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

About the Author ()

Hey, my name's Ali- Currently a fifth (and final) year Dental Student from Chicago; studying in Jordan. I love all sorts of gadgets almost as much as I love my cookies! Be sure to follow my Twitter handle @AliQudsi and Subcribe to my Youtube for the latest videos - no pressure. Thanks.
  • Good 🙂

  • Rat Kutti

    I read this as “When asked about the changes to the camera UI in WP8, surprisingly the answer was that it was influenced by Nokia”

    Nokia: Bitch please, concentrate on the Imagine part too, we’re Nokia! We have a history which is legendary in the Imagine field.

    Microsoft: Point taken and will be implemented.

    • Lol

    • Thomas F

      Wp 7 and 8 is a failure FUBAR…..

  • viipottaja

    Wow, your title is longer than mine! 😛

  • nando

    Lol who takes Nokia serious like really
    U dumb people who bought the flopia series u were beta testers , that what u get when u sell your soul

    • efekt

      LOL trolls such as yourself are just wasting traffic on the internet… How about you go away and never come back?

      • nando

        You can’t handle the truth Nokia screwed you people
        now go sit in a corner u lil bitch

        • Mark

          Why should we take you, seriously? You can’t even construct a sentence properly!

          LOL! I bet you disappoint everyone from your teachers to your parents, kid. You’re no use to anyone so just GTFO please. 🙂

          • Jiipee

            At least ne wasnt arrogant as used to be one of the major reasons for Nokia’s failure

            • jpg20

              Why does Nokia have fans?

              Nokia was arrogant, they manufactured underpowered phones, they rarely delivered on time, UI was catching up for years and they were unecological because of flooding the market with phones.

        • efekt

          The truth is that you’re a moron, and it appears that I can handle it quite well.
          Now please stop breathing, troll…

        • correct

          How much is Scroogle and Sumdung paying you to post this drivel?

  • nabkawe

    Basically, it was a BETA TEST … 🙂 Bad advertising … 🙂

    • Desa

      Basically, iPhone 1.0 was ALFA TEST… Bad advertising…

  • GordonH

    WP7 Beta Test means Dumb Nokia executives.

  • StefanP

    WP8 still feels like a test. Without Nokia it would fail. With the Lumias supporting it and frequent improvements there is some potential.

  • Mark

    If by ‘Beta Test’ you mean ‘was still better than Symbian and Android and on a par with iOS in my opinion’ then yeah, I guess it was.

    I’m happy with the year’s service I got out of my 800. No need to hate, kids!

    • nando

      Shut your faggot ass up Mark your just a plain hater

      • Mark

        It’s “you’re”.

        You really are a complete failure, aren’t you? 🙂

        • Hypnopottamus

          LOL. Let it go, friend. There’s just too much rage coming from that one to waste your time on. Enjoy your Lumia and just sit back and watch all the haters self destruct before your eyes.

          • Mark

            But it’s funny!

            Oh well, it is Xmas I suppose. 🙂

        • BS

          Not the only “plain hater” to find observing all these comments here. i see active trolls in this section too..

      • BS

        Not the only “plain hater” to find observing all these comments here. i see active trolls in this section too..

        • BS

          Ignore it, that was for Nando.

  • Noki

    as they said beta test is over :). they failed to say which users were the beta testers…

  • pathetic

    sounds like the story of meego do you remember ? Only here the software is not finished (wp) , however meego was already finished, this confirms that Elop is a trojan horse, rather the antichrist of nokia . Fuc-k you Elop , Nokia also for being a bunch of assh-oles

    • Mark

      Did anyone understand that?

      Nope. Didn’t think so.

    • Hypnopottamus

      There isn’t a single OS out there that is “finished.” Development continues (as it should with ALL OS’s). You are delusional to think that Meego was totally finished and needed no further work.

      • N9

        You are aware that those arguments were used to defend Meego in the beginning. To be told that only wp was ready for main public consumption. So maybe they were lying…

        • Hypnopottamus

          Yeah. So? Read what I said again. Particularly the part where I said “There isn’t a single OS out there that is ‘finished’.” There are other reason (correct or not) that WP was chosen as Nokia’s OS of choice. Deal with it.

  • rothx

    so, the camera U.I on WP8 is already influenced by Nokia ?

    cant it be much like 808’s camera U.I ?

  • JGrove303

    WP8 OS awesome. The things I thought I’d miss from S^3, hardware things, I don’t. Expand video codecs and add a file browser and there really would be nothing of real major missing and isn’t already in the works. Its up to developers to build it up, but us to buy it up to expand.

  • Michael J.

    Please give us FM radio back in the next WP8 update!

  • Patata

    “(Is this part of Nokia’s special relationship with Microsoft? Forcing some small but important OS wide changes?)”

    Sounds more like something any oem could do, suggesting changes here and there. It’s up to MS if or how they do ot. HTC and Samsung just didn’t care enough about the camera to ask for something like that.

  • GordonH

    Nokia influences WP camera features.
    Microsoft influences all of Nokia.

    • StefanP

      Nice camera, OK. But here it ends. The gallery/camera roll as vital tool for the camera lacks basic features. I can not even see the date / time or file name of my photos! Let alone view or edit descriptive tags. All this easily possible on my N9. WP8 is for me a list missing features which have been natural on previous Nokia devices. It’s simply Microsoft more than anything else. Nokia can not save the outcome of this, just swallow the SW.

      • viktor von d.

        nah. i think they have been working on the undelying platform until the last moment. i’m expecting more features in the camera in the next updates to bring the full nokia expericence. for nokia devices at least. and we will probably see that when they will launch the full pureview phone. all the goodies from nokia on the new os

  • viktor von d.

    Why is this a surprise. at the wp summit in june, the short dude with the long hair said nokia worked with the in the camera department. i bet the lenses feature is all from nokia.

    but shitty on their part to push wp7 if they knew it’s now the whole package. they should have just made another generation of wm 6.5 handsets and then release the full wp experience with all the features. the only reason i can imagine for this shit is that they wanted to build the app ecosystem for the wp platform. but still shitty move.

    and for nokia aswell. they knew from the start wp7 won’t be upgradable to wp8. they could at least had smaller prices for the handsets, or do something else i don’t know…to take some of the bitterness away.

    now they don’t have any more excuses imo. they changed the kernel, they said they worked till the last minute on wp8. now i want to see updates with all the features they didn’t want to implement, to fix all the damn bugs that people are experiencing, and even to allow nokia more control of the os. cause i don’t see those sales picking up with the way things have been done until now.


  • sr.d

    Nokia if you can change wp, add landscape view and true multitasking and i will go back to you. Make wp goes closer to windows 8 rt.

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