What WP7 should learn from Windows 8

The Windows Phone Marketplace Certification team sent me a mail today notifying me that Pigs Fly had a non-critical problem: for the marketplace I used icons with a transparent background.

For those who don’t know yet: every WP7 app has five different icons: 3 versions for the Marketplace and 2 for the Start screen/app list.

At first I wondered why they disallowed this transparency for the Marketplace icons, but seem to encourage it for the Start screen icons.

Have a look at the screenshot to the left. You notice a lot of the tiles share the same accent color. This is because of the transparent background obviously. When you change the accent color your whole Start screen gets a make-over.

This looks great! Actually, it only looks great on screenshots and during demos. When I actually use my phone all I see is a sea of identically-colored tiles. This is a usability nightmare!

Look at the contrast with the Windows 8 screenshot below, where every tile has a different background color. I bet that after a while you will automatically recognize the Green tile as the Stocks tile, the Orange tile as the Calendar tile, and so on… .

Now all I can wonder is why the certification rules allow transparent backgrounds for any of the icons at all.

Get rid of the accent color and give every icon its own distinctive background color.

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2 Responses to What WP7 should learn from Windows 8

  1. Pingback: Dew Drop – June 15, 2011 | Alvin Ashcraft's Morning Dew

  2. Mike says:

    I agree. Users should be able to choose between the default accent color, the developers chosen color, and the ability to choose your own color for each tile.

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