Tuesday, March 23, 2010

WP7 Design - Application List

The second design aspect I want to talk about is the Application list. It is a functionality that was never "revolutionized" and in the CTP of WP 7 it is worst than the honeycomb interface in WM 6.5 (I am referring to functionality not design).

On the WM 6.5 there are 12 icons on a page and on WP 7 there are only 10 meaning almost 20% less icons. My Omnia II has 5 "pages"of icons without installing any program which would translate in 7 "pages" on WP 7.

Being a device focused on "consumer" we expect that on the Marketplace there will be a lot of applications that will be free or cost nothing. So the consumer will install a lot of applications and keep them on the device. From this point of view iPhone is better organized as it has 16 icons per page . 5 pages on the Iphone would translate in 8 pages for WP 7.

Another aspect which I consider not optimum is the scrolling. The "partial scrolling" (not going from one page to another) gives a nice visual effect, but it's not optimizing the search because:
1. if I am scrolling means that on the current page/screen I didn't found the application that I am looking for so I don't need to see those icons anymore.
2. using partial scrolling I will never know exactly where I am and I am gonna loose myself (it happens a lot to me on my phone).

The concept of "full pages" that Apple used it's more practical. This way I will always know exactly where I am and (using some gui links) I could also jump directly to the page I'm interested in.

Anyway even with a "full page" navigation if I have a lot of applications it will not be easy to find what I search (especially if i don't remember the exact name of the application). It would be really nice to have a "real time" searching of the application name/attributes (something like "Search programs and files" in Vista and Windows 7). This functionality could also be implemented inside the bing search engine that should give us the possibility to choose between local search, web search or both).

One thing that I liked in WM 6.1 and older was the possibility to access Settings in just 2 clicks (Start-Settings). In 6.5 Settings icon got mixed inside the application list generating some confusion. It would be nice if we could have the Settings icon instead of the back arrow in the application screen of WP 7 (the back arrow is redundant cause I get the same result by pressing the windows button)

The next screen is just a concept (I am not a good designer so don't laugh about it) but in my opinion it would be a more practical approach for the Applications list.


  1. Great blog! Are you working on making the emulator run native code? :)

  2. Application list is dumb! as you say. I have mentioned it to multiple people, It should not be a list or a grid in the frist place. If you think about it as a list, the best optimization would be like what you did: enable search(?)...

    you should be able to reuse your recently used apps faster than others.

    you should be able to find installed apps based on a category. (have you ever looked for installed app in iPhone OS scatered in different pages?)

    you should have a complete list of apps

    you should be see "What's new?" for your apps (something like updates)

    ALL THESE ARE ACHIEVABLE WITH WP7S interface. it interface is called HUBS! just like PEOPLES HUB.

    your search button could exist when you are in the list of all apps and you press the search button.

  3. I'm wondering if this side of the interface was not quite ready for primetime... it does not look good me thinks.

  4. I made some suggestions too.. but am sure Microsoft could think better..

    anyway here are some of my suggestions in Windows Phone 7

  5. Jayson I really like your suggestions. Nice work.

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  8. Check out these Windows Phone 7 Application Icons - there are 350 icons in the set. http://goo.gl/rMk08

  9. Awesome Windows Phone 7 Application Icon List..Nice job and features in Windows Phone 7..

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