are in the app, didn’t even have to touch the screen.

        Now let’s do another one. Let’s say you want to see your Girlfriends latest status, the weather, stock market overall value, Nokia’s stock value, your email count, your IM messages, Game Requests, current playing artist and your next upcoming appointment. In Mango it is all there on one screen, you didn’t even have to open a single application.

        It is funny to me that people talk about wasted space but the reality is that so much information is so readily available. It is so hard for me to use IOS, Android and Symbian now. Windows Phone 7’s interface is a beautiful thing

    • ummNo…

      Not time wasting? In many promo screens you see 7 tiles.
      1. Missed phone calls
      2. Contacts
      3. Messages
      4. Emails
      5. Calendar (two tiles width)
      6. Internet Explorer
      7. Xbox Live

      3 out of first four are basically events, missed calls, messages and mails. If there is none in each, huge waste in space. And all these could be combined to one tile. As a quick link they are pretty shitty cos it same could be done pretty fast from contacts. When they show some other information than none, it’s just numbers. Showing numbers is basically same than showing yes/no, it doesn’t really add any meaningful info. There could be as many intresting/important call, message or mail in 1 or 1000 missed. Besides, only thing they add when compared to info lock screen provides is quick link functionality.

      Calendar-tile is pretty ok.

      IE/other app-links are way to big, there could be four in space that one takes if the link doesn’t provide any info so that it really needs it own tile.

      So main screen is big clumsy widgets with fixed size. Compare it to N9 events view where you have only things that are new, no space wasted to tell you that there is no new missed calls, messages or mails.

      Or i could be totally wrong and there is some cool interaction/preview with those tiles. Haven’t really used it enough, only tested it on store. But pics and videos doesn’t show very promising.

      • Hypnopottamus

        Again, this is just MS being minimalist. It doesn’t work for everybody. Your concerns are absolutely valid IMO. You probably wouldn’t like using WP7. Not sure I would either, but I’m willing to give it a chance.

        The main point I’m trying to make,though, is that I think the award is not a bad one. The Metro UI is a totally different approach to mobile UI’s. Love it or hate it (most people here seem to hate it), it is a unique interface.

      • Jesse

        You can lay it out anyway you like, that is the great thing. I actually made my own IE launcher that shows info from my favorite sites and thumbnails since as you said IE doesn’t have any glanceable info by default. Email, I like to keep on top since I don’t want mini toast every time I get an email but I do want quick access if I need to email someone or have a new message.

        IM and Phone I keep the tiles toward the bottom because I will get notifications I can act on in the top bar when I recieve it or dismiss it if I don’t want to deal with it.

        Of couse you can remove these tiles completely if you don’t want them and opening those apps is still very fast using the jump list or voice.

        I tend to change my tiles based on what I am doing as well, for example if I am on a trip to visit someone I will have my friend pinned, as well as a map to where I am going, my playlist I just made and a tile to alert me if there are any changes to my flight etc.

        The things you can do with tiles are up to you and once Mango comes out developers are going to get really crazy with it, or at least I know I am.

  • Nokia,it has been so long since i told you about my latest dream phones.right now i have something like 15 phones designs to be sent to you.i want to give you the Galaxy & ipad successors.i saw the X8 being held.

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  • In reading this I just found out the company i work for was one of the silver winners for research. I thought I recognized those hearing aids – Nice one Starkey labs.

    Also, had a look through the others and worth noting that the Kin One won communications award so yeah, just because it won awards doesn’t make it a good product.

    Having said that I like what i’ve seen of Windows Phone 7.

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