A designer from the Verge has produced his own version of what Windows 8 should look like here.
The comments keep saying that this is a beautiful UI and Microsoft should hire this person, but in reality, he hasn’t done a very impressive job at all. To start, the new design has way too much padding and unused space. There is a great opportunity to see more information and content, but there is a ridiculous amount of horizontal spacing between the navigation and the border. This is especially ironic since there is absolutely no margin to the left or right in many of the screenshots. Secondly, this design fails to take into account many basic usability concerns. It is unclear where the file menu is located and where desktop icons should live. It is hard to distinguish where the navigation tools end and where the next area of content begins. Additionally, many of the icons are not intuitive so users will be lost, clicking around trying to figure out what each of them mean. Third, this design does not have proper grid alignment. Areas are not split out in half, in thirds, in a golden ratio, or any other proportion. As best as I can tell, he just chose arbitrary markers down the screen and decided to split his content in that manner. At least it seems like he used a grid, and stayed consistent within those boundaries. Lastly, this design is poor because the design elements are inconsistent. Different text sizes are used without any real reason; they don’t provide context or hierarchy. Different types of icons are used, some with outlines shapes, others without. He’s using a different color palette (white, gray, red-orange) than what Microsoft currently uses for Windows (blue, green, yellow). To be fair, his design is not horrible. However, it just doesn’t live up to what the comments are making it out to be.
In the end, the fact that some random guy can produce something that is so well received is just a sign of how far Microsoft is behind their competition. It’s not that this redesigned UI is great, it’s that Microsoft’s current UI stinks.