App stores like the Intel App Up center and Windows Store are the real focus on Windows 8, which means that developers’ work is central to the entire Windows 8 experience.
But before we get carried away with all this power, there are five main things to consider when designing an app for Windows 8.
1. Figure out why people want to use your app. This has to be the first thing you ask yourself, and gives you a good indication of how they will use it.
For instance, people use diary apps because they need a place to log their commitments, but that’s not how they end up using it. They use it as a reminder system for things as disparate as mum’s birthday (with a few days’ notice required) and picking up dry cleaning (a reminder half an hour in advance will suffice), so customisable push notifications are a must.
2. Think big – consider the major features and functions of the app first. A detail springing to mind might have been the inspiration for the whole app, but always keep the bigger picture in mind. It’s much easier to add some style to substance than the other way round.
3. Decide how you’re going to deliver a great user experience (UX). So you’ve learned why and how people want to use your app, and you’ve got the wider skeleton in mind, but how are you going to make sure the UX blasts the competition out of the water? This is where the details come into play. A nicer jingle or pleasant welcome animation can separate the good from the great.
4. Show your flair. Hey, you’re creative; make sure your app reflects that. Give it a visual identity that is above all flexible. Consider, for instance, the horizontal scroll of Windows 8 apps, as opposed to the vertical scroll of others. This is going to affect the layout when importing HTML5 content from another platform. Mastering this will give a strong aesthetic to the app, and best exhibit your designer skills.
5. Practice empathetic testing. You probably know your app like the back of your hand by now, so it’s easy to forget exactly what the user wants. I read a great article that will help with this. These 60 tips on mastering the Windows 8 user interface remind us what the end user finds tricky. Knowing this, we can streamline the right features for them.
So those are a couple of my top-line suggestions for designing a successful app for Windows 8. I recently attended a webinar that goes into the subject in much more detail.
The good news is ongoing series of Intel webinars for mastering Windows 8, so take a look through the lineup to see if you can get any of your queries answered.
Do you have any of your own tips for designing apps on Windows 8? Let me know in the comments below.
• This blog post is written by Softtalkblog, and is sponsored by the Intel Developer Zone, which helps you to develop, market and sell software and apps for prominent platforms and emerging technologies powered by Intel Architecture.