Blog

Gamification as a design process

„Game-Based Learning“, „Serious Games“,„Games with a Purpose“ and „Gamification“– the list of concepts, which build upon the prospect of using the potential of games in other application areas is long. All concepts share the same idea of generating additional benefits beyond pure entertainment by using games, their technology or mechanisms. By no means, all of these expectations raised by the concepts are achieved. A lot of projects fail due to the incompatibility of games and serious applications and it often appears, that the effort for achieving compatibility is not commercially viable.

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„We need Ribbons“ – Pros and Cons

Tobias Gölzer
June 28th, 2013

“We need ribbons” is the new “Make it like the iPhone”. Since Microsoft introduced ribbons as part of the Office Fluent User Interface with Office 2007, this sentence is frequently uttered by clients. The rationales for this requirement range from „Microsoft has probably put a lot of thought into it“ to „Our customers are used to Office“. Ribbons seem to be perceived as a remedy for poor usability. But not every interface benefits from using ribbons.

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Desktop Modern UI

Microsoft’s Modern UI design language has arrived in many applications with varying success. By now, almost everybody has seen Modern UI (formerly known as Metro), and Microsoft seems committed. Developers of Windows software have to think about the fact that a lot of established interfaces look out of place in a Modern UI environment. It needs to be adapted to the current state of interface design, even more with Apple similarly moving iOS 7 to a flat UI style. Working on such updates, we have collected a set of 10 design principles we call, for the sake of simplicity, “Desktop Modern UI”, and we want to share them with you. read more…

From windows to tiles: Contrasting WinRT´s UI framework with WPF – Another case study

A while back, we have published a small case study illustrating our experiences gained in the course of porting an existing WP7-based application to WinRT. As we are continuously growing our competencies regarding WinRT development, we were able to identify a bunch of further differences between WinRT XAML and WPF XAML (as well as Silverlight or Windows Phone 7.X). In this blog post, we want to introduce you to some further prominent differences as well as important characteristics of the WinRT UI Framework that differentiate this API from WPF. Specifically, we will have a look at Bindings, Commands and DependencyProperties.
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From windows to tiles: Leveraging reflection to inspect and contrast WPF with WinRT XAML

To begin with, our primal, simple aim was contrasting several concepts as applied in good old WPF with the way they have been implemented in WinRT . To actually enable a both exhaustive and reasonable comparison between both UI frameworks, we pragmatically decided to unleash some reflection functionality on the respectively affected assemblies. read more…

“Form Follows Function” – An unclear design principle

Introduction

“Form Follows Function (FFF)” – You can think for hours about these three words and for their explanation quite some words are necessary, for it is a frequently misunderstood design principle. read more…

From windows to tiles: WinRT sensors – Overview and C# sample

Sensors are one of the most defining features that distinguish mobile devices such as tablets or smartphones from common PCs. This being the case, we have been enormously enthusiastic to play around with these components when our brand-new Surface RT tablet arrived recently. And by the way, this device feels like a charm.

Eventually, we decided to share our experiences in this regard in terms of a blog post giving an overview on the entire sensor landscape being available on the current Surface RT tablet running WinRT – the ARM chips targeting brother of Windows 8 – as an operating system.

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From windows to tiles: A tutorial on live tiles & badges

Philip Schäfer
October 30th, 2012

This blog post seeks to demonstrate the capabilities of Windows 8 “live tiles” and “badges” as initially introduced in Microsoft´s design language Modern UI (also referred to as Metro UI). Being one of the most defining UI elements in Modern UI style, the concept of (live) tiles should be worth looking at a bit closer.
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From windows to tiles: Porting a Windows Phone 7 app to Windows Runtime – A small case study

I. Setting

To begin with, the application we intended to port as a first get-in-touch with Windows RT (also referred to as Windows Runtime, WinRT) is a small, Windows Phone 7 based soccer game leveraging the mightiness of Silverlight as a subset of the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). Therefore, the game´s entire frontend had been designed exclusively using Silverlight XAML and related concepts. Furthermore, the applied architecture strongly follows MVVM (Model-View-ViewModel) principles targeting a strict separation of user interface and application logic. read more…

From windows to tiles: Towards the development of Windows Store applications

Philip Schäfer
October 30th, 2012

Launching their new operating system Windows 8, Microsoft establishes an entire set of novel technologies and concepts. The familiar desktop will be supplemented with an additional Start screen in “Modern UI” style (formerly known as “Metro UI” style); in addition to that, Microsoft introduces a new application type called “Windows Store App” (also referred to as Windows RT application or Modern UI application). Especially this new application type is the subject of controversial discussions in the community and thus requires to be focused on in particular. read more…

Touching the desktop – Modern micro-interaction and burdens of the past

They are considered intuitive and their handling easy to learn – Touchscreens. To humans it feels far more natural to touch an object of interest with the finger on screen instead of using the mouse. Apart from the clearly easier hand-eye-coordination, touchscreens create an elegant and user friendly experience through merging input and output actions into one device.

But even despite of all these advantages, they can create a lot of frustration and anger, which probably every one of us has realized at some point. For example: If you accidently call someone although you only tried to scroll down the address list, if you have to type in a word five times, because you hit the wrong letter, or the alignment of “Ok” and “Cancel” is so narrow that you are afraid to click the wrong one. It would be too good to be true, if touchscreens did not raise new usability problems. Especially the usage of desktop operating systems like Windows 7 or OS X with touch devices creates a bunch of problems. read more…

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