Inside Windows Phone Apps – IMG News Reader

Application:

IMG News Reader

Interviewee:

Jannes Peters, Interaction Designer

Can you introduce the app?

My app is a very simple news/RSS reader. But it doesn’t optimise for reading news and instead emphasises the pictures and images from the blogs you have subscribed to.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Jannes and I am an UX designer from Germany. I studied interaction design in the great Institute of Design in Umea, Sweden. There I discovered my passion for creative coding and making things work. Prototyping became my strongest tool in the design process and at some point I realised that my coding skills were good enough to write simple apps.

What led you into design?

After high school I went to art school for Industrial design. My arts teacher had told me about it because I had a lot of passion for building models and concepts but was never interested in the fine arts during his classes.

What led you to focus on mobile?

It was never my intention to focus on mobile. When I applied for an internship at Microsoft, they actually didn’t tell me what I was going to work on until my first day in the office. That said, my internship with the Microsoft KIN team was amazing and I met a lot of great and inspiring designers there.

Do you design for any other platforms? How does the experience with WP7 compare?

I think the WP7  design language is a revolutionary step in user interface design. Also, it’s fun to develop for it, because you almost don’t have to worry about graphic design anymore, the content itself becomes the interface. You can see this in my app, I almost don’t use any chrome or graphics.

I’d really recommend reading this article about the new Windows design language by Rahul Sen, a good friend of mine.

How did you choose the elements to include?

I am a designer and – of course – I am a very visual person. I always got frustrated about RSS and news readers that are very text heavy. Most of the blogs I am reading are about art, design and architecture. The images in these blogs tell me much more than a headline or description. However, there was no reader application that acknowledges this. I think Pulse Reader or Flipboard on the iPad are doing a great job of showing content in an attractive way, but I haven’t seen this done well on a phone before.

What has user feedback on the design been like?

I got many emails from people telling me that they love my app and especially the design and simplicity. Some people complain about lacking features, and I agree with them. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the time yet to integrate many great features.

Please give a design tip for WP7

Be creative. And try to reinvent. Windows has a new design language and everybody is still exploring how it can be used. I am excited about it and think design on Windows Phone® has great potential.

A very practical design tip is, make your panorama backgrounds dynamic and content aware. I’ve seen many apps having a static background which gets very boring over time. In my app – for example – I always use the latest picture the user has viewed as the background.

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Build your own app

Been inspired? We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to building a Windows Phone 7 app. You will find helpfull tips, tricks and free downloads to get you started.

Firstly, download the free tools here

Step 1: Designing your App
Step 2: Laying out elements in Expression Blend
Step 3: App styles
Step 4: Adding the glossy elements

Published by Sara Allison

Sara is the editor of Ubelly - when not heads down scouring Ubelly articles for typos (and not always catching them), she's scouting for new writing talent. Give her a shout @SaraAllison if you've got something to say about development/design and want to be heard.

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