Plans For Designing Metro Style Apps (Windows Store Apps)

Introduction

 
In my last article, we saw some basic introduction to Windows 8 and Windows Store apps development. In this article, we will learn how to plan our Metro Style App development. As all of you know, before starting every development or project, we must do a plan for it. So for that, before starting our Metro Style Apps development we have certain plans. In this article, we will discuss those plans before starting our Metro Style Apps. To do our application planning phase we will go through the following points.
 

Think about "Great At" Statement

 
In Windows Metro Style App development we first must think about where our application is "Great At". In other words, from the point of view of the user: "Why Should I use your application?". So first decide in which area your application is great. Take a paper and write down those reasons why your user will use your application. In which areas your application satisfies the user's requirements.
 
Take the example that you are designing an application like Microsoft TechDays to your city. Where you are providing the location details, agenda of the day, speakers of that day, topics to be covered in the speech, etc. So first think about all the requirements stated above; don't give more importance to anyone special requirement. After picking one single scenario and explain it in details that are great at like location details as in the following-
  1. My app is great at providing the event location details.
  2. My app is great at showing the event locations on maps.
  3. My app is great at finding the distance between the user's location and the event's location.
The above stated "Great At" statements may help you for your Metro style app development to make design decisions.
 

Think about "User Activities"

 
Every application depends on the user interaction with your application. In this section, we will explore more about user activities that our Metro Style App must support. Every application has its own and unique flow. The following questions may help you to determine the application flow for your Metro Style App-
  1. What is first and what is next?
  2. How will the user move through your Metro Style Application UI?

User Activities

 
For example, take a back step on our example application like Microsoft TechDays to your city. In this application how our user performs his activities. The following points may help you to design your application:
  1. Creating an event with the required details.
  2. Send notification about the new events to existing users.
  3. Send notification about the agenda of the event to users.
  4. Users must be able to register for the event.
  5. Users must receive the notification sent by the system.

Think about "Feature"

 
After deciding "Great At and User Activities" we will move to the feature for our Metro Style Application. If your application provides more and new features in its category than other apps then sure app will hit the market. Some guidelines and features which you can include in your Metro Style Application are as follows.
 

Notifications

 
In your Metro style application if you want your user to continue to visit your application then your application must provide new and fresh content every time. In a Metro Style App to get this feature, you can use the various types of notifications. Notifications are useful to provide some new content to use tiles when users are offline and currently not using your application. You can also send notifications to the user when they are using your app. Think about our example application Microsoft TechDays; when your city posts a new event, we can send a notification of the event to the user so your user will revisit the application. We will talk more about notifications in future articles.
 

Tiles

 
Tiles are very important in a Metro Style Application because our application is denoted on the Windows 8 start screen as a tile. To improve the user experience of our application, we provide both the range of the tile i.e. square and wide range. Provide tile personalization capability to the user like change the image of the tile or its size, color, etc. Use secondary tiles in your application to quickly launch the application. We will explore this more in my future articles.
 

Contracts

 
In every Metro-style application we must provide system contracts. The following are some common contracts mostly we can use in our Metro Style Application.
  1. Search- Use the search contract in your application to quickly search content in your application. The user will feel comfortable by providing a search contract in your application.
  2. Share- Sharing is one of the most important features in every kind of application. Provide a sharing facility in your Metro-style application. For example, if your user is able to share the Microsoft TechDays to your city event then it will be very good.

Conclusion

 
After thinking about all the points above next we can move to design our Metro Style Application. Here I'm ending this discussion and will continue with a new and interesting topic in my next article.