Designing for Windows 8 – What You Need to Know!

With the advent of Windows 8, Microsoft’s latest OS, developers and designers can certainly look forward to build some really cool apps. Add to this, the growing number of tablets, Windows based smart phones and touch-screen laptops; the demand for Windows 8 applications is surely going to see an upward trend. According to Microsoft, there will be as many as 400 million devices powered by Windows 8 in coming years. This itself speaks about the immense potential for developing Windows 8 based apps. Understanding the philosophy behind the design of Windows 8 definitely helps shape your thoughts for crafting applications for this platform.

Well, one need not be a hard-core technical expert to build applications for this platform. However, there are various things you need to know while crafting apps for Windows 8. Let’s take a look at some of these.

Modern UI – Brainchild of Microsoft, the Modern UI is basically language and design style. Taking its root from Swiss Typography and Bauhaus School of Design, Modern UI was created with objective to help users interact seamlessly with content. In order to design a Windows 8 application, you must have a considerable understanding about this design style. Modern UI revolves around five principles. These are briefly discussed as under:

1. While designing an app, one must focus more towards the function.
2. Using design patterns created by Microsoft helps one reduce the learning curve.
3. By limiting the scope of application and avoiding chrome (functions, buttons and controls) on screen helps you build great apps.
4. Make your design pixel-perfect.
5. Ensure that your application is highly responsive to screen transitions as well as motion.

Typography matters – Do you know the prime font used in Windows 8? Well, it’s Segoe UI. This humanistic typeface has been upgraded for Windows 8. As a developer or designer, you must know the ‘Guidelines for fonts’ document created by Microsoft. Here you can find which font style and weights one should use for diverse parts in Windows 8 applications. You must not forget the typographic grid as well. The entire elements in your application should align with it.

Keeping Content before Chrome – Designing applications by the conventional method involved giving lot of importance to the looks & placement of buttons, menus, tabs and windows. This is popularly known as the Chrome-Centric methodology. It has its own disadvantage wherein the representation of content takes a back seat. However, with Windows 8, developers need to focus more on content rather than chrome. All this helps design crisp & cleaner looking applications with excellent interfaces.

Never ignore the importance of touch – Besides running on desktops and laptops, Windows 8 also finds its way into smart phones, tablets and other devices that have touch screen. Design applications in a manner that help users get the best out of the touch-screen functionality offered by their devices. When you design elements for the Windows 8 application, make sure you leave plenty of room for what is known as touch targeting. Next thing, you need to take care of content. Ensure that the content is laid out in an ergonomic manner. For further details, you can always check out the design guidance provided by Microsoft.

Using animations & photography – Using photography can just turn out to be like icing on the cake when designing apps for Windows 8. The thing is these applications mostly use the landscape orientation in the full-screen mode. This offers you countless opportunities for laying out content. By using elegant images & photography, you can definitely make your application stand out from the crowd. Microsoft offers an excellent Animation Library that makes it easier for developers to add subtle animations. Go through the guidelines offered by Microsoft and decide which animation best works out for your design. You can even have custom animations in case you feel those preconfigured animations do not match your requirements.

Although these are some of the most important things you need to know about designing applications for Windows 8, they are not all. There are many more things to consider such as having a great live tile, working on the charms bar and contracts and many more. Microsoft, too, provides a detailed guide for designing Windows 8 applications. So, get your sleeves rolling, take a cup of coffee and start designing for Windows 8, the most popular operating system. All the best for your endeavours!

Author Bio:

Barton Griffiths is a leading expert in a web design & web development field. He has always believed that, Custom web application development should provide complete web development solutions to globe clients. He has impressive and in-depth knowledge about the latest web designing for Windows 8, ASP .Net Development, VB .Net, C# Development, etc. Barton Griffiths on Google+.


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