Felipe Cypriano

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Metro Is Going Towards the Right Road

Disclaimer: I don’t care about anything outside Metro on Windows 8 and this post is strictly about Metro apps.

The best thing about Metro is that it is being designed to be consistent. They’ve created a set guidelines to show how a Metro app should behave and look like. (The other best thing is that it doesn’t run Flash)

It’s surprisingly good see how Microsoft is teaching Windows developers that in order to build a great app they need to be consistent with the platform and Metro is being built from the ground up to be consistent.

Metro is going to throw away all the weight of crapness from Windows by starting new, without legacy support. Metro is touch based, older Windows applications will run outside Metro. And maybe the ARM version of Windows 8 will be Metro-only.

On the video 8 traits of great Metro style apps Jensen Harris walks you trought 8 important concepts of Metro apps. If you’re going to develop for Metro, this video is mandatory. These are the 8 importants things to pay attention when developing for Metro, I’ll not explain each of them because what matters here is to understand that there’s something to follow to make the user experience good:

  1. Metro style design
  2. Fast and fluid
  3. Snap and scale beautifully
  4. Use the right Contracts
  5. Invest in a great Tile
  6. Feel connected and alive
  7. Roam to the cloud
  8. Embrace Metro principles

By creating and teaching these traits Microsft is aiming the user. As soon as they learn how to navigate on IE10 and how to install a new app they will know how to use all other apps, they won’t have to think. All the basic behaviors should be the same across the apps.

This consistence lead by the platform resulting in ease of use is what I see as an iOS developer and user. Apple just started a set of design guidelines and the community evolved these guidelines. Some of the current “standards” were created by 3rd party apps, like the pull-to-refresh from Tweetie (now the official Twitter app) and the action-button-centered-on-the-tab-bar popularized by Instagram. Android seems to lack this leadership from Google.

One more good think borrowed from Apple Metro apps will be distributed only on Windows Store and they will have to be approved.

[Metro apps will be] Distributed through the Windows Store. Apps must pass certification so that users download and try apps with confidence in their safety and privacy. Side-loading is available for enterprises and developers.

Microsoft is leading the way by creating a consistent experience. If the platform apps are great the users will expect the 3rd party apps to be at least as great. If Metro developers follow the design principles that Microsft is teaching I do believe a good contestant of the current iPad/iOS is coming. One year later tough.