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Windows 8 HILO App

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Success Story: Microsoft Windows 8 Hilo Tutorial App

Produxs is proud of all of our collaborations with our neighbors at Microsoft, but we’re especially excited about our Windows 8 projects. We’re among only a handful of firms that designed apps for Microsoft ahead of the release.


Project Snapshot

the challenge

Microsoft asked us to design a developer guidance app – i.e., an app to teach developers the ins and outs of designing Windows 8 apps. (Yes – an app to help people create apps.)

In this case, Microsoft wanted to design a photo organizing/editing app that would help put developers through the paces.

the assignment

For a team of UX designers, it’s a big vote of confidence and an intriguing challenge to be asked to come up with something so fundamental to the future success of such a radically different operating system. We all know how vital apps are to platforms nowadays; without apps, Windows 8 will have a hard time competing with Apple’s OS or Google’s Android.

There were two goals for the project:

  • Create a slick, easy-to-implement design.
  • Explore and settle on the best working relationship between design and development.

Microsoft wanted to demo a set of technical features, and our job was to ensure that the photo app would give developers an opportunity to use and learn those features.

the research

The app had to comply with the Windows 8 standards and aesthetics – which had not yet been released when we began work on the project.

Given that reality, we ran with the info that Microsoft had previewed at a conference and what could be found via research. Eventually, Microsoft released the templates and some very rough guidelines part way into the execution of the project; fortunately, our educated guesses had been close enough that our original design needed very few changes.

The project was not just about applying templates and standards but also about understanding the purpose of the design philosophy. The Windows 8 “Modern UI” (originally known as Metro) came out of the minimalist Bauhaus movement and was influenced by the clean approach to signage that you see in many airports, subways, etc. – an approach that boils down the essential info you need in order to get where you need to go and do what you need to do.

In a similar way, the Modern UI aims to bring to the surface the information that’s most helpful to a user, stripping away everything else.

We followed our usual UX design process, including working closely with development while fleshing out multiple rounds of wireframes (schematics showing the skeletal framework of a website, focusing on the structure and interaction of an experience) and Modern UI-inspired visual design comps. In the end, the Microsoft team – made up of developers – was very happy with the level of details in the deliverables; they were able to take our work and develop the experience seamlessly.

the results

The Windows 8 Hilo app went “live” on the Microsoft DevCenter in November 2012, providing developers with a great way to get their feet wet in the Windows 8 environment.

We’re pleased to have been a part of building this experience and gratified that Microsoft trusted our work enough to give us a head start in working with Windows 8.

Every Produxs success story is different; we scale our work according to your unique requirements. To learn more about the game-changing results we can produce for your company, please call Craig Nishizaki, Director of Business Development, at 206.501.4310.