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Posts Tagged ‘windows phone’

We all have our own methods of studying, learning and practicing newly acquired skills as developers. Luckily nowadays we are not limited only to written text or on-site trainings, but have so many great options like podcasts, webcasts and video tutorials, which we can utilize wherever we are based on our own time schedule.

When it comes to online developer/software training, again, we may all favor different sites. Yet my go to site for developer training has been Pluralsight for some time now. Currently I have 3 Pluralsight 30 day subscription cards, which I would like to offer in a give-away daily this week starting this Thursday, February 23rd. The winner will get a chance to discover the entire set of the hardcore developer training courses offered on the site. Pluralsight’s content is not only limited to .NET technologies, but there are courses for Facebook development, iOS, Java, JavaScript, CSS, Android etc.

What participants need to do:

To participate in most give-away contests aside from user tweets and Facebook likes, you have to find an answer to some random questions. Most of the time you may already have the answer, however thanks to search engines it is not that difficult of a task to find the info in mere seconds. So I decided to skip the knowledge-based questions altogether and try a different approach based solely on your individual feedback.

I would like to know, what Windows Phone application in a specific category you like the most and what you specifically enjoy about it. For example; why it is fun to use, why you could not live without it, which features of it stand out etc. You can provide as much detail as you want. You do not have to come up with an answer of 1000 words or whatsoever, but answers like “because AppABC is soooo awesome” or “AppXYZ blows my mind” would certainly not be sufficient.

Many many developers have already started or are starting out to code for Windows Phone and I would like to add even if it is only the tiniest bit of momentum to that movement. I plan to share all the feedback from participants on my blog. I may also feature certain applications in more detail, in case a single application gets numerous comments. We not all take the time to rate and/or review applications on the Windows Phone Marketplace and this activity would be chance to highlight some Windows Phone applications and specific features, which make them stand out.

Give-away Date/Time/Details:

The give-away is starting Thursday, February 23rd.

Day-1: Thursday, Feb 23rd

Day-2: Friday, Feb 24th

Day-3: Saturday, Feb 25th

Daily Timeline:

8 AM PST – 8 PM PST

My plan is to announce the actual application category for the day at 8 AM PST each day with a short blog post. You can check out some of the potential categories here. At the same time, I am going to select a random number X, let’s say from 1-20. You will be able to post comments on that blog post for 12 hours and I will approve all comments each day at 8PM PST. At that time I will check for comment #X, which has been posted between 8 AM and 8PM PST. The comment owner will win the Pluralsight 30 day subscription of the day. Certainly, if there are less than X comments, the last reader to comment will get the prize. But I do hope, that there is a good amount of  motivation for participation and discussion! The idea here is to collect developer feedback in order to promote developer work plus add fuel and inspiration to applications, that are still a work in progress. It is just supporting fellow developers through a simple activity!

For the curious Windows Phone enthusiast:

If you would like to check out the current Windows Phone training content on Pluralsight, here is a quick look:

Just by supporting your favorite Windows Phone apps with a comment, you will get a chance to win a 30 day Pluralsight subscription and check out their vast library of developer courses.

Good luck to all participants or should I simply say; all supporters of Windows Phone developers?

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Based on my latest Wikipedia wisdom, mango is the the most cultivated fruit of the tropical world. With a little ambitious creativity, the phrase “cultivated” can be interpreted in two ways: The fruit is grown and produced or mangos are sophisticated, refined and well-educated. Yet to support the latter, we need a few facts.

Mango, as a fruit, has long been a symbol of  summer, but this fall it embraced a new role to embody sophistication as the latest Windows Phone Update! Custom ringtones, new speech commands, visual voicemails, linked inboxes, groups, enhanced social network integration, multitasking, even better live tiles, improved search + maps features and the list goes on and on. If you check out the videos on the update feature list page, you will soon discover, that there is sufficient evidence to state, that this fall the term “cultivated” simply translates to “sophisticated/refined” for the mango we are talking about!

Certainly this attempt of literary explanation may sound like a far reach for some of you. So let’s shift our focus to the excitement Mango has in store for Windows Phone developers. As I shared in my previous blog entry, there are numerous Windows Phone Camps taking place allover the country.  Participants get a full day of free training plus a chance to win a Windows Phone 7. But this is just the beginning; the surprises don’t stop here!


Windows Phone – Go Mango App Contest

Just recently, a new US-based contest has been announced: Go Mango! The contest will run from October 15th and December 31st. The APPortunities for Windows Phone developers are two-fold:

  • Every new Mango app you publish within the contest timeline will be entered to win 1 of 5 Samsung Series 7 slates.
  • When you publish 5 new apps, you will earn 1 entry to win free advertising for one app of your choice.

The free advertising will run on the Windows Phone Application Network for about 60 days and include 25K impressions.


The more Windows Phone Mango apps you get into the marketplace until the end of 2011, the more chances you will get to win. You can find the detailed contest rules here.


Windows Phone Ad Campaign

Another great offering for Windows Phone developers is the Windows Phone Advertising Campaign“Your app here” . The campaigns run from December 2011 to February 2012. The application submission deadline for the December campaign ended yesterday, October 25th; however there are still two more months, if you plan to submit your Windows Phone application.



Each month from December through February, up to seven apps will be selected and promoted in campaigns created and funded by Windows Phone. Selected apps will get an online banner and their ads will run across the MSN Network of sites. This campaign will deliver one million ad impressions for each app selected. To participate, your Windows Phone App

Besides these participation terms, your app should certainly be user-friendly and engaging, stick to Metro design principles and provide integration of App Connect if relevant.

You can explore great Metro tutorials on the .toolbox site. You may also want to check out the User Experience Design Guidelines for Windows Phone on MSDN. The Mango Jump Start Series on Channel 9 by Rob Miles and Andy Wigley are also quite informative, if you need a fast-paced deep-dive into Windows Phone Mango.


Fast Track to the Mobile App – Design Contest

This is a Windows Phone Design Contest organized by Core77 and Microsoft. The contest challenges participants to rethink “work everywhere” capabilities of smartphones. Participants are expected to create designs with maximized usability, productivity and integration features by utilizing the benefits and features of the Windows Phone Platform. The contest does not require any coding; a contest entry can consist of a Sketchflow mockup, images of the sketches and an optional video and/or presentation. The contest ends November 18th.



One of the contest taglines summarizes the constantly connected, mobilized life-style of today: “We’re looking for design that understands, your computer is no longer on your desk, it’s in your pocket.


Telerik Special Prize for Windows Phone Unleashed Apps

Though this may not be directly Mango news; it is still a great Windows Phone related activity. It may also motivate you to attend one of the Windows Phone Camps; there could always be new surprises for these latest round of developer events. Telerik has announced a Grand Prize for applications submitted by participants of the Windows Phone 7 Unleashed events. These events were organized by Microsoft and local developer communities. The Grand Prize winner will be announced Friday, October 28th. 



There will also be a special prize for a WP7  community app and you too can support fellow Windows Phone developers. Just click the tweet button placed under your favorite app until Thursday, October 27th; the tweet must include #telerikwp7prize in order to qualify.


Idea of the Week – Student Contest

Microsoft kicked off a new contest called “Idea of Week” for students on October 17th. The goal is to inspire students to come up with unique and original app ideas. You can find out more about the contest on the Windows Phone Developer blog; official rules are listed here. Submitted ideas can be tracked on twitter with the hashtag #wpappitup.


I Unlock Joy – Student Contest

A few months ago, Microsoft India launched the “I Unlock Joy” developer contest for students in India. The contest runs until December 18th.



Students, who get four of their submitted applications certified in AppHub, are eligibile to apply for a Windows Phone Developer Device. Detailed terms and conditions can be found here.


Icing on the Cake

What could top all these developer opportunities such as the free training at Windows Phone Camps, various contests to win cool prizes and free ad campaigns just for building Windows Phone apps, a Windows Phone design contest etc.? Probably a sign, that would provide further assurance, that developing for Windows Phone has a bright future?


Wait no longer; the Nokia Lumia Windows Phone has arrived. Just today, Nokia introduced Lumia, its first device build on the Windows Phone platform, at Nokia World 2011. They are launching an impressive marketing campaign, with the catchy tagline “The Amazing Everyday“.



My first phone was a Nokia, easy to use and sturdy as a brick. Over the years, I used various mobile phones, most of them Nokia devices. Aside my nostalgic bond, I believe, Lumia brings Nokia’s outstanding industrial design and Windows Phone’s elegant UI together. This is truly a stunning collaboration, which I wish to become highly successful. The attractive pricing strategy, prices ranging from 270 to 420 Euros, will also  play a key role in the adoption of Nokia’s first Windows Phone in the consumer market.


Nokia does not shy away from futuristic research, fast forward and your Windows Phone experience  may get you the flexible and twisted interface of the prototype Nokia Kinetic device:



This “fast forward” may have been too fast; but you get the idea. The future is exciting and bright. You can contribute to shape and enrich this future by building Windows Phone applications, which delight and fascinate the user.


Last minute bonus link: There is a contest to win a Nokia Lumia 800 on “the Amazing Everyday” Facebook page. Good luck!


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With the release of Mango, Windows Phone Camps are again in full swing. These free Windows Phone developer events take place all over major US cities throughout this fall and they may even be coming to a city near you!

 

 

A Windows Phone 7 Camp, is a 1 (sometimes 2) day event, which provides an extensive overview of what you need to know to develop a Windows Phone application. This also includes, how to submit your application to the Windows Phone Marketplace and how to monetize your app. You will also get the latest bits and pieces on Mango, which means that you will learn about the updated Windows Phone features and how your existing apps can be mangofied.

 

The Fall 2011 developer events started in September; yet there are still plenty of upcoming Windows Phone Camps. The following is a list of all events taking place within or after this week:

 

If you would like to participate in any of the upcoming Windows Phone Camps, take a few minutes to register, as these events fill up rather quickly. You will need to bring your own laptop to follow along with the training material. You should also install the following beforehand:

You can check out APP HUB to get developer toolslearn about application features, understand common task for Apps and register and load your APP.

 

At each event, there will also be  a Windows Phone 7 giveaway and many other prizes. As a Windows Phone Camp participant, you will get a fun-filled day with free training plus a chance to win a Windows Phone 7! How awesome is that?

 

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In the first post of my “Windows Phone 7 Design Notes” series, I tried to provide a general introduction to the Metro design language and share links of text and media resources, which you may find useful if you wish to dive deeper into the design concepts behind Windows Phone 7.

This article is going to be a bit lengthy, as it includes my personal impressions on Metro and its type-centric design features plus a recent typography project, which actually sparked the idea to write this series.


Metro + Adrian Frutiger

While checking out the recordings and presentations about Windows Phone 7 design, some distinctive facts about Metro, which rely upon beautiful typography and simplicity in design, brought Adrian Frutiger to my mind, who once said:



If you remember the shape of your spoon at lunch, it has to be the wrong shape. The spoon and the letter are tools; one to take food from the bowl, the other to take information off the page… When it is a good design, the reader has to feel comfortable because the letter is both banal and beautiful.


First of all, a few informative details about Adrian Frutiger.

Adrian Frutiger is one of the most prominent typeface designers of the 20th century. Although being best known for creating the typefaces Univers and Frutiger, he has also created logos, signage, corporate typefaces and corporate identities for various publishers and industrial enterprises. I am only going to highlight Univers and Frutiger due to the context of the post, yet a few other of his famous typefaces are OCR-B, Versailles, Linotype Centennial, Avenir, Vectora, Linotype Didot and Rusticana. What is most stunning about his career is that it spans the hot metal, phototypesetting, and digital typesetting eras.

When Adrian Frutiger created the Univers typeface, it was accompanied by a unique classification system to eliminate naming and specifying confusion. He eliminated everything except the essential forms of letters. He was concerned with legibility and the shapes of the letterform. Originally his design included 21 variations of the Univers. Type design may sometimes simply be presented as art. But if you just take the time to check out the Univers numbering system, which is used to create variety in letter weight, width and position, you would discover, that the entire design process is done with such mathematical precision that type design suddenly resembles a well calculated engineering project or a software project with thousands of unit tests.

The Univers typeface has been extensively used for the Montreal Metro, the San Francisco BARTFrankfurt Airport , the Walt Disney World road system and some London boroughs streets. Akzidenz Happen and Univers is easily confused with sans-serif typefaces Helvetica and Akzidenz Grotesk. If you want to get some historical facts on sans-serifs, check out the “The History of Linear, Sans Serif Typefaces” article by Adrian Frutiger.

In the early 1970’s, Adrian Frutiger created a Univers font variation for the Paris metro. He also worked on a “way finding” signage alphabet for the Charles de Gaulle International Airport. The result was a distinctive and modern typeface with a legibility at various angles and sizes. This particular typeface was later renamed and released by Linotype in 1977 as Frutiger.

I was planning to share a short video with Adrian Frutiger here, however most media content is in French or German (or rather Schweizerdeutsch). You may check out photographs and highlights of his life in an online photo gallery provided by Linotype. But I have also discovered an original presentation by Mark Simonson, who gave a talk about Adrian Frutiger at TypeCon in 2006. The presentation includes various snapshots from Adrian Frutiger’s rarely found book “Type Sign Symbol“, outlining the analytical side of making letters. The latest book on Adrian Frutiger’s work is Adrian Frutiger Typefaces, which is a pricey yet complete guide with good reviews.



Let’s bring some of Adrian Frutiger’s ideas and Metro together:

Metro and airport system signage may be one of the inspirational sources in Metro’s thought process, but it surely is not the only characteristic, which Metro design principles share with Adrian Frutiger ideas on design.

In case, you are interested in further info on signage typefaces, you can find out more about public signage typefaces here and check out a list of typeface used for Metro signage here.

List of Metro Principles:

  • Clean, Light, Open, Fast
  • Celebrate Typography
  • Alive in Motion
  • Content, Not Chrome
  • Authentically Digital

The list plus colors can be found in the MIX10 session “Windows Phone UI and Design Language“. My notes focus on principles 1-4.


Metro Principle: Clean, Light, Open, Fast

  • Feels Fast and Responsive
  • Focus on Primary Tasks
  • Do a Lot with Very Little
  • Fierce Reduction of Unnecessary Elements
  • Delightful Use of Whitespace
  • Full Bleed Canvas

Adrian Frutiger always emphasized the duality of black and white (whitespace). He took his teacher Alfred Williman’s “Do not apply black but cover up white, so as to make the light of the white sheet active” as a mantra. For example, Univers is a sans-serif designed to create comfortable white space between letters, so it is calm and easy to read. (Adrian Frutiger’s Methodology, LinoType)

Adrian Frutiger: “The black-white contrast soon came to play an important part in my professional life. I remember the fascination which I experienced on first seeing the sign of wisdom of the Tao Te Ching, the perfect representation of duality with its black and white fish bladder signs united within a circle. I owe another realization to an engineer in Paris, who explained to me the binary calculating method of computers: one and zero, black and white. For me, the black-and-white contrast conveys the absolute construction of an image. Taking black away means adding white. ” (Adrian Frutiger Traces, LinoType)



Metro Principle: Celebrate Typography

  • Type is Beautiful Not Just Legible.
  • Clear, Straightforward Information Design
  • Uncompromising Sensitivity to Weight, Balance and Scale.

Adrian Frutiger has a lot to say about legible and beautiful typefaces, as his work is a perfect reflection of these typographic elements:

“From all these experiences the most important thing I have learned is that legibility and beauty stand close together and that type design, in its restraint, should be only felt but not perceived by the reader.” (Adrian Frutiger on Legibility, Linotype)

“Typography must be as beautiful as a forest, not like the concrete jungle of the tenements … It gives distance between the trees, the room to breathe and allow for life. The same holds true for type. If it is set too narrowly, it can no longer be recognized as type. You need to leave space for the reader to breathe.” (Type – Adapted to Everyday Life, LinoType)

This quote does also relate with the “reduction of unnecessary elements” in the first Metro Principle.



Metro Principle: Alive in Motion

  • Feels Responsive and Alive
  • Creates a System
  • Gives Context to Improve Usability
  • Transition Between UI is as Important as the Design of the UI
  • Adds Dimension and Depth

Unlike any other type designer, Adrian Frutiger has created typefaces with a diverse set of functionality such as typefaces for books, typefaces for departure schedules or typefaces for signs in public spaces. He took various factors into consideration, so that his letterforms remained legible and his designs could be easily recognized even in difficult conditions such as poor lighting or when the reader is moving quickly past a sign.

The same is true about any kind of UI, if directives are not clear at first glance, they will only confuse the user, instead of clarifying and providing orientation.

Adrian Frutiger: “Type must be recognizable within fractions of a second.” (Type – Adapted to Everyday Life, LinoType)



Metro Principle: Content, Not Chrome

  • Delight through Content Instead of Decoration
  • Reduce Visuals that are Not Content
  • Contents is the UI
  • Direct interaction with the Content

Adrian Frutiger’s take on the significance of content is very clear:

“Type and design which is too overbearing is not fulfilling its purpose, because it is distracting us from the contents.” (Type – Adapted to Everyday Life, LinoType)

“Type must be open and clear! It must be adapted to our lives. Type is the clothing a word wears, so it must be subordinate to the content.”



My Interactive Typography Book

I have a deep appreciation for visual arts and talent in digital design, yet a few years back I would not have known this much about design concepts and typography. I started reading books and took design classes throughout 2009. Still I strongly believe, that beyond theory + training you have to constantly feed your soul with diverse inspirational sources to reach a genuine and authentic level of style and creativity.

After sharing this much information about Adrian Frutiger and linking it to Metro, or vice versa, it may come as no surprise, that I worked on a typography project focusing on Adrian Frutiger. A few months ago, I put together a typography book for the typeface “Univers“.

My book show-off definitely deserves some interactive features; posting some static images will not do the the hard work justice! That’s why I decided to display the book with a Silverlight Page Flip application to make browsing through the pages a much more fun and unique experience.  Note2Self: It might also be a good idea to start some work on porting it to a WP7 app.



The book size, front/back cover images, vertical numeric borders, text content, page order etc. are all output of my creative thinking and design aspirations. As a developer, I enjoyed every minute of this design project, I hope the end result reflects my joy and excitement about typography, design and  Silverlight as well.

I have also an accompanying presentation for this typography book project, if you would like to read the details about the project objective, demographics and design features.



With all the information presented in this 2.post, I am not trying to draw a conclusion or make a ground-breaking discovery. I just wanted to share my personal reflection on Metro and Adrian Frutiger, which I hope you enjoyed reading. Let me know, what you think about the post and book design.


SideNote for the developer audience: As this post was mainly focused on design and typography, I did not include any information about the Silverlight application. I am planning to share very soon some of my notes on the numerous Page Flip techniques/apps as well as Silverlight Controls I came across, while working on this application. If you would like to add a pointer to your app, send me the info and link, so that I can check it out, if I haven’t already!


(*The SlideShare plugin does raise a Javascript error in IE8, however the slides are displayed without any problems.)

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The Windows Phone 7 Series is based off a new design language/system, code-named Metro. The Metro design concept provides guidelines and interaction methods for developers/designers to create a consistent and dynamic UX for the Windows Phone 7 (WP7). This is a wonderful opportunity especially for developers to gain a deeper understanding of design fundamentals and adopt a functional design style they can incorporate into Wp7 applications. You may get a glimpse of the Metro design features in action on the Zune UI.


As the name “Metro” suggests, the design language is inspired by the visual language of airport and metro system signage. Consequently, the UI of any mobile app on the Windows Phone is envisioned to be clean, modern and user-centric, to make use of good legible typography and bold colors. Each UI directive to the user should be clear and interaction should be straightforward. I would simply sum up this idea as: interaction with the mobile device should turn from being complex to a simple user reflex. No need to mention, the WP7 design concept includes one mantra we all know by heart: “Content is king“. The UI of your Windows Phone app should delight the user through content instead of decoration, so basically your content should be the UI.


At MIX10 I got a chance to check out the WP7 Metro design book first-hand thanks to David Kelley. Here is also a very nice walk-through of the Windows Phone 7 Series book, put together by Long Zheng (from istartedsomething):


Vodpod videos no longer available.


If you want to find out about the many cool details of the WP7 design language, the best source is definitely the MIX10 “Windows Phone UI and Design Language” session by Chad RobertsMichal Smuga and Albert Shum.



After watching the session recording, if you should be in search for further info:


Recently I have also discovered the following video featuring Albert Shum, Director of Mobile Experience Design for WP7, who gives a perfect overview of the design inspiration for WP7:



In the 2.part of this series, I am going to share my personal impressions on Metro and focus on its typeface-centric design features.

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This morning Visual 2010 was officially launched at the DevConnections conference. You can find all the files available for download here. The free Express editions and new versions for the Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4 Training Kit are available too. Check out Scott Hanselman’s blog for extensive details about the new features and download info.

A side note for Windows Phone developers

The following info can be found on the Visual Studio Express site: “If you have downloaded and installed Visual Studio 2010 Express, Professional, Premium or Ultimate and want to develop for Windows Phone, this current CTP release of the Windows Phone Developer Tools is not compatible. We are working hard to refresh the Windows Phone Developer Tools to be compatible with the release versions of Visual Studio 2010 and will have an update soon.” This was was also confirmed on Channel 9 after the keynote today; so basically the VS2010 RTM and WP7 CTP are not compatible yet.

Silverlight 4 will be launched tomorrow morning, Tuesday April 13th, during Scott Guthrie’s keynote.


Today Microsoft also unveiled its “Project Pink”; the new social phone “KIN will be available through Verizon as KIN ONE and KIN TWO. The UX of KIN is pretty interesting; the phone’s main features revolve around the KIN SPOT, KIN LOOP, the camera and KIN STUDIO. The live webcast was short, but outlined the phone features with some catchy phrases. Here are a few of my notes:

KIN is for the social generation, who care extensively about self-expression and deeply love to share their life journey. Simply call this life-casting, which requires them to lead a multi-screen life. They are passionate about technology and have high demands from it. While the Windows Phone is designed to simplify the user’s life, the KIN is a phone to amplify the life of the social generation.


KIN’s website is also live now; the site’s design is very sleek and modern. Yet I still wonder, why it uses the Adobe Flash Player and not Silverlight for the animations and videos?




Interestingly, today is also the launch date of Adobe’s Creative Suite 5. There is a lot to catch up this week for all developers and designers out there; no matter what tools they use!

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