Windows Phone Design Principles

In order to build a consistent experience across the Windows Phone platform, it was important not only to have a concept of a design language, but also to have a set of principles that would govern all decisions made in constructing the user experience. The following are the Metro design principles:

» Clean, light, open, fast
» World class motion
» Integrated hardware and software
» Content, not chrome
» Soulful and alive

Before you learn more about the Metro experience itself, take a moment to review these principles and more importantly think about how they can affect the way you build the user experience for your application. The first principle talks about the experience being “Clean, light, open, and fast.”
Although this doesn’t’ limit itself to certain aspects of the interface, you can apply this principle by making sure your application isn’t cluttered with icons and images and that any action the user takes is fast and responsive.

Just because screens on mobile phones have gotten larger over the last couple of years, this doesn’t mean that you can pack more information onto a single screen. Doing so makes the content hard to read and difficult to navigate. Build a clean and light interface that displays only the important and relevant information to the user. This will necessitate larger and clearer fonts, which is where rich typography becomes important. The Metro design language celebrates typography and provides you with some rich fonts out - of - the - box for making your applications clear and easy to read.

The introduction of touch screens brought with it a need for haptic, or at least responsive, feedback.
If you imagine touching the water in a glass or on a pond, you can immediately see the water ripple out from where you first touched the water. Instantaneous feedback, such as the changing of background color or a slight vibration of the device, gives the impression that the application is alive and awaiting the user’s instructions. You will notice that motion is built into the core platform. The Start is made up of tiles that dynamically update and respond to being touched. Transitions provide visual indicators to the user of not only where they are going, but where they have come from. The use of animation and other visual effects using motion is essential in building for Windows Phone. Within Windows Phone 7 the capacitive touch screen and other sensors enable gestures to control hardware accelerated animations and transitions which enhance the application. Hardware and software features blend together to provide a unified user experience.

Generations of applications across all manner of computer systems have adopted a windowing approach in which the border allows the user to control the window. On Windows Phone, there is no chrome! There is no border on the window, on controls, or even on content. Chrome takes up valuable screen real estate and for what, to illustrate that one piece of content has ended and the next has begun. If this is the case, use the content itself to indicate where those transitions are. For example, when you have adjacent images, instead of separating them by a few pixels, simply fade out the trailing edge of one image so that it ’ s clear where the second image begins.

Applying the content not chrome principle, this can be adapted to the second set of images, where the trailing edge, in this case the right edge, of the image is blurred or faded in order to make way for the next image.

At the end of the day, don’t forget that you are building a software application for a mobile phone, which should be intimately attuned to its owner. Build applications that are soulful and alive, which offer a personalized and rewarding experience showing the information that matters most to the user with minimal excess. Bring the application to life by integrating the user experience with the rest of the device and making use of the platform ’ s unique hardware capabilities to make it feel responsive to the user ’ s gestures.

Applications should embody the three Red Threads of Windows Phone 7: Persona l— your day, your way; Relevant — your people, your location; and Connected — your stuff, your peace of mind.

Source of Information : Wiley-Professiona Windows Phone 7 Application Development 2010


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