Evolution of UX in Microsoft Stack

By Soni Arora posted 01-04-2013 01:52


Touch interface is changing the way we interact with computing devices. Touch brought a revolutionary change in mobile industry with smart phones and tablets. Now this technology is moving from Smart phones to desktop software. Using touch screen in place of keyboards & mouse, makes computing more easy & user-friendly. Microsoft has come up with Windows 8 as a new OS that will change the way we interact with the desktop/laptop application.

With the evolution of new changes in every field, Microsoft has come up with many new releases having advanced features & UX. One of the major changes is its look and feel on account of the incorporation of Metro UI.

Let’s have a look on some new releases of Microsoft and how UX has evolved.

SharePoint 2013

SharePoint 2013 has emerged with lots of new features as compared to previous versions. The look & feel is user friendly & attractive. This is all because of Metro UI style.

A key design principle of Metro UI is better focus on following:

  • Content of application, is more on typography and less on graphics.
  • The user interface language is text based and uses design principles of classic Swiss graphic design.
  • It excludes superfluous graphics and window chrome and allows actual content to take center stage.
  • Uses large titles and pages with lateral scrolling which gives clean & sleek user interface.

SharePoint 2013 has new add-ons in respect to designing master pages & layout pages. Earlier we only use SharePoint Designer Tool to create master pages & for branding of website. But now we can use Design Manager Tool in SharePoint 2013. This tool gives users a new and easy way to brand SharePoint. It helps in creating the master page from simple HTML, CSS files. The SharePoint designers only need to create these designs on an HTML editor or Notepad and the tool convert that into a functioning master page.

SharePoint 2013 in itself has a very clean & interactive UI. The Metro UI style & other designing tools make the portal more interactive and attractive.

Windows 8

Windows 8 is the current release of the Windows operating system, by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, tablets, and home PCs.

Windows 8 introduces significant changes to the operating system's platform, primarily focused towards improving its user experience on mobile devices such as tablets to other rival mobile operating systems like Android and iOS.

New features and functionality in Windows 8 include the following:

  • Faster startup through UEFI integration. (UEFI means Unified Extensible Firmware Interface. It is a specification that defines a software interface between an operating system and platform firmware.)
  • The new "Hybrid Boot" mode also helps in faster startup. It hibernate the Windows kernel on shutdown to hurry the subsequent boot mode.
  • A new lock screen with a clock and notifications
  • The ability for enterprise users to create live USB versions of Windows.
  • Windows 8 also adds native support for USB 3.0 devices,which permit for faster data transfers and improved power management with compatible devices.

Windows 8 uses a new user interface based on Microsoft's Metro design language. It features a new tile-based Start screen similar to that of Windows Phone, which has replaced the previous Start entirely. The Start screen displays a customizable array of tiles linking to various apps and desktop programs, some of which can display constantly updated information and content through "live tiles". We can place the most liked application on the screen.

Microsoft Embracing Tablets

Microsoft has come up with new version of computing, the launch of surface tablet. Surface is something between a tablet and a laptop.

A war is raging in the tablet industry. With Google‘s  Nexus 7 selling out at the Google Play store and Microsoft to release its Surface tablets, Apple is now facing pressure in an industry it has dominated for years. 

The biggest hardware breakthrough of Microsoft’s release is the included touch cover keyboard built into its case, helping to bridge the user operability gap between the tablet and laptop.

The Windows 8/RT operating system is more geared to enterprise/work applications with its Microsoft Office support and built-in keyboard but lacks the vast and developed app market that Apple and Google boasts making it less appealing to the casual tablet user.

Evolution of Web

Web 3.0 is the future trend moving away from web 2.0 and HTML5 will be the way forward. The emergence of web 3.0 may offer insight to artificial intelligence, virtual consoles and interfaces, and an overall revolution in the way we receive information dynamically. So the trends in web will be around web 3.0 and HTML5.

The web is entering a new phase of evolution. Web 2.0 in vogue currently focuses on several major themes, including AJAX, social networking, lightweight collaboration, social bookmarking, and media sharing.

Web 3.0 is a semantic web; semantic meaning data driven. The data will come from the user and the web will essentially adjust to meet the needs of the user. A huge benefit of Web 3.0 is the move towards being able to access data from anywhere. This is mainly being driven by the heavy usage of smart phones and cloud applications.

In web 2.0 we had to create design that was great for the web. But in web 3.0, we will firstly have to create design that is going to be good not just for the web and the web browser, but for all sorts of media.

The change in Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 is about how the internet is used, not really how it’s seen.

Web 3.0 will be more connected, open, and intelligent, with semantic Web technologies, distributed databases, natural language processing, machine learning, machine reasoning, and autonomous agents.

Web 3.0 will provide people more intelligent information at lightning speed paces allowing them to make the best decisions. It will also allowus to communicate in a variety of different capacities from virtual reality worlds to live streaming video and audio.


HTML5 is the latest evolution of the standard that defines HTML. HTML5 is a great technology for mobile apps offering web storage, online support, Geo Location API, Advance forms, 2D animations, canvas drawing and many more. Semantics, connectivity, 3D & Graphics, CSS3, Multimedia, device access are some of striking key features of HTML5.

The HTML5 combines the technology of HTML + CSS + JS, offering the competency to develop the next level web applications.

The biggest addition to HTML5 is its ability to handle audio and video.  Now there is no need to use Flash video player or Java-based video plug-in to handle audios and videos.

Some of the new elements added to HTML5 includes <article> tags for handling self-contained text areas, <header> and <footer> tags for the opening and closing of pages structure, and a <nav> tag for navigation. Moreover now we can have rounded corners with the help of CSS3.

Future of Silverlight

Silverlight was an amazing programming environment and a real web application platform. However, in the current scenario everyone wants a plugin-free web. So to make plugin-free web we will use HTML5.

HTML just works for almost everything. Google Chrome renders PDFs not with a heavyweight plug-in from Adobe, but with just HTML. YouTube can render videos without crash, with HTML 5 <video> tags.

Microsoft’s own Windows Phone 7 doesn’t display Web Silverlight content on their phones. If anyone was going to support Web Silverlight on a mobile platform, it was Microsoft. And when they built this new mobile OS from the ground up, they wisely chose to not support Web Silverlight.

So in future Silverlight will be replaced by HTML5 to a great extend.

Microsoft uses Silverlight, active x, flash etc for development but its competitor Apple & Google uses HTML5, css & Javascript for development.


The advancement in every technology brought a revolutionary change in today’s scenario. Metro UI is making the design in SharePoint 2013 and Window 8 more interactive for users. Further there is evolution in terms of cloud computing. SharePoint 2013 has come up with Cloud App model that enables the user to create apps.

The touch & keyboard feature of Microsoft Surface Tablet makes it perfect to be used as tablet and PC. The future of Windows 8 and cloud computing is too exciting. There are three different types of clouds that one can use on Windows 8: File clouds, Device clouds and Application clouds. The future of this OS shines bright.

The Web 3.0 & HTML5 will be the future of the web technology. It will bring revolutionary change for designers & end users.

#Collaboration #HTML5 #Windows8 #sharepoint2013 #SharePoint #Web3.0 #Tablets