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Looking at the Windows Store User Experience

The nice thing about Microsoft's Windows Store for Developers Blog is that it involves a topic that is currently hidden to us all. So every post is interesting and potentially illuminating. Such is the case with a post today called Designing the Windows Store user experience, which takes a look at Microsoft's next big online storefront.

"In designing the Windows Store, we've tried to strike a balance between a design optimized for serendipitous app discovery through curated content, and one where customers can easily find the apps that they search for directly," Microsoft program manager Jonathan J. Wang writes in the post. "We've worked hard to engage customers by emphasizing the brand icons and colors of each app in the app listings and the apps themselves. Discovering, installing, and updating apps are all designed to be as simple and fast as possible."

According to Wang, the Windows Store consists of a landing page, editorial topic pages, data-generated lists, app listing pages, and the search, browse, install, and update experiences. They're tied together in specific ways and, of course, utilize the Metro-style design language to maximum effect.

The landing page we've seen already. This is the beautiful, white space-filled designed shown off previously when the store was unveiled.


"On the Store landing page, we will continually feature new and exciting content, changing frequently so that customers come to expect there’s always more to explore within the Store," Wang reveals. "The landing page integrates featured content with navigational content (like categories and lists of featured apps) ... we designed a landing page that integrates our featured content, data-driven lists, and category listings into one cohesive and engaging browsing experience."

Navigation occurs via the major store categories, which are available via Start screen-like groups that become visible as you scroll horizontally (also like the Start screen).


"Customers will  be able to look at special 'topic' pages that we link to from the landing page to showcase those apps, featured lists of the most popular apps, and what we consider to be the highest quality apps in each category," Wang notes. "We'll feature apps from 'rising star' developers that are building momentum, alongside those created by developers with an established track record of developing quality apps. Finally, we'll also provide app recommendations based on the customer's past purchase history."

The store will also include an integrated search experience via a standard Windows 8 Search contract, and, more important, a streamlined app install and updating process, and a simple way to reacquire previously purchased apps on new or reset PCs.

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