Select Page
Exploring Modern App Design and User Experience – Introduction

Exploring Modern App Design and User Experience – Introduction

Soon we’ll be starting a new blog series of exploration articles digging into the exciting world of Microsoft’s Modern Design Language and User Experiences guidelines that has been defined for Windows 8 applications and then encourage you to break those guidelines to provide your users with a unique and beautiful experience.

Throughout this series we will talking about the numerous controls available within Windows 8 applications, we’ll talk about how, where and why these controls are used, and explore the experiences around those controls. We’ll also show some real-world examples of how application designers are using these controls today within their applications.

Every article will be focused on a very specific part of Windows 8, this will allow our users to gain a solid understanding of how each feature within Windows 8 works from a “tutorial” or “average user” type of experience while still providing some of the more technical and creative information that designers and developers may find beneficial.

The end goal is for anyone who is interested in designing Modern applications to gain an in-depth, start to finish set of tutorials to help you provide your users with a useful, creative and interactive experience as they use your Windows 8 applications.

Here are some of the topics we’ll be covering in the coming months:

  • Overview of the Modern Design Language
  • Microsoft’s Five Design Principles
  • Start Screen
  • Charms Bar
  • Live Tiles
  • Hub Pages, Detail Pages
  • App Bar
  • Flyouts
  • Semantic Zoom
  • Listview, Gridview, Variable Sized Grid
  • Typography
  • Search
  • Animations/Transitions
  • Grids
  • Navigation
  • And so much more…

We are open to your suggestions as well, if there is something specific you’d like us to dig into, feel free to let us know and we’ll do our best to fit it in.

Be sure to check back often to keep up with this exciting new series, we hope you will learn something new and are able to take your application design and experiences to the next level!

Design for Touch First, Not Mobile

Design for Touch First, Not Mobile

Throughout 2013 we kept on hearing about how we should be designing and developing for Mobile first – everyone is mobile they say. Designing for mobile though sets you up for issues down the road as you expand to desktops, laptops and tablets.

We should all be designing for Touch first, not mobile first. Touch is the one form of interaction that now spans across all the devices we use everyday, touch is the future not being mobile.

Our phones are touch, our tablets are touch, kiosks are touch and now with Windows 8 on laptops and desktops – every device is now touch friendly. If you want to have a consistent, powerful experience across all your devices, then you should be focusing on designing for touch first.

As laptops and desktops with touch displays continue to be the new norm, people will expect the applications they use to be touch friendly. In the past week alone I have heard several people talk about how they keep trying to touch their old non-touch laptops now that they have been using Windows 8 on tablets. My laptop screen has numerous fingerprints on the screen from me trying to tap a button or swipe across the screen – not having touch on my old computers is surprisingly quite frustrating. I cannot wait to upgrade all my hardware to new touch-based devices.

Many people seem to think that having a touch interface is slower, will cause you fatigue by holding your arm up all day as you touch the screen or that it simply gets in the way. Touch isn’t meant to replace your mouse and keyboard, touch is there to compliment them – especially on your laptop or desktop. It’s much faster to tap a button quick with your finger than it is to try and move your mouse over the button and click. If your buttons are too small, touching becomes much more difficult and tedious – that’s why you need to design for touch first.

When you design for touch, you are inherently designing for mobile – the opposite however is not true.

People constantly say that Microsoft is no longer innovative and never does anything interesting. I think Microsoft advances technology way more than people think, they just do it in a more subtle, long-term way. One of those ways is the advancement of main-stream support of touch based laptops, desktops and of course software with Windows 8.

Within the next year, touch will be an expected experience and not Google nor Apple is ready for this new experience.

What has your experience been with touch based devices? Do you own a touch based laptop or all-in-one desktop?