Archive for May 4, 2015

Monday, May 4, 2015 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Ex-Microsoft Designer Explains the Move Away From Metro

Paul Thurrott:

Windows Phone fans pining for the days of Metro panoramas and integrated experiences have had a tough couple of years, with Microsoft steadily removing many of the platform’s user experience differentiators. But as I’ve argued, there’s reason behind this madness. And now an ex-Microsoft design lead who actually worked on Windows Phone has gone public and agreed with this assessment. You may have loved Windows Phone and Metro, but it had to change.

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Now, you can see a more internal view of what happened. And you can read the entire discussion—and some occasionally silly responses to it—in a Reddit AMA called I designed the new version of Office for Windows Phone, AMA.

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You don’t use the hamburger very often … You have to design for the 80% case, no matter how much that annoys the other (vocal) 20% :) … Here’s the distinction. Holding with your right hand in the average way makes it super easy to tap the bottom left but actually a bit of a context switch to hit the bottom right. So you put super common things on the bottom left, and important but less common things on the bottom right … Reach isn’t actually the biggest problem though. The issue is ‘why the hell is your app so complicated you need a junk drawer to stuff everything into?’ That’s why Apple doesn’t like it, and I agree. But you try designing Office for Mobile, supporting every feature, without a junk drawer :) It’s hard!”

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“The interaction patterns in Android and iOS are better designed (at least compared to [Windows Phone] 7). Get into the labs and watch people use all three platforms. There’s data here that not everyone is privy to, but that doesn’t make it less true. There are some real weaknesses in the old Metro patterns … Maybe iOS and Android forced everyone to two handed use with shitty design … [But] big screens exploded in popularity. You’re going two handed.”

App Business Tips

Dan Counsell:

Listen carefully to your customers, pick out the feature requests that keep coming up and implement those. Don’t spend all your time building fancy features no one has requested.

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Consistency is the key here, keep delivering timely updates. Somewhere between every 3-6 weeks is perfect. It can be hard to keep this up constantly, especially for smaller teams or those working on multiple products. Even if you don’t achieve it, having this goal gives you something to aim for. If you do manage to update anywhere near as often as I suggest, your users will love you for it. In turn they’ll talk about your app more, and those regular updates you keep pushing out will translate into an increase in revenue each month.

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More widely known as App Store Optimisation. I always feel slightly dirty even mentioning this phrase, but ASO works - it’s not a magic bullet, but it does help.

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There are plenty of services out there that offer translations. Over the years, I’ve used two different companies and have been very happy with both. If you’re looking for a personal service go with Applingua, for something more automated use OneSky.

Dan Counsell:

Realmac is still guilty of having different product lines that don’t benefit the same type of customer. I’m slowly changing things so all of our products fall into one major category. This change will take some time, it’s not going to happen overnight but we’ll get there. I just wish I’d figured it out earlier.

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In the first few years of hiring people I honestly never once thought that these people might one day leave. It just never crossed my mind. […] I got over it, you have too. The business adapted and changed, and things worked out. When someone decides to leave a business, it’s a waste of time trying to convince them to stay. They’ve made up their mind and if they stay they’ll end up being unhappy and resent you and the business.