Metro-styled Windows Live web services coming soon, with screenshots

By damaster | Posted April 11, 2012 31 comments

One of the most popular suggestions we’ve heard from our readers on how to improve Windows Live is to overhaul its web service’s user interface, and bring it more in-line with the Metro UI used in Windows Phone, Windows 8 and latest Xbox 360 dashboard update. Well it appears that Microsoft has definitely heard the feedback, and thanks to a tip from LiveSide reader Scott, Brazilian website Tecnoblog.net had discovered what seems to be the next UI for Windows Live web properties, which just came online over the Easter weekend. Check out our exclusive screenshots, in English, below:

Clicking on the arrow in the minimalistic header will bring you a very Metro-styled menu, showing navigation to Hotmail, People, Calendar and SkyDrive:

In fact, we noticed on Microsoft Careers that the company is hiring a new UX Designer to design the “next generation” of Windows Live web services:

The Microsoft Windows User Experience team in Silicon Valley is seeking exceptional interaction designers to make the Windows Live web services, including Hotmail and SkyDrive, more powerful, engaging, and rewarding to use. This is an opportunity to reinvent how people interact with computers, to turn new technology into positive user experiences, and to deliver a product that reaches millions of customers. If you are inspired by these plans, then this is the team for you.

As a UX Designer, you will work alongside some of the world’s most talented product designers, usability specialists, and software developers to build the next generation of the Windows Live web services. You will help set the vision for future experiences, serving as a user advocate to ensure the highest level of usability, desirability and customer satisfaction.

We believe the screenshots above is in its infant stages, and more changes will follow. But this is definitely good sign that Microsoft is bring its Metro-style interface to Windows Live web services like Hotmail and SkyDrive. The UI is also touch-friendly too, meaning that it will work on tablets without having to pinch-and-zoom to find what you’re looking for. How do you like the new UI? Let us know in the comments below.

Posted April 11th, 2012 at 4:48 pm
Category: Featured, News
Tags: UI, Windows Live
  • http://twitter.com/dustbeta Dustin S.

    Will be a welcome change for sure!  I am ready for Metro UI on all Live web properties.

  • http://twitter.com/dustbeta Dustin Schultz

    Will be a welcome change for sure!  I am ready for Metro UI on all Live web properties.

  • efjay

    Metro FTW!

  • http://twitter.com/efjay01 Ef Jay

    Metro FTW!

  • damaster

    By the way the UI is found in build 16.4 (or Wave 5 M4) of Windows Live web services. Meaning it won’t be here in the upcoming M3 update.

    • http://alexsimkin.tumblr.com/ Alex Simkin

      So we’ll hopefully get it in a few months then?

  • Damaster – LiveSide.net

    By the way the UI is found in build 16.4 (or Wave 5 M4) of Windows Live web services. Meaning it won’t be here in the upcoming M3 update.

    • http://doctorwhofan98.wordpress.com/ doctorwhofan98

      So we’ll hopefully get it in a few months then?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002972757466 Owais Siddiqui

    Well it definitely seems like they have listen to a lot people. Hotmail will look good now.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002972757466 Owais Siddiqui

    Well it definitely seems like they have listen to a lot people. Hotmail will look good now.

  • http://olivermills6.wordpress.com/ Oliver

    Microsoft are making such huge changes to their design, and it looks amazing. I’m really glad they’re making this change too and I hope it helps WP7 sales, because WP7 is brilliant and people don’t realise it because they haven’t tried it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1636062896 Oliver Mills

    Microsoft are making such huge changes to their design, and it looks amazing. I’m really glad they’re making this change too and I hope it helps WP7 sales, because WP7 is brilliant and people don’t realise it because they haven’t tried it.

  • FremyCompany

    Nice. That means the update will come roughly at the same time Microsoft will release Windows 8, which makes sense entirely.

  • FremyCompany

    Nice. That means the update will come roughly at the same time Microsoft will release Windows 8, which makes sense entirely.

  • http://gcoupe.wordpress.com/ Geoff Coupe

    As far as I’m concerned, this is just putting lipstick on a pig if Microsoft doesn’t also provide the long-asked for capability of being able to change our country of residence in the service account. Until that capability is there, Microsoft is continuing to break EU Directives on Data Protection. See http://www.itisourdata.com

    • damaster

      FYI you can easily change your country or region for your Windows Live ID at http://accounts.live.com

      I believe what you’re talking about is not being able to change the country for the Zune/Xbox LIVE account associated with a particular Windows Live ID. While the country cannot be changed, you are able to create a new Zune/Xbox LIVE account and then switch the Zune/Xbox LIVE account’s association with a another Windows Live ID (unfortunately, the process might take as long as 30 days). See instructions here: http://support.xbox.com/en-US/billing-and-subscriptions/account-management/manage-live-id#3901f0a63ab44888b69161e6249ea23f

      • http://gcoupe.wordpress.com/ Geoff Coupe

        Nope – no good.

        Two points: The country or region for my Windows Live ID is NOT the same as the country or region for the service account used by Zune/Xbox Live/Windows phone.

        Second, I don’t have an Xbox, so I can’t use this trick to change my country/region in the service account.

        • pmdci

          PLUS, the fact that even if you create a new ZUNE/XBOX LIVE account and associate it to your Windows Live ID, you are losing all the license rights you previously associated to the previous ZUNE/XBOX LIVE account.

          • damaster

            That is true. But that is also the main reason the country for Zune/Xbox LIVE accounts cannot be changed. Particularly for Zune Music Pass, Microsoft probably has licensing rights with the publishers for a particular geographic region only, hence the country restriction.

            I understand this is not ideal for users (i.e. if I bought a song I should be able take it to whatever country I want), but Microsoft do have to comply with whatever deal they had with the publishers.

            What Microsoft could to is to follow suit what Apple ID does – allow users to easily change their country, but once changed all purchases made from the previous country will be disabled (and the fact that you need to use the credit card of the corresponding country.

          • http://gcoupe.wordpress.com/ Geoff Coupe

            Yes, this licensing restriction is what lies behind the issue, but, let’s face it, Microsoft has made a pretty poor design of the infrastructure.

            What they could have done is to have a design with three levels of ascending capability (from the ItIsOurData web site):

            1) The minimum: the capability to delete a service account and start afresh.Users would lose their current Xbox Live and Zune profiles, game achievements and content, but at least their service account would now contain accurate data. Other data connected to their Windows Live ID would also remain intact, such as their Contacts, Calendars and emails

            2) The second level: the ability to transfer users’ Xbox Live/Zune profile, friends and game achievements to the new account.

            3) The third level: the ability to transfer some licensed content to the new account, in addition to the user’s profile, friends and game achievements.

            Certainly this third level depends on agreements between Microsoft and third party licensers, but as a minimum, we should surely be able to expect Microsoft to be able to transfer licensed content for which they are themselves the owners (e.g. certain Xbox Live games).

            Microsoft has delivered this third level solution, albeit for a limited number of countries and for a limited time. The point is, it can be done.

            Instead, Microsoft currently delivers none of the above. And for them to use the excuse of “licensing restrictions” to do absolutely nothing is a pretty poor show.

          • http://twitter.com/ItIsOurData It Is Our Data

            Damaster,

            I appreciate your comments, and the premise that this might be a licensing right imposed at Microsoft. However, we are about challenging the status quo.

            Supposed that you lived in the UK for 10 years, where you bought DVDs, books, CDs, and sorts of media. Now you are moving to Spain. There are no legal impediments for you to import all your goods to Spain. This is based on the principle of freedom of movement within the European Union.

            Now: Why should the digital media challenge these fundamental principles?

            Another point is that even if Microsoft claim that “others are forcing them to apply such measures”, what about their own content? This “victim” stance is flawed.

            Also, there is the Data Protection regulations of the EU. Microsoft MUST allow the change of personal details, which is our fundamental right as EU citizens.

            And finally, the VERY LEAST they could do is to implement a system similar to Apple’s and also allowing users to use more than one account in a seamless way, in their Windows Phones, Windows 8 devices (etc) so as to allow them to easily access the content that they have RIGHTEOUSLY acquired.


            http://www.itisourdata.com

  • http://gcoupe.wordpress.com/ Geoff Coupe

    As far as I’m concerned, this is just putting lipstick on a pig if Microsoft doesn’t also provide the long-asked for capability of being able to change our country of residence in the service account. Until that capability is there, Microsoft is continuing to break EU Directives on Data Protection. See http://www.itisourdata.com

    • Damaster – LiveSide.net

      FYI you can easily change your country or region for your Windows Live ID at http://accounts.live.com

      I believe what you’re talking about is not being able to change the country for the Zune/Xbox LIVE account associated with a particular Windows Live ID. While the country cannot be changed, you are able to create a new Zune/Xbox LIVE account and then switch the Zune/Xbox LIVE account’s association with a another Windows Live ID (unfortunately, the process might take as long as 30 days). See instructions here: http://support.xbox.com/en-US/billing-and-subscriptions/account-management/manage-live-id#3901f0a63ab44888b69161e6249ea23f

      • http://gcoupe.wordpress.com/ Geoff Coupe

        Nope – no good.

        Two points: The country or region for my Windows Live ID is NOT the same as the country or region for the service account used by Zune/Xbox Live/Windows phone.

        Second, I don’t have an Xbox, so I can’t use this trick to change my country/region in the service account.

        • http://www.pedroinnecco.com pmdci

          PLUS, the fact that even if you create a new ZUNE/XBOX LIVE account and associate it to your Windows Live ID, you are losing all the license rights you previously associated to the previous ZUNE/XBOX LIVE account.

          • Damaster – LiveSide.net

            That is true. But that is also the main reason the country for Zune/Xbox LIVE accounts cannot be changed. Particularly for Zune Music Pass, Microsoft probably has licensing rights with the publishers for a particular geographic region only, hence the country restriction.

            I understand this is not ideal for users (i.e. if I bought a song I should be able take it to whatever country I want), but Microsoft do have to comply with whatever deal they had with the publishers.

            What Microsoft could to is to follow suit what Apple ID does – allow users to easily change their country, but once changed all purchases made from the previous country will be disabled (and the fact that you need to use the credit card of the corresponding country.

          • http://gcoupe.wordpress.com/ Geoff Coupe

            Yes, this licensing restriction is what lies behind the issue, but, let’s face it, Microsoft has made a pretty poor design of the infrastructure.

            What they could have done is to have a design with three levels of ascending capability (from the ItIsOurData web site):

            1) The minimum: the capability to delete a service account and start afresh.Users would lose their current Xbox Live and Zune profiles, game achievements and content, but at least their service account would now contain accurate data. Other data connected to their Windows Live ID would also remain intact, such as their Contacts, Calendars and emails

            2) The second level: the ability to transfer users’ Xbox Live/Zune profile, friends and game achievements to the new account.

            3) The third level: the ability to transfer some licensed content to the new account, in addition to the user’s profile, friends and game achievements.

            Certainly this third level depends on agreements between Microsoft and third party licensers, but as a minimum, we should surely be able to expect Microsoft to be able to transfer licensed content for which they are themselves the owners (e.g. certain Xbox Live games).

            Microsoft has delivered this third level solution, albeit for a limited number of countries and for a limited time. The point is, it can be done.

            Instead, Microsoft currently delivers none of the above. And for them to use the excuse of “licensing restrictions” to do absolutely nothing is a pretty poor show.

          • http://twitter.com/ItIsOurData It Is Our Data

            Damaster,

            I appreciate your comments, and the premise that this might be a licensing right imposed at Microsoft. However, we are about challenging the status quo.

            Supposed that you lived in the UK for 10 years, where you bought DVDs, books, CDs, and sorts of media. Now you are moving to Spain. There are no legal impediments for you to import all your goods to Spain. This is based on the principle of freedom of movement within the European Union.

            Now: Why should the digital media challenge these fundamental principles?

            Another point is that even if Microsoft claim that “others are forcing them to apply such measures”, what about their own content? This “victim” stance is flawed.

            Also, there is the Data Protection regulations of the EU. Microsoft MUST allow the change of personal details, which is our fundamental right as EU citizens.

            And finally, the VERY LEAST they could do is to implement a system similar to Apple’s and also allowing users to use more than one account in a seamless way, in their Windows Phones, Windows 8 devices (etc) so as to allow them to easily access the content that they have RIGHTEOUSLY acquired.


            http://www.itisourdata.com

          • http://twitter.com/ItIsOurData It Is Our Data

            Damaster,

            I appreciate your comments, and the premise that this might be a licensing right imposed at Microsoft. However, we are about challenging the status quo.

            Supposed that you lived in the UK for 10 years, where you bought DVDs, books, CDs, and sorts of media. Now you are moving to Spain. There are no legal impediments for you to import all your goods to Spain. This is based on the principle of freedom of movement within the European Union.

            Now: Why should the digital media challenge these fundamental principles?

            Another point is that even if Microsoft claim that “others are forcing them to apply such measures”, what about their own content? This “victim” stance is flawed.

            Also, there is the Data Protection regulations of the EU. Microsoft MUST allow the change of personal details, which is our fundamental right as EU citizens.

            And finally, the VERY LEAST they could do is to implement a system similar to Apple’s and also allowing users to use more than one account in a seamless way, in their Windows Phones, Windows 8 devices (etc) so as to allow them to easily access the content that they have RIGHTEOUSLY acquired.


            http://www.itisourdata.com

  • cmwind

    can’t come soon enough

  • cmwind

    can’t come soon enough