Identify Windows 8 features and opportunities for your app
Windows 8 comes with a whole range of unique features that you should be aware of before developing your first Windows 8 app. One of these is snap view, which allows you to multitask by placing two apps alongside each other where one app takes up approximately one-third of the screen and the other app the remaining two-thirds. For some applications, running in snap view can be more important than fill view. Take a calculator as an example. It's very likely you'll need to input data from another source, such as a PowerPoint deck.
Built-in share is another feature that is treated differently on Windows 8. An app can share with whatever app the user has installed that can capture the share. This means that sharing capabilities basically come with low cost, and there is a unified way of sharing content. This is a big opportunity for many apps to increase the virility of the content seamlessly through the share contract.
Search, like share, is also baked into Windows 8. Unless your app is built around search (like a search engine), a search field should not be placed within your app. The end-user knows where to locate the search field because it's always placed in the search charm, so there should be no fear that the user won't know how to search. In fact, placing a search field within your app would confuse the user more than relying on the built-in search charm.
There are also a lot of opportunities with live tiles (the tiles you use to open a Windows Store app) that you should understand. By rotating through pieces of content from the app, the user might be enticed to open the app. This is in strong contrast to a static logo. From a branding perspective, you might prefer a static logo, but we think you can increase your app usage rate while supporting your brand by using rotating pieces of content.
App monetization models on Windows 8 are also unique compared to other platforms. Windows 8 offers you the opportunity to use Microsoft's cash register, or you can use your own and keep all revenues. Free trials are also available on Windows 8, but an app publisher can maintain control by defining the details of what the free trial means. In-app purchases are also available -- a popular monetization strategy on iOS. Microsoft maintains the traditional 70/30 revenue share (you get 70) if you use its transaction system, but it also offers a nice bonus: Once you hit $25,000 in gross revenue, the revenue share changes to 80/20.
Creating a successful Windows 8 app requires good planning, great design, and good use of Windows 8 features.
Bart Claeys is creative director at Ratio Interactive.
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