Why use Metro, WP7 Development
If you read my post a few days ago about fixing your applications theme in the regards to the use I made a point of saying that a developer Could just use the inherent metro interface developed by Microsoft for their application. Today I’m going to expand on that and, depending on your use case, say why you Should.
A Brief Introduction: What is Metro?
Metro is the name of Microsoft’s User Interface Style in Windows Phone 7. It is a specific type of style focusing on typography (the use of fonts) with a clear purpose. If you wish to see more on Metro, you can read the Windows Phone System Design – Codename Metro booklet.
So why use Metro?
If your program could be classified as having a “single goal” that has limited functionality aside from it’s main scope then your your program should use Metro. Why? Microsoft is aiming to standardise the User Interface for third party applications so that they maintain a consistence interface with the systems UI. If you’re developing a relatively small application that has only one main function, such as a calculator, you should conform to the Metro UI Standards.
As an example you have ten applications which each perform a different task, yet are themed in the same manner, it may seem to the user that these programs are a natural progression of the system’s UI and will be adopted with ease.
But I don’t want to use Metro!
Great, no one is stopping you – that is unless you go drastically outside of the UI Guidelines.. yet have a think about it from the Users perspective first. Imagine you use an operating system that has set, and nice, UI standards. You go about this operating system day to day using the system applications and understand what each control should do. Suddenly you open up a third-party application that has developed it’s own style.. not much of a problem at first, but then you click on what looks like a standard control that doesn’t do just what it’s supposed to… and now we have a problem.
But I’ve already made my pink background purple text love calculator app..
I wish you luck in the marketplace submission stage. Remember, you want your uses to love your app. Show your application to a few friends and see what they think about your colour scheme, if they don’t love it.. will someone else?
- Beau Allison
N.B. This article does not apply to game development as games are often tailored with their own style.
Update: Paulio M, another developer who writes a great blog called IT Bytes, left me some feedback on twitter regarding this. Paulio’s personal opinion is that the argument for maintaining UI standards in line with an OS is outdated. Paulio argues that modern applications evolve and shouldn’t be tied down to OS UI standards. While I agree with Paulio on this I still feel that a simple application with a single goal should stay in line with a mobile OS to maintain consistency. In any case I wouldn’t agree with this if I didn’t believe Metro did not bring with it such a nice style… call me Metro bias