So, I decided on an app to build (I’m keeping a tight lip on it for now). My idea comes from a running list of things I’d like to create and most of my ideas are in the ‘scratch your own itch’ vein. Now, this app will be neither original, nor ground-breaking. And really, even in the Microsoft Store, pretty much everything has been done already, so it’s all about doing it better.

What I’ve learned as both a consumer and a developer of mobile applications is that design is the most critical element to a successful app. And so, I’m working very hard to make my app’s design both compelling and functional. Microsoft has a lot of good developer material about the design language, suggested standards and what not, but I’m inclined to bend the rules a bit. For instance, the use of bold color and deep dark or bright white backgrounds annoys me a bit. So my app is going to use a subtle dark grey background and muted colors.

Many apps in this ecosystem inherit the user’s theme colors, but I’m not a fan of that (I do like it for built-in apps). If I’m using an app, it should have some personality and when I change my phone’s theme, the apps that inherit my theme lose their personality (totally just my opinion). I’m opting for a strict color scheme and portrait orientation. It’s not as customizable, but I don’t think an app should necessarily be so flexible. I want my app to feel like my app no matter what settings change on the phone.

Microsoft provides some really nice tools for Windows Phone development and I’m making heavy use of Blend as I labor over iconography, font weight, shades of grey and proper margins. It takes so much time to design something truly nice. I’ll probably iterate over this design hundreds of times as I proceed over the next few months. Ultimately, my goal is to build something I would use, something that a user might open just becuase it looks so nice. We’ll see. I’m not a designer, but I play one on teh interwebs.