Interview With Head of WP Design: WP7 was a “first test”, Expect More Frequent Updates for WP8, Nokia influenced WP8’s New Camera Interface & More

| December 24, 2012 | 41 Replies

The folks at had a chance to interview Eugene Gavrilov; the current head designer for Windows Phone who joined the team about 5 years ago when Windows Mobile 6.5 was rebooted into Windows Phone 7. After a couple small talk questions they got straight to the point asking about the design process of the WP start screen, as well as why it took so long to get re-sizable full screen tiles. The honest answer was that What you see in Windows Phone 8 (in terms of home screens) was planned for the original version of WP (7.X) at launch; but it took too long to implement.

(Note quotes are translated from Russian so don’t expect them to make too much sense).

The main reason for changing the home screen design in new versions of Windows Phone is in the fact that it was originally conceived, and so for Windows Phone 7, but not corny enough time to implement all our plans in the first versions.

Honestly, Windows Phone 7 was the first test. The idea to allow the user to resize tiles vital to our team from the beginning, but in the first release of the operating system it was difficult to implement. Do not forget that the device screen sizes have increased. Earlier diagonal screens ranged from 3.5 to 4.7, and now he is growing up. It is therefore necessary to allow users to change the size of the tiles to use space on the home screen more effectively. Also, ask about it and its users.

Simply speaking, initially it was all planned, but not implemented, has not worked through. The process of creating the OS – it is a long and very difficult process. At a time when releasing a new release, usually already done half of the next release. Our team is always working to stay ahead, because the developers need a lot of time to implement the functionality. This is why designers have to work at least six months and sometimes a year in advance. The basic concepts are made much earlier how programmers get to work. The development cycle is constructed as follows: immediately after the release of starting to write code for the new release, but at this point, you must have already approved layouts.And so it turns out that we have to live in the future;-)

Eugene also called Windows Phone 7 “the first test”, once again stating that it takes a while to implement these ideas; and with the introduction of larger screen sizes and resolutions later on it became important to provide full screen re sizable tiles. 

When asked about the changes to the camera UI in WP8, surprisingly the answer was that it was influenced by Nokia; where they insisted to “focus on the camera” whereas in WP7 which was only supported by Samsung and HTC at first nobody really cared to focus on it. (Is this part of Nokia’s special relationship with Microsoft? Forcing some small but important OS wide changes?)

Windows Phone 7 was created with the active cooperation with HTC and Samsung. But later in the army for Windows smartphone manufacturers joined Nokia. By this time we were already working on Windows Phone 8. And that Nokia wanted to focus on the camera. Microsoft at all desire can not put strict conditions, it only dictates: “We are giving you a system that you do not change.” But, as I said, the manufacturer, in turn, asked if it wishes to consider. So we vypustupaem mediate between all producers and users.

Regarding Metro design language Eugene stated that he believe it SHOULDN’T be set in stone; meaning depending on the type of app (Children oriented apps/Adult oriented apps)

I think that this is normal. If people understand what they are doing. For example, the conference Design Camp, which was held in Moscow, I asked the question: “We are making an application in the metro-style for children 3-5 years old. Help us do it! “. The question is, why do you do this application in Metro-style? If you are making an application for kids, you want it to be colorful, dynamic, bright. Why should a child show application that does not cause him any emotions and associations with objects from life? You have to understand where the design language Windows 8 UI can bring the maximum benefit. Adult content user needs, and the child need a bright application that would be colorful, beautiful, flashing. Need to focus on a task force to create underground application or site. Metro – this is not a universal language, it will not work in areas where you need something colorful. But it works well in areas where you need to focus people’s attention on the content.

Regarding the changes to WP8 and what it means in terms of support and updates, Eugene mentioned that users should now expect more frequent over the air update in smaller size, due t being able to simply add files to the system without having to re-write anything. This also means that such updates won’t be available to WP7.X due to the lack of shared core (nothing new here)

Updates on devices with Windows Phone 8 will appear more often because now “small” OS updates as well as most operating systems. During the upgrade, the system does not correspond completely, and simply add the files, which allows us to send out updates over the air now and update your phone without connecting it to a computer. Unfortunately, the change of the core axis means that the 7.x branch is in fact blind. Maybe, Windows Phone 7.8 – this is the last major upgrade. But we can not say with 100% chance that it will. It all depends on the behavior of markets. Now start selling phones with Windows Phone 7.8 in India, China, Russia and other countries. If we find that the activity of smartphone users is quite high, the Windows Phone 7.x branch will continue to develop.

Read the full interview over here:






Category: Lumia, Nokia, Windows Phone

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