Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Windows Phone 7 Quick Tip #14 – Metro Part IV – Be Authentically Digital

WTF you might be saying?  Authentically Digital?  Let me explain.  Long before the current crop of phones and user interfaces tried to mimic the real world with leather textured backgrounds and fun 3D effects, science fiction embraced the concept of the _future_ and tried to make their predictions of what user interfaces might look like.  This can be seen in the following control panel from Star Trek TNG.

One of the core design principles of your user interface for a Windows Phone 7 application is that it should be authentically digital.  It shouldn’t try to be something it’s not.  Your Windows Phone 7 is a portal into your “stuff”, nothing more.  It should provide the most efficient, and cleanest way of pleasantly getting you to your “stuff” without getting in the way.  Don’t try to mimic the real world with backgrounds that look like leather or the texture of blue jeans, no fancy gradients (did you hear me DevFish).  Provide a minimalistic interface so that your users can get to their stuff and get back to their lives.  As much as we like to be appreciated as developers, we are not serving our community well if we try to write our applications so that every time our users open our app and they say, “Wow, what a cool user interface”.  We should strive for them to want to use our apps so they can say “Wow, look what little Sally did at school today”. 



  1. Whilst I get the point of this, it should be kept in mind that this phone is not in a vacuum. It will be compared to the other competitors and while the 'stuff' is important, I personally like it to look good too. If all we see is a bunch of flat black and white apps (like are in the Beta App Store), this phone will die or boredom! A phone is a gadget and we all like our gadgets to do something cool and interesting, that's why we buy them - oh and they perform useful tasks too :)

  2. youtube - I'm not sure that my Mom things about a phone as a gadget, does yours? :)