Windows 10 Mobile will be released in the next months (probably December) and the design of the new OS is quite different compared to the one of Windows Phone 8.1. For me these changes in the design are quite interesting so I want to show the differences in this article and talk about the new design compared to the old one. I want to start with the changes in the design which have been made to the OS itself so not to any apps.
Start Screen & App List
I really love Windows Phone for its Start Screen because you can just look on it and you get all important information without opening any app. The Start Screen makes up Windows Phone and it is very personal. You can see the interests and also the important things for a person by just looking on the Windows Phone Start Screen of his or her phone.
With every new Windows Phone version the Start Screen has got new features like the possibility to resize the tiles, show more tiles etc. With Windows 10 Mobile there are some new options again. The Start Screen becomes even more personal with full screen background images. This means that you can now choose between 3 design options for the Start Screen. You can use a color or a picture for the tiles or even a full screen background image. Furthermore there is not so much space between the tiles anymore.
I prefer the full screen background because then also the app list is affected by the new Start Screen design. You can now see your background image in the app list too. I am so pleasant that you can see it now also there because in my opinion the design of the app list in Windows Phone 8.1 was very boring.
I think I don’t have to say a lot about the settings in Windows Phone 8.1. It was just terrible! The Windows 10 Mobile Settings are way better and much more user-friendly. They are sorted and the breakdown into useful categories makes sense. I love the new settings and I have the hope that I will not get messages like “Where can I find this in the settings?” anymore after the Windows 10 Mobile release.
The design of the Action Center in Windows 10 Mobile doesn’t show big differences compared to Windows Phone 8.1 but it includes some new features. Now there are not only 4 or 5 quick settings shown in the Action Center. With one swipe you can open the Action Center, with a second one more quick settings. They are also available with a press on “expand”.
The changes were a good idea but for me the Action Center is still too useless. Yes, I can see all my notifications and yes I can set some quick settings but I miss features like answering notifications (not only incoming text messages). Also I would like to see which music I’m listening to and other information.
Multitasking on Windows Phones was for a long time a feature which was there but important things were missing. Since Windows Phone 8.1 it is possible to close apps in the app switcher – finally! With Windows 10 Mobile switching between apps gets better but only for devices with bigger screens. Smaller displays will show the familiar Windows Phone 8.1 app switcher but with an updated design. Furthermore the app switcher in Windows 10 Mobile works also in the landscape mode.
Before I go on presenting the design changes in apps I want to summarize the changes in the design of Windows 10 Mobile compared to Windows Phone 8.1. Microsoft has done some necessarily changes but they haven’t reinvented anything. This doesn’t mean that Windows 10 Mobile is not a big step forward. It is the biggest change in the design language of Windows Phone and I really like the new Windows 10 Mobile design. It looks tidier and in general nobler than the one of previous Windows Phone versions. Furthermore I noticed that many of the lines have become much thinner in the Windows 10 Mobile design language.
I was never unhappy with Windows Phone 8.1 but now when I use Windows Phone 8.1 it feels a bit outmoded.
After this summary of Windows 10 Mobile itself I want to go on with some apps.
Cortana is a great example of the new Windows 10 Mobile design language. The interface of Cortana is very modern and clear.
In comparison to Windows Phone 8.1 it is not totally different but when I had a choice between these two designs I would choose the Windows 10 Mobile Cortana. One main reasons for this is that the grey color on the top and on the bottom of Cortana looks so gorgeous! It matches perfectly with the white color in the app.
Phone App and Dialer
The phone app in Windows 10 Mobile follows the same design language as Cortana. It is flat and modern designed. Furthermore it includes the nice greyish color which I really like.
With Windows 10 Mobile Microsoft replaces the Internet Explorer on phones too. The new browser has the name Microsoft Edge and should make the browsing experience way better. When you just compare the design of the Internet Explorer with the design of Microsoft Edge then you will see that there are not so many differences.
As you can see the design of the icons has been changed but most of the icons are at the same position as in Windows Phone 8.1. When you were testing preview builds of Windows 10 Mobile since the beginning of the Windows Insider Program you might remember that meanwhile the address bar of the browser was at the top of screen like it is on Android or iOS. You don’t know how happy I am that it was moved back to the bottom! It makes the phone so much easier to use when you don’t have to move you fingers to the top of the display.
The page of the browser were the open tabs appears shows again the difference between the Windows Phone 8.1 design and the Windows 10 Mobile design. I must say when I just compare these two screenshots Windows Phone 8.1 doesn’t look good.
Now I have presented you many examples of the design language in Windows Phone 8.1 compared to the one in Windows 10 Mobile. You can see that the design of the Windows 10 Mobile apps which are integrated into the OS is very similar to the design of the OS itself. In my point of view it is good when there is continuity with regard to the design. This continuity was there in Windows Phone 8.1 and it is still there in Windows 10 Mobile but in Windows Phone 8.1 it was better achieved. In Windows 10 Mobile there are some apps where the design doesn’t make sense. For example in the phone app there are controls on the top and on the bottom of the screen. It would prefer to have all controls on the top or on the bottom especially when there is still some free space at both places.
This shouldn’t mean that I don’t like the Windows 10 Mobile apps. They are great with their new features, there new design etc.. I don’t want to go back to Windows Phone 8.1 because I like the design of Windows 10 Mobile too much.
To describe the new design I would say that it looks tidier and nobler. Furthermore I noticed that in general the design of the OS is flatter and the lines are thinner. The design is modern especially with its nice grey color.
What are your opinions on the Windows 10 Mobile design? Do you like it? Share your opinions in the comments!