January, 2012

  • Canadian Mobile Developers' Blog

    Windows Phone links for the week

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    A good number of us from the team are in Redmond this week on our annual pilgrimage to the mothership (Microsoft Headquarters) for training, so content from me will be a little lighter than usual.

    As a result, I wanted to share with you a set of links and resources that are new to help you learn more on Windows Phone development and also a reminder of some older links that you might want to bookmark as well.

    Happy coding!

    Five-Part Series on Metro Design

    A five-part series on Metro design for Windows Phone.
    31 Weeks of Metro Design for Windows Phone An in-depth discussion on the topic of Metro for Windows Phone by Arturo Toledo (Senior User Experience Designer for Windows Phone).  A weekly post series currently in motion.

    Five-Part Series on Succeeding on the Windows Phone Marketplace

    A five-part series on strategies you can use to increase the adoption and downloads of your app/game on the Windows Phone Marketplace.

    Webcast:  A lap around Windows Phone 7.5 Link to a 3 hour webcast I presented on implementing features of Windows Phone 7.5 in your apps today.
    Microsoft Canada Windows Phone Developer Resources Page A page outlining a number of great resources to get you started on Windows Phone development and resources that can help you after you’ve become familiar with Windows Phone development.
  • Canadian Mobile Developers' Blog

    Winning on the Marketplace: The differentiation game

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    When a mobile app marketplace hits a population of five figures, it becomes a little tough at times to have your app stand out of the crowd. Even if your app or game is the most awesome thing ever invented since the spork, it’s still tough to get that initial traction when there is a sea of other apps that also get users’ attention. One of the ways to gain that traction is to create an app or game experience that is fundamentally different (in a positive way) from your competitors’ apps and even making your app stand out across apps that are not even related to yours. Experience trumps almost everything, so if you make the experience of your app amazing, then you will get traction sooner or later.

    Differentiation is one of those buzzwords that seems to find its way into most tech-related conversations these days. It’s right up there with the phrase leveraging synergies. That said, there is a time and place for every word and phrase and I’m going to use Differentiation in this post.

    Mobile app stores are funny things, really. When they are new and therefore not very populated, users complain that they can’t find the apps they’re looking for. Then, when a mobile platform takes off and becomes popular, users complain that they can’t find the apps they’re looking for. Interesting similarities, aren’t they.

    If the marketplace is new, it’s much easier to get traction when your app is awesome because the focus becomes squarely on your app or game. This post isn’t about that scenario. This post is about getting your apps and games to stand out in a crowded marketplace (the Windows Phone Marketplace is rapidly getting to that state with over 50,000 apps published and growing and a fast clip on top of that).

    The rest of this discussion will focus on strategies to make your apps and games shine and therefore get your users’ attention by implementing great features that will rock your app experience.

    Understand your mobile app platform

    The first thing you really need to do to succeed in differentiating your app from the rest is understand your mobile app platform.  The more your know about the capabilities of your target platform, the easier it is to determine scenarios under which your app will really shine on the platform.  Be creative with the capabilities; maybe there’s something you could do with a feature like push notifications in your app that no one has ever done before.

    It also means to understand the personality of your target platform.  In the case of Windows Phone, this is largely about the Metro Design Language (more on that here).  If you were talking about iOS, the personality is more glassy and bubble-oriented.  For Android, it looks like Google has adopted something similar to Metro (focus on typography, flat style, etc.).  Going against the native style of the phone platform makes your app jarring.  That said, a jarring interface is likely going to differentiate your app from competitors but you have to be careful; it the app doesn’t feel like it belongs, then users will likely make sure it doesn’t belong in their app list, either.

    Experience is a key differentiator

    I talked a little bit about experience already in this post (and others) and it may sound a bit like a broken record, but I cannot stress the point enough that a great user experience sells more apps.  Users want to be delighted.  Users want to have intuitive interfaces.  Users want the cool features they expect in the mobile apps they already use in your app and they expect something different as well.  It’s up to you to define “something different” but suffice it to say, it’s that extra added touch that makes your app that much more in demand.

    journeyUltimately, the experience of your app defines a journey for your user.  There are three stages to this journey as well and you need to think about all of them:

     

    • Attract:  The first thing you need to do is make the user want to download your app.  Clearly, if you can’t entice a user to download your app, you’ve lost the game with that user.  In order to do that, make sure you:
      • spend the time to describe your app appropriately in its Marketplace page (accurate, with strong value proposition). 
      • don’t make the description too long or short and leave out the flowery words. 
      • screenshots should be indicative of the experience of the app
      • feel free to add revision history (it shows the app has been “cared for and fed”), but keep it to at most the last three revisions.
      • entice existing users to leave comments.  If you are not confident enough that your app will get enough positive feedback, then ask yourself why, then try to fix it.
    • Delight:  So the user has downloaded your app.  Now you need to make the user feel good about his/her decision to either buy or try your app.  This takes some thought and you can employ strategies to make them keep coming back to your app.
      • The first experience a user has with your app is like a first date.  Users want to get to know your app, but you have to be careful not to let the user discover all of your app’s secrets and hidden features on the first try.  That is not to say you should hide things or make your app non-intuitive – just craft your app’s experience into a journey of discovery.
      • On the second and subsequent visits to your app, try to guide your users through the experience.  Don’t create a wizard (thats so 1990’s!); just make the flow of the app reward users as they get more familiar with it.
    • Retain:  Finally, you need to make sure you keep your long-time/loyal users happy with your app as well.  The way you do this is to keep the app healthy and vibrant through updates.  I mentioned that apps with appropriate care and feeding (i.e.:  updates) tend to do well in mobile app marketplaces.  If you have an app that has had some life on the Marketplace, make sure you update it in an appropriate cadence that lets users know that you, as the app’s publisher, care about it’s lifecycle and that you are committed to its success.

    Ways to differentiate on Windows Phone

    Now that we’ve talked about strategies on differentiation in a fairly general sense, it’s time for me to give you examples of features on the Windows Phone platform that you can use on your apps to create amazing (and differentiated) experiences that make your app more marketable!

    • Live Tiles:  One of the most in-your-face, signature components for Windows Phone is the tile interface on the home screen.  It’s unmistakeable and it may surprise you as to how powerful they really are.  For a great description of how to create Live Tiles for your apps that really pop, check out Chris Koenig’s post about it here.
    • Hub Integration: Hubs are amazing collections of information found on Windows Phone.  They include the People Hub, Music and Video Hub, Game Hub and Pictures Hub.  There is so much power in these hubs as it gets the user to info and content they need without having to traverse multiple apps.  Your apps can integrate into hubs as well.  If your app makes use of content or provides content to any of these hubs, you’ll want to learn how to do this.  Examples include:  Music and Video Hub Integration Tutorial, Pictures Hub Integration Tutorial.
    • Secondary Tiles:  Secondary Tiles are a great feature that allows users to pin a tile of your app to their home screen that sends them to a specific part of their app rather than the main screen of the app.  Take, for example, a news app.  The news app may have general news, world news and local news.  That app could have deep linking capabilities that allow the user to pin any or all of the tiles for your app for each of those news types.  There is a great tutorial on how to implement Secondary Tiles here.

    Hopefully this article gave you some new ideas on how to make your app more marketable.  If you have found more ways to make your app more successful in the Marketplace, feel free to share!

    This post was the fourth in a series of five posts on strategies for being successful on the Windows Phone Marketplace. The first post (publishing in the right geographies) is here. The second post (trial mode and the art of the upsell) is here. The third post (finding the pricing sweet spot) is here. The fifth post (how to get promoted in the Windows Phone Marketplace) is upcoming on this blog.

  • Canadian Mobile Developers' Blog

    Winning on the Marketplace: Finding the pricing sweet spot

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    Ah, the ultimate question for developers trying to maximize their profits on the Marketplace:  “What should I charge for my app?”  The question is simple.  The answer is always far from simple.  As a developer who spent intense and likely long hours making an idea come to life in the form of a Windows Phone app, honing it and tweaking it and then tweaking it once more, this decision is an agonizing one.  Fear, uncertainty and doubt creep into your head… What if I overprice it?  Even worse, what if I underprice it?  How many apps will I have to sell/distribute to break even?  Every single app situation is unique; there isn’t any single silver bullet that can solve your pricing questions.  This post is meant to provide you with a set of tools to help you come to an answer to that incredibly important question.

    winning$5.99 for that?  Are they crazy?  How many times have you found an app you wanted to purchase but balked at the price?  Probably quite a few times.  And here’s an even more interesting question:  After balking at that price the developer is charging for that app you want, how often have you bought it anyway (even if you had to walk away first and then come back later to purchase it)?  It’s a good question and says a lot about the psyche of the typical consumer with app shopping on the mind.

    The most successful entrepreneurs selling apps and games on application Marketplaces (it really doesn’t matter which mobile platform we’re talking about here; Windows Phone, iOS, Android, Blackberry – it’s all the same for this context) have something in common.  They know their market, their target customer and the purchasing behaviour of their customer.  In other words, they intrinsically know the true value of their app to prospective purchasers.

    franchiseSo how do these successful app publishers know what price to charge their app?  Well, frankly they do their homework.  Think of it this way:  if you were in the market to purchase a fast food franchise, I’m guessing you wouldn’t just hand over a suitcase full of cash to the franchisor and say “Here, now gimme my franchise!”.  Of course you would research it first!  Things like how much does the franchisor charge as a startup fee?  What are the recurring franchisor fees?  Are there minimum revenue targets required to keep the franchise?  Is there an ideal (or at least good) location for my franchise?  Is my location going to attract the clientele I am targeting? etc., etc., etc.

    It’s essentially the same thing with pricing an app.  Doing your homework (and not cheating or copying, mind you) goes a long way to driving the success of your app.  For example:

    • Understand the market you are addressing.  What would you define as the typical customer for your app?  How much buying power does that typical customer have? How many of these typical customers are in a given market?
    • Who is my competition? Understanding the competition you will be facing (past, present and most importantly, the future – more on that below) is very important.  As you’ll see later, your price point doesn’t have to be similar or less than the competition, but you should have confidence in the price point you end up on compared to your competitors’ price.
    • Does my app have differentiating features compared to the competition? If you have implemented a feature that clearly differentiates the experience or value of your app compared to your competition, then you have an opportunity to charge more (but note this can be a dangerous line of thinking – be reasonable and self-critical about the value of these differentiated features).
    • What volume of downloads are you expecting? Depending on how many instances of your app you expect to sell, it may be a competitive advantage for you to use this knowledge to force the price of your app up or down.
    • How much did it cost you to build your app?  Sounds like a simple question but there are a lot of nuances to it.  The cost to build the app includes hardware and software, your time (and that of anyone you recruit to help you), real estate and office expenses and other miscellaneous expenses (such as taking out an investor to lunch, etc.) among a myriad of other expenses.
    • What are the carrying costs for your app?  Just because you published your app doesn’t mean your actually done.  The best apps don’t rest on their laurels.  Bug fixes, feature updates and general customer service (like any software business out there) are part of the bargain.  You need to spend some time here to determine realistically how much the app is going to cost to maintain and factor that into your pricing decision as well.

    rpq

     

    The equation above is about as obvious as it gets.  But your revenue goals may vary greatly from other publishers’ revenue goals.  Are you looking to break even? Make a profit?  Make a monster profit?  Every decision comes at a price so be aware of the cost of your goals.

    Free, Freemium and Paid

    marketplace-screen-confirm-purchaseThere are basically three revenue models in the Windows Phone Marketplace (at least, the way I see it). 

    Free is free.  As in beer.  Meaning you build the app, you publish the app and make it available to anyone and everyone with a Windows Phone for free with no real strings attached.  In this model, price = 0, meaning your revenue is also 0.  There are lots of reasons why you would want to build free apps, but I’ll leave it to you to think of some of them.

    Freemium is free, with a catch.  The catch could be implemented in a number of ways.  The most obvious way is advertisement-supported.  That means that you are giving away your app for free to anyone on the Windows Phone Marketplace who wants it, but you are generating your revenue from ads that exist on the app.  There are tons of apps in the Marketplace that have adopted this model.  The catch to you as a publisher, however, is that the revenue stream you get from this model will vary.  The revenue you get from an app in this model depends not only on the number of downloads, but also how often the users will open the app.  If users download the app and open it once, your revenue will be small.  If your app is popular and often used, however, the app may actually far exceed the revenue you would get from a paid app.  For more info on how freemium can work, there’s a really great blog post by the author of the Krashlander game that you might want to check out about how his app did.

    Paid apps are exactly what you would expect.  Users download your app and (eventually) pay for it and continue using it.  If you price your app or game right, this model is a great one as you can almost forecast the revenue you get from your app in the Marketplace based on download trends and run rates.  If you use the paid app model, however, please be aware of a few things:

    • Include a trial (more on trials in your app here).  A great feature of the Windows Phone app platform is that it provides a great facility for allowing you to put trials on your paid apps easily.  This will allow you to showcase your app without risk to the user, which has shown so far to produce seven times the revenue (on average) that you will gain for your app compared to an app with no trial.
    • Use the Freemium model in your trial.  There is nothing stopping you from adding advertisements into your trial mode.  In fact, I strongly encourage it.  That way, you still get revenue even from your trial app.  Who doesn’t like free money?
    • Spend time figuring out the right price .  As discussed above, there is an art and science to pricing your app.  Make sure you research your potential user base and geographies to determine appropriate price ranges.  Be careful not to overprice or underprice your app as you will be leaving money on the table if you do.

    Parting Shots:  Tips on Pricing your App Right

    As you can see, pricing your app correctly requires work on your end.  Do your homework and it will likely pay off in spades for you.  That said, you can still have a number of tricks up your sleeve to entice users to buy your app.  I discuss some of them now:

    • Do not underprice your app.  If you underprice your app, you leave money on the table for sure, but you also make it very difficult to hike the price of your app later.
    • Experiment with different price points in similar geographies.  If you are rolling out your app in a controlled way (i.e.:  not publishing in every market right off the bat), then you can test the waters for your app’s pricing in targeted geographies that are similar to see what the purchasing behaviour ends up being.  That way you can make corrections as you enter new markets.
    • Start at the upper range of pricing.  It’s ok to be optimistic in your pricing as long as you’re realistic.  Understand the value of your app and after you do your research, follow your intuition and price it out even if you feel it might be a little high at first.  As an opposite rule to the first point above, it’s a lot easier to adjust your price downward.
    • Use app sales to your advantage.  Offer your app at a discount for limited times.  This will allow you to generate interest for your app and create buzz for it.  If someone sees your app is on sale for a limited time, that will make him/her think of buying it.  During the sale you’ll get less revenue per purchase but you may make up the difference and then some in volume.

    Good luck!  If you have other pricing strategies that you have found worked, feel free to comment!

    This post was the third in a series of five posts on strategies for being successful on the Windows Phone Marketplace.  The first post (publishing in the right geographies) is here.  The second post (trial mode and the art of the upsell) is here.  The fourth post (differentiation using Windows Phone-specific features like Live Tiles and Push Notifications) and fifth post (how to get promoted in the Windows Phone Marketplace) are upcoming on this blog.

  • Canadian Mobile Developers' Blog

    Winning on the Marketplace: Trial mode–the art of the upsell

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    Part 2 of this 5-part blog post series on success strategies in the Windows Phone Marketplace deals with a fairly unique component to the Windows Phone platform called Trial Mode.  If you make use of trial mode in your paid apps and games (and you really, really should if you plan on putting a price on your app/game), then you are making it much more likely that users will download your app and in response to that, make the possibility of them paying for your app much higher as well.

    If your aim is to publish a Windows Phone app or game and charge money for it in the Windows Phone Marketplace, then you really should get to know a nice feature of the platform called Trial Mode.  Trial Mode allows you to publish your app that you charge users to make use of, but gives them a free trial mode of the app so that they can download it and make use of it to determine whether or not they want to purchase it.  And the beautiful thing about Trial Mode is that it means you don’t have to create a second, stripped-down version of your paid app that you have to manage separately from your paid app – both your trial app and paid app are one and the same, with the trial determining how your app will behave.

    While it may seem counter-intuitive to provide a free version of your paid app, consider these statistics that the Windows Phone Marketplace team has published describing the opportunity using trial mode in your apps represents:

    trialmodestats

    Basically, what this means is that if you implement trial mode in your paid app/game, you will get an average of 70 times the downloads you would have gotten without trial mode and 10% of those trial mode downloaders will actually buy your app/game.  That works out to 7 times the number of paid apps you will have earned than if you hadn’t used trial mode at all.

    So what defines a trial, anyway?

    What do you want it to be?  Seriously, that is the answer – we don’t limit the definition of “trial” to something we say it is.  Basically, we offer an API to query the Marketplace to determine if the user of your app has paid for it or not and you decide the behaviour of your app if the user has not paid for it.  In other words, the trial for your app is whatever you want it to be, including but not limited to scenarios like:

    • Limited functionality for your app if the user is in trial mode for your app
    • Ad-supported (i.e.:  advertisements show up at the bottom of your app) if the app is in trial mode
    • App may be used only x number of times if the app is in trial mode
    • App is time-bombed to not work after y number of days after the first use
    • App only allows z number of transactions in trial mode
    • App makes use of a service you implemented on the server-side only n number of times per day
    • etc.

    OK, so how do you use trial mode?

    There are two scenarios that are covered really well in the MSDN knowledgebase.  The first shows details on how to implement Trial Mode in a Silverlight app.  The second shows how to implement Trial Mode in an XNA-based game.

    If all you want to see is code, I have implemented trial mode in the following Silverlight sample here (a Visual Studio project in a zip file).

    How do you use trial mode effectively?

    As you saw from the code examples above, trial mode is extremely versatile.  Ultimately, it’s your choice as to how you implement a trial in your app or game.  That said, there are a few tips that can make your trial more effective, both for your end goals of having the user buy your app in the end as well as maximize the trial experience for your app’s users so they see the value of the work you have published.  Some of the things we have found are:

    • Don’t give it away:  Put serious thought into what you want to put in your trial.  Be diligent and understand the levers that will entice your user to want to go beyond the trial and pay for your app.
    • Make the trial experience compelling: Just like the advice to not give your app away, don’t limit the functionality or experience of your app so severely that the user can’t get a good understanding of the value the app holds.  Leave them wanting more; don’t leave them frustrated.
    • Use ads in your trial mode: The intent of implementing a trial in your app is to show the user that there is value in paying for your app, because one of the ultimate goals with your app is revenue (otherwise, why have a trial in your app?).  As a result, you should seriously consider monetizing your trial in a non-impactful way to your user through advertisements.  Hey, that way you get paid either way!

    Remember, if your app is a paid app, you want to add a trial.  Given that trials are common in the Windows Phone Marketplace, if you have a paid app with no trial, I can tell you that you are leaving a lot of money on the table as not many users will take the chance on your app.  Just some food for thought.

    This post was the second in a series of five posts on strategies for being successful on the Windows Phone Marketplace.  The first post (publishing in the right geographies) is here.  The third post (pricing strategies) is here.  The fourth post (differentiation using Windows Phone-specific features like Live Tiles and Push Notifications) and fifth post (how to get promoted in the Windows Phone Marketplace) are upcoming on this blog.

  • Canadian Mobile Developers' Blog

    “A Lap Around Windows Phone 7.5” webcast now available on-demand

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    Last week I presented a marathon, three hour webcast called “A Lap Around Windows Phone 7.5”.  This webcast provided developer content and demos on how to build apps that take advantage of the new and improved features of Windows Phone 7.5, as well as going over some strategies for making your app successful in the Windows Phone Marketplace.  This webcast is now available on-demand here.

    Abstract: A Lap Around Windows Phone 7.5

    Windows Phone 7 presents a fresh user interface and a smartphone platform with a unique value proposition for consumers, businesses and application developers. Windows Phone represents a new way to interact with friends, family and work in a mobile context and it delivers this experience in a way that is both productive and enjoyable. In this online event, Paul Laberge from Microsoft will provide you with an overview of the Windows Phone 7.5 platform from a application developer’s perspective as well as present the market opportunity that Windows Phone provides you as a developer. By the end of this session, you will be able to begin developing applications for Windows Phone and understand some of the most effective ways to market your solution in the Marketplace.

    Details:

    Duration:  Three Hours

    Available on-demand here.  Please note that it requires you to register (for free) on the site if you haven’t already; if you need to register, be aware that it takes a few minutes for your registration to activate so you may need to wait a little bit before getting to the on-demand webcast.

    Assets for the webcast (presentation deck and code demos) are available here.

  • Canadian Mobile Developers' Blog

    Winning on the Marketplace: Where in the world are you publishing?

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    If you’ve built modern mobile apps, you probably already know that coming up with the idea for the app/game and coding it is really only half the battle.  Success is largely determined in the marketing strategy you adopt for your app.  There are quite a few strategies that you can take and you can likely mix and match them, but there is no one “silver bullet” that will make your app an instant success.  This post is the first in a series of five that will give you an idea of some of the ways you can help your app become a success in the Windows Phone Marketplace.

    toughThere’s a statistic that was published by analytics vendor Localytics that states that only 26% of all mobile apps downloaded are ever opened more than once.  That’s actually a little higher than the numbers I’ve heard around mobile app circles, but still that number is quite astounding.  What it means is that for a myriad of reasons, most users are interested enough to open your app but quickly lose interest and either delete right away or never open it again.  Those odds are not good, so if you intend for your app to be popular, you need to adopt a strategy that will give you an edge and compel your user base to make use of your app more than once.

    There are multiple things you need to do before your app is ready for consumption.  One is to have a great idea (this is pretty much non-negotiable in my opinion).  Second, you need to build it the right way (i.e.:  great functionality, application flow, pleasant interface and intuitive app design). Third, you need to figure out a way for your app to make your users awesome in the moment.  All this before your very first user even thinks of downloading your app. 

    At the same time as building your app, you should be thinking about how you’ll market it once it’s ready.  Over the next 5 days, I’ll be posting an entry per day discussing some of the strategies you can employ to help make your app or game more successful on the Windows Phone Marketplace.

    Making your apps available on as many markets that make sense to support, not ALL markets possible

    The context of this first post is about understanding which geographies you can make your app available in.  Your first answer to “which countries should your app be available in?” might be “All of them, of course!”, but keep in mind a few things.  The correct answer to this question is that you should assess which countries your app will have value to users and how you will be able to support those users with your app.

    For example, there is a fantastic app called “Where’s Timmy?” that RedBit Development created and published that is a consistently popular one in Canada.  While there is nothing that limited Redbit from making the app available in every single market, the purpose of the app is to locate the closest Tim Horton’s coffee shop from your location.  Tim Horton’s is very popular in Canada and growing in popularity in the US, but has no presence in Europe.  As a result, Redbit did not publish the app in European countries but did publish it in Canada and the US.

    Another consideration to take into account is localization.  Making your app available in many markets may require you to support many different languages for your apps.  You must make a judgment call as to which languages you wish to support.  While this adds to the complexity of your app from a maintainability perspective, it enhances the local user’s experience while using the app.  By localizing the content of your app to the appropriate language and culture considerations, you will likely have better adoption and better ratings for your app in the Marketplace.

    Markets Supported by Windows Phone

    So with that said, what markets are currently supported by Windows Phone?  The graphic below shows which markets are supported (countries highlighted in yellow are markets that have been supported since launch in November, 2010 while markets highlighted in green were added just recently).

    SupportedMarkets

     

    Marketplace distribution and targeting the right locales is one of the strategies for being successful in the Windows Phone Marketplace.  Stay tuned for further Marketplace strategies over the next few posts on the Canadian Mobile Developer Connection, where I’ll talk about the trial API, pricing strategies, differentiation using Windows Phone-specific features like Live Tiles and Push Notifications and finally, how you can get promoted in the Windows Phone Marketplace.

    This post is the first in a series of five posts on strategies for being successful on the Windows Phone Marketplace.  The second post (trial mode and the art of the upsell) is here.  The third post (pricing strategies) is here.  The fourth post (differentiation using Windows Phone-specific features like Live Tiles and Push Notifications) and fifth post (how to get promoted in the Windows Phone Marketplace) are upcoming on this blog.

     

  • Canadian Mobile Developers' Blog

    Join me for a developer webcast for Windows Phone 7.5

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    Tomorrow (Thursday, January 19, 2012) at 1PM ET/10AM PT, I will be conducting a three hour webcast on how to develop for Windows Phone 7.5 and an overview of the Windows Phone Marketplace.  During this webcast, I will discuss and show how to implement Windows Phone 7.5 features in your apps like using the accelerometer, camera, fast app resume, local database, push notifications like live tile notifications among other features.

    If you are interested in learning about the new and improved features of Windows Phone in version 7.5 of the OS, I would like to invite you to join in on a webcast I will be conducting on developing apps for the platform.  I expect it will be informative and fun and hopefully you can join us!  If you cannot join live, have no fear as the webcast will be recorded (I will update this post at some point after the webcast is done, probably in the week of January 23 with the link and resources).

    Abstract:

    Windows Phone 7 presents a fresh user interface and a smartphone platform with a unique value proposition for consumers, businesses and application developers. Windows Phone represents a new way to interact with friends, family and work in a mobile context and it delivers this experience in a way that is both productive and enjoyable. In this online event, Paul Laberge from Microsoft will provide you with an overview of the Windows Phone 7.5 platform from a application developer’s perspective as well as present the market opportunity that Windows Phone provides you as a developer. By the end of this session, you will be able to begin developing applications for Windows Phone and understand some of the most effective ways to market your solution in the Marketplace.

    Details

    Date:  Thursday, January 19, 2012

    Time:  1PM ET / 10AM PT

    Duration: 3 Hours

    Registration Link: http://mctreadiness.com/MicrosoftCareerConferenceRegistration.aspx?pid=287

    I look forward to seeing you there!

     

    UPDATED:  This webcast is now available on-demand here.  Please note that it requires you to register (for free) on the site if you haven’t already; if you need to register, be aware that it takes a few minutes for your registration to activate so you may need to wait a little bit before getting to the on-demand webcast.

  • Canadian Mobile Developers' Blog

    Signing up for a Windows Phone Marketplace account as an individual is easy peasy.

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    It’s been a little over a year and a half since the Windows Phone Marketplace opened for business for developers to create and publish apps.  Without a doubt, there have been a few hiccups, but the great thing about the Marketplace team is that they have responded to multiple points of feedback and have acted on it.  In fact, I just found out that joining the Marketplace as an individual publisher has become a whole lot easier!

    When the Marketplace opened, there were a large number of traditional Microsoft platform developers that signed up for accounts so they could publish apps and games for Windows Phone.  Since then, the health of the app ecosystem has consistently grown stronger with each passing day – the Marketplace actually now has over 50,000 apps and is growing at an increasingly faster clip.  This is a feat in of itself that none of our competitors can say a year into their phone platform being commercially available.

    Since then, the Marketplace product team have tweaked the experience for publishers to make it easier and more valuable to invest in the platform, with growing the number of markets that apps that can be sold in, abolishing the need to fill out a paper-based W8BEN US IRS form to get the revenue from your apps (there are still some things you need to do according to US tax law, but this process has become much better).

    And just today, I found out that individuals signing up for a Marketplace account are no longer required to go through the GeoTrust identity verification step to finish your Marketplace registration (companies still do, however).  This is good news as it means that you don’t have to wait to submit apps to the Marketplace for certification anymore.  Once you’ve signed up, your account status will appear as “Account Pending” until you actually submit your first app for certification.  Once you’ve done that, then your account goes live.

    This isn’t breaking news, but it is something that I found interesting!

    Thanks to Adam Bell (@b3ll) for the tip!

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    2 in 1! A Metro primer and a webcast.

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    If you waited on reading my 5-part Metro and Mobile app design series until the final post, there’s great news in that you can now read each of them online.  Also, if you want an overview of the developer perspective of Windows Phone, from a development standpoint as well as a Marketplace and marketing strategy standpoint, I will be conducting an in-depth webcast on this on Thursday, January 19th, 2012.

    metroLast week I published a five-part series on Metro and mobile app design in general.  It has received a great deal of interest and I wanted to make sure that everyone that was interested in reading the full series knew where to find it.  As a result, you can find the 5-part series here:

     

    Finally, as a heads-up, I will be conducting a webcast on developing for Windows Phone 7.5 on Thursday, January 19th at starting at 1PM ET (10AM PT).  In this webcast, I will be talking about how to develop apps for Windows Phone 7.5, discussing the Marketplace and strategies for making your app more marketable on the Marketplace and I’ll probably smatter in some of the concepts I talked about in my blog series above as well for good measure.  If you’re interested in joining me, you can register for free – I’ll “see” you there!

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    Making users awesome in the moment

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    Have you ever sat down and really thought about what made games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band so successful?  Certainly the challenge of competition had something to do with it.  But at its very heart, all those games are is a challenge to hit the right coloured key on a device (guitar, drumkit or otherwise) at the right moment.  That’s it.  So why did those games achieve such popularity?  Well, it doesn’t take much to realize that these games cater to our inner fantasy of being a rock star.  Seriously, who hasn’t thought of how awesome it would be to be performing in front of 50,000 screaming fans that love your every move?  These games have achieved making users awesome in the moment.  As a mobile app/game developer, if you can achieve that same emotional connection to your user with your app, I’m guessing your app will be quite successful too!

    Mobile apps and games are interesting things.  Around 5 years ago (not that long ago!), mobile apps and games were considered niche and not many people paid attention to it.  Then Apple came along and changed the game with the iPhone.  A stream of consciousness that every mobile platform company had finally awoke.  Apple got there first, but now there are many other great mobile platforms (like Windows Phone) with great and increasing momentum and how these platforms support their application and game ecosystems has become just as important as the OS experience itself.

    Windows Phone is a now a modern smartphone platform with features that are on par as well as ahead of our competitors.  We also have amazing velocity with our app ecosystem, having hit over 50,000 applications in our marketplace in just over 1 year of availability.  Clearly, developers see the value.

    But one of the things that Microsoft is keenly aware of is making sure that good quality applications are prevalent in the Marketplace rather than 20,000 “Hello World” apps or apps of equally dubious value.  This is an area where Windows Phone is doing very well.  A good number of the app developers on the Marketplace have embraced and found out that their success is tied to making their users awesome in the moment.

    awesome

    It is pretty obvious if you take the bullet points above and integrate them into your mobile app that you will likely have more success with its adoption than if you didn’t.  These ideas are not Metro-specific or even Windows Phone-specific; they are true of any mobile platform.  But what do these points really mean?

    Don’t make the user think about the interface: Interfaces can be minimalistic or busy depending on the goal of the app.  Always remember, however, that regardless of how busy the interface is, the goal is to ensure the user doesn’t have to think about how to use the app!  Make the app intuitive.  Make it fun.  Make it easy.  Remember the quote I used in the first post in this five-post series?  A user does not want to use your app. A user wants to have used your app.  The quicker a user can get done what they need with your app, the happier they will be.

    Deal with complex tasks, but insulate the user from the complexity:  Your mobile app may do rocket science in the background but the intent is to insulate the user from that complexity.

    Make accomplishing a goal easier:  The intent of a mobile application is to get stuff done quickly.  Always keep in mind the form factor you are dealing with; simple is usually better and reduction of complexity is key.

    Help users be awesome in the moment: I’ve talked about this quite a bit already so I’ll finish with this – creating an emotional connection with a user for your app is critical to its adoption.  The phone is a deeply personal piece of technology.  We all tend to choose which phone we use and its often our own choice as to which apps we use the most to get things done.  When a user downloads your app, they are hoping that your app will make them awesome.  Always keep that in mind.

    Achievement

    This post is the fifth and final post in a series of posts on Metro found on this blog. The first post (“Unlocking the motivation of your mobile app user”) can be found here. The second (“My app has principles – understanding the Metro design principles”) can be found here. The third (“Isn’t “tile” just another word for “icon”? Infography vs iconography explained.”) can be found here.  The fourth post (“Going with the flow… Using Metro to control the experience”) can be found here.

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    Going with the flow… Using Metro to control the experience

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    Figuring out the flow of your mobile app is tough but it’s key to the experience. Without good app flow your app will be tough to use and users will get annoyed with it.  Annoyed users tend not to use the app that annoys them.  In fact, there’s a statistic that only 1 in 100 apps downloaded by a user actually gets opened a second time – those aren’t good odds, so anything you can do to entice the user to come back will increase its chance of success. A way to help drive a positive app experience on Windows Phone is to follow the guidance provided by the Metro design language.  This post talks about what Metro can do to help you create a great navigation experience for your app.

    Even before you do layouts for each screen of your app, chances are you are charting out the navigation of your app.  Which screen goes where, how to determine under what conditions the user may go to the next step, etc.  It certainly sounds trivial as it’s written, but in truth it’s one of the hardest tasks to do right in app design. 

    The flow of your app very much defines its character, more so than any screen.

    Metro navigation guidance comes from 5 separate areas, each of which are related but focus on separate components of application flow.

    sysnav

    HubSpokeHub and Spoke Model:  The intent behind the hub and spoke model is that you have a home screen for your app that basically all other screens are navigated to in a linear fashion.  That is to say, you get to each screen in your app by following a line.  There are no short-circuits in your navigation structure.  If you take a look at the image to the right, the main screen is the one that is green.  As you can see, the correct navigation structure for the app follows the black lines to the other screens (also black).  A “short circuit”, the line in red with the “x” through it, creates a loop that can confuse navigation (and even potentially break some of the Marketplace certification guidelines on back button functionality).

    It’s also important to note that the structure found in the image above can be recursive in nature.  What I mean by this is that one of the black screens may even be replaced with a copy of this diagram (or another hub/spoke structure), with the green screen being one of the black screens.  That being said, I caution you on making navigation structure between screens as simple as possible; complexity breeds confusion and confusion creates frustration, leading the user to abandon your app’s use.

    hardwareTrust the Hardware: You may have noticed that every single modern Windows Phone device (i.e.:  any Windows Phone 7 or higher versioned device) has only 3 hardware buttons on the front.  Yes, these devices may have various other hardware buttons on the sides of the device, but only 3 appear on its face.  These 3 hardware buttons (shown on the right), are the Back button, the Home button and the Search button.  Each are easy to understand – “Back” sends you to the previous screen or out of the app if you are on the app’s first screen.  “Home” sends you to the home screen of the phone, regardless of what screen you’re on at that point in time.  “Search” invokes the bing search app, regardless of where in your current app you’re in.

    The reason this is important is because the first two buttons in particular provide a consistent understanding of navigation to the user regardless of which app he/she is using.  You must adhere to their functionality in order for your app to pass certification.  In other words, do not create your own soft key back buttons or soft key home buttons.  Use the hardware for the purpose that it has been built for.

    Avoid Traps, Loops and Phantom Pages: As I stated before, each of these guidance areas are separate but related.  This area of guidance actually is a sum of the two points above.  Traps are described as getting to a screen without a natural way to get out.  You can fix this by implementing the back button functionality in your app properly.  Loops refer to avoiding short circuits (the red line and x in the Hub and Spoke Model diagram) that may create loops in your navigation.  Phantom pages refers to making sure that there is actually a natural way to get to every screen in your app.  If there isn’t a natural way to get to that page, it is extraneous and should be removed.  It also refers to pages with little-to-no purpose.  In reviewing the content of each of your screens, ask yourself if the content is better served as part of another screen, thereby eliminating that phantom page altogether (and reducing complexity in the process.

    predictableBe Predictable:  Try to make your application flow predictable enough that your user can anticipate what the next screen will be.  Conversely, make your app easy to understand with the back button.  If you have to press the back button of your app more than 4 or 5 times to get to the main screen of your app, your app is likely too complex or the flow of the app could be better architected.  Also, always implement the hardware back button functionality properly in your app; as discussed above in “Trust the Hardware”, the back button is how you should get to the previous screen if no action is taken on the current screen.

    Being predictable also refers to maintaining a consistent experience for your app even when its use is interrupted by events such as a phone call, low battery, the user pressing the Home screen or other event that causes the app to exit.  Your app should exit gracefully by saving state as appropriate (including tombstoning techniques).  This will increase the chances of your app being able to return the user back to the screen and state the app was left at before its interruption.

    integratedIntegrated Experiences:  Some of the more interesting features of Windows Phone are its hubs.  Hubs are areas of the phone OS that collect common information so that the user does not have to go to multiple locations or apps on the phone to get the information or content he/she is looking for.  The great thing about these hubs is that you as an application developer can integrate features of your app to make use of hubs.  The reason why this is important is twofold:

    1. Hubs contain functionality that allows your app to use features without recreating the wheel.  For example, reading information from a single contact that may come from multiple sources like Exchange, Live Mail, GMail, Facebook and LinkedIn. Your app can read this information from the People hub.  Another example, like the one in the image to the right, is integrating music media into the music app (Slacker in this case).
    2. By integrating your app with these hubs, your application experience feels even more like an experience that is native to the phone OS itself.  Studies have shown that the adoption of an application is increased when the application feels like a true extension of the operating system, as if the app was always part of the OS.

     

    By managing the flow of your application through these points of Metro guidance, your app will feel more natural and native to Windows Phone.  This in turn will create a more enjoyable and productive experience for your users while in your app!

    UPDATEArturo Toledo has just published an in-depth view of Hub and Spoke design (and linked to this post as well!) in his 31 Weeks of Windows Phone Metro Design series (a MUST READ for any Windows Phone dev or designer).  I strongly encourage you to take a look at it!

    This post is the fourth in a series of posts on Metro found on this blog. The first post (“Unlocking the motivation of your mobile app user”) can be found here. The second (“My app has principles – understanding the Metro design principles”) can be found here.  The third (“Isn’t “tile” just another word for “icon”? Infography vs iconography explained.”) can be found here. The fifth and final post (“Making users awesome in the moment”) can be found here.

  • Canadian Mobile Developers' Blog

    Isn’t “tile” just another word for “icon”? Infography vs iconography explained.

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    Icons are everywhere.  Literally everywhere.  They have become as mainstream as apple pie and any time we’re in front of a computer or other digital device, chances are you’re launching an app through an icon.  But what if there was a better way?

    We are inundated with icons wherever we go.  On the PC desktop, on tablets, on websites, on phones and pretty much everywhere else.  Icons are very useful as they are an abstraction of a concept that our brains can associate with that makes it easy to understand and launch an app.

    But as an abstraction of a concept, all an icon does is act as a gateway to the user to launch an app.  It doesn’t provide any real information.  When we introduced Windows Phone, we also introduced the concept of the “tile”.  A tile is much more than an icon.  In the very base case, a tile is like an icon, but to you as an Windows Phone application publisher, the tile can become much, much more.  The intent of a tile is to provide information to the user, not just an abstraction of a concept.  This is what we call being infographic vs. iconographic.

    Infographic

    The intent of Live Tiles is to present information that the user can act upon.  The tile becomes more than a a picture; it becomes something that allows the user to find information about that particular app without even getting in it.  For example, looking at the Windows Phone start screen (right-most phone screen), without getting into an app I know that that I have:

    • 2 missed phone calls
    • 3 new text messages
    • 25 unread emails from Exchange
    • A picture from a family hike (that may be posted by me or one of my friends on Facebook)
    • Pictures of some of my recent contacts on my People hub

    All of that information at a single glance, without needing to open a single app.  As an app developer targeting Windows Phone, you can take advantage of Live Tiles in your app to drive further value for your users and differentiate your app over others in the Marketplace.

    If you want to find out how to use Live Tiles in your apps, you can find more information on programming with Live Tiles here.

    To see live tiles in action, take a look at the video below by Daniel Egan, a colleague of mine in the US:

    Daniel Egan demonstrates how Live Tiles on Windows Phone works.

    This post is the third in a series of posts on Metro found on this blog. The first post (“Unlocking the motivation of your mobile app user”) can be found here.  The second (“My app has principles – understanding the Metro design principles”) can be found here.   The fourth post (“Going with the flow… Using Metro to control the experience”) can be found here. The fifth and final post (“Making users awesome in the moment”) can be found here.

  • Canadian Mobile Developers' Blog

    A look back at 2011: How the Windows Phone Marketplace performed

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    This infographic can be found on the Windows Team blog, but it’s a great summary of how the Marketplace formed in 2011 and what was popular (and what wasn’t):

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    My app has principles – understanding the Metro design principles

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    Metro is gaining popularity as a way to create compelling app designs for Windows Phone.  It’s theme is distinct and very oriented towards providing the user with information.  At the same time, given its emphasis on information, it is more than just presenting data on the screen.  A well-built Metro app follows a set of principles that make the app truly flow and through that makes the app useful.

    The marketing for Windows Phone often proclaims it as the glance and go platform.  The intent of this catch phrase is to convey the fact that you can get information from your phone in only a very short amount of time looking at it.  And from that quick glance and the information you retain from it, you can decide the course of action you want to take from it, be it opening your email client to check your email, find out who called you, answer a Twitter message, or even grab that umbrella because your weather app told you that it’s raining outside.  The platform really tries to live up to that glance and go mantra.

    But how does an app use Metro to achieve the glance and go goal? Like life, there is really no one answer to that question; your creativity as the author of the app plays a distinct role in this process and guides it to its finish.  That said, free reign to do whatever you want can lead to issues with the experience the app provides its users.

    With great power comes great responsibility.

    That’s where the Metro Design Principles come in.

    MetroPrinciples

    The principles as laid out in the graphic above are meant to provide you with a set of guidelines for building your app using Metro the right way.  What it is not is a blueprint.  The guidelines above are not meant to define your app or its personality; the intent is to allow you room to express the creativity of your app.

    So, with that said, here is a brief description of the principles as laid out above:

    Clean, Light, Open, Fast: This refers to the flow of the app.  How is the experience of the app from the user perspective?  Is it responsive and dynamic? Is it inviting and usable?

    Celebrate Typography: Rarely is text mistaken for art (at least in the visual sense; in a literary sense it is absolutely – one of my personal favourites of literary text as art is Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth, but I digress…).  In Metro, however, text is very much artful.  Because Metro is very text-driven (again, due to its focus on information), how you use fonts and how you place text on the screen is very important.  That said, your app should not be only text; this is a common misconception with Metro.  Use text wisely.  Use it as much as you need it and no more.  Make sure that the text flows with other screen assets like images, video, buttons, etc.  It should look and feel natural.

    Alive and In Motion:  This principle follows closely with Clean, Light, Open, Fast.  Your app should not feel or be static.  Use animation (but not too much to cause negative distraction).  Use of colour is important (you know those apps in the Marketplace that are black backgrounds with white text and not much else?  Yeah, those apps may look “metro-ey”, but they are not really Metro). Make sure your app invites interaction with the user.  Your app should compel the user to explore and use your app.

    Content not Chrome: When we say “chrome” we speak of the facilities of the app meant to provide peripheral functionality.  Chrome in this context are things like app toolbars, system information like battery life remaining, URL bars, etc.  Your app should focus on giving the prime real estate of your app to its content.  Content is king.  Not buttons.

    Authentically Digital: In the times of the Renaissance, there was an explosion of discovery that made a permanent impression on the human condition and how we view ourselves.  Art, science, philosophy, social awareness – all of it was viewed through new lenses with the guidance of genius of the likes of Galilei, Michaelangelo, da Vinci, Machiavelli, Copernicus and others. The world was their canvas and the expression in their creations were limited only by their own creativity.  We, on the other hand, are not afforded the boundlessness that these great thinkers had in the physical sense.  The unlimited potential of the apps we create are truly found in their digital nature.  This is because apps are limited by the form factors that they are housed in.  The art and awesome power of the app are found in the bits that are interpreted by the hardware.

    The content of this post is just a very brief description of the Metro Design Principles.  If you want a truly immersive description of them, I encourage you to check out Arturo Toledo’s post titled 31 Weeks of Metro Design | #1 Metro Design Principles and the Metro Design Language.

    This post is the second in a series of posts on Metro found on this blog.  The first post (“Unlocking the motivation of your mobile app user”) can be found here.  The third post, "Isn’t “tile” just another word for “icon”? Infography vs iconography explained." can be found here. The fourth post (“Going with the flow… Using Metro to control the experience”) can be found here. The fifth and final post (“Making users awesome in the moment”) can be found here.

  • Canadian Mobile Developers' Blog

    Unlocking the motivation of your mobile app user

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    When you look at successful mobile apps and games, there are a few common traits that you will notice in them.  They all achieve a certain set of goals that may be subtle or completely obvious (or both!). If you harness the power of motivation for your app user, you have created an experience for your app that will make that user use your app more often than others, make them champions for your app to their friends and family, and generate word of mouth that will increase the popularity of your app in ways that traditional marketing simply can’t do.

    At the heart of things, mobile applications are simple.  They solve problems that may be simple or complex, but the way apps solve problems is by making it simple for the user to get done what they need to do quickly.  Really, that’s the crux of it and it’s a bit of a corollary to traditional (i.e.:  desktop/web) apps:

    A user does not want to use your app.  A user wants to have used your app.

    The quicker a user can use your app and achieve the results he/she was looking for, the happier he/she will be and the more likely he/she will use your app again.  Just think about the mobile scenarios below:

    • Typing an email on your phone
    • Finding the score of last night’s hockey game
    • Getting 3 stars on a level on Angry Birds
    • Checking in on Foursquare
    • Selling stock
    • Sending a tweet

    Success (in my opinion) is dictated largely on the user’s ability to do any of the above as quickly as possible. 

    So now that we have established that task completion speed is key to the successful adoption of an app or game, let’s dive more deeply into the basic motivations of any mobile app.  If you joined me on the latest D3 episode with my partner in crime, Jonathan Rozenblit, you will have heard me talk about this.  These motivations are as follows:

    motivations

    The three motivations, as described by Josh Clark in his amazing book Tapworthy, are that every user of a mobile app is one or more of the following:

    • Microtasking:  The user is looking to get simple tasks done during the white spaces in between larger tasks.  For example, sending a quick email while waiting for the bus or playing a game while waiting for the meeting room to free up.
    • Local:  The user is looking to find something that is close to him/her.
    • Boredom:  A user is trying to find something more interesting to do at that very moment.

    If your app has an answer to one or more of these motivations and you’ve implemented it the right way, then guess what? You may have a marketplace winner on your hands! If your app doesn’t satisfy any of these motivations or doesn’t execute well on them, then you probably should rethink how your app should work.

    By the way, if you find it odd that I’m talking about a book targeting iOS as a way to create successful apps on Windows Phone, the truth of the matter is that learnings from this book are very relevant to building apps on any mobile app platform.

    This post is the first in a series of posts on Metro found on this blog. The second (“My app has principles – understanding the Metro design principles”) can be found here. The third post, "Isn’t “tile” just another word for “icon”? Infography vs iconography explained." can be found hereThe third post, "Isn’t “tile” just another word for “icon”? Infography vs iconography explained." can be found here.   The fourth post (“Going with the flow… Using Metro to control the experience”) can be found here. The fifth and final post (“Making users awesome in the moment”) can be found here.

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    2012: The year of the Windows Phone app and how we’ll help get you there

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    Happy New Year! With 2012 upon us and a fresh outlook on what a new year can bring, you might have a few ideas up your sleeve for apps/games that you’ve always wanted to build. Windows Phone should definitely be one of the platforms you target for your upcoming masterpieces; given the momentum the app ecosystem for the platform is seeing now is the time to seize the moment and publish.  In this post I’ll give you a glimpse of what we will be providing on this blog to help you get to your goal.

    20122011 was an exciting year for Microsoft with a number of new and updated platforms announced and introduced.  One of these platforms getting a lot of coverage not only from Microsoft but also in the press is Windows Phone 7.5.  With the major update that was launched in the second half of the year (version 7.5, also commonly referred to by it’s former code name “Mango”), the platform reached a level of maturity and capability that puts it on par and even ahead of its staunchest competitors like iOS and Android.  This update provided developers with a way to build truly innovative experiences that users will not only love, but come back to again and again.

    If you’ve been interested in targeting Windows Phone for your apps and games this year, now is the time to take the plunge.  The tools are free, we have lots of guidance and get started material for you to learn and get going quickly, great incentives for Canadian developers like The Developer Movement and a platform that literally is fun to build on.

    Even with all that, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed and not know where to start.  To help you with that, the rest of this post will give you an idea of what we will be doing to help you in 2012 get to where you want to be.  The information below will provide you with overviews of some of the things we will be providing you online.

    Video Tutorials

    videoYou can expect to find a wide variety of “snack-sized” (i.e.:  short and to-the-point) video tutorials on how to take advantage of the Windows Phone platform.  The intent of these videos is to provide you with information that you can take immediate action on in your apps.  We won’t be building full apps in these videos; rather you can expect us to focus on features of the platform you can take advantage of in your apps.

    Guest Posts

    guestIt’s all well and good to read posts or watch videos from Microsoft employees to give you guidance on how to build your Windows Phone apps and games.  Getting the information straight from the company is the only way to get official product information. That said, there are developers just like you that have real world experience developing for the platform.  The good, the bad and the tricky.  We will be providing guest posts from community members that are building apps/games on Windows Phone (whether they are new to the platform or veterans with lots of apps under their belts).  These posts will be authored by people that have built or are building apps for Windows Phone, have built apps for other mobile platforms (like iOS, Android and the web) and have hard-earned guidance that they can share with you so you don’t fall into traps that can make you spin your wheels.

    Interviews

    interviewIn addition to guest posts and video tutorials, we’ll be conducting interviews (video, podcast or text-based) with some of the leading Windows Phone developers in Canada (and believe me, some of these people are the best Windows Phone developers on the planet – Canada is well-represented in the Windows Phone developer community).  In these interviews we’ll be talking about their experiences targeting Windows Phone, their experiences porting apps from other platforms to Windows Phone and their ideas of the mobile app industry in general. 

    Case Studies

    caseWe’ll be providing you with details about specific Windows Phone apps and games that were built by Canadian developers to give you an idea of how they achieved the success they did.  In addition to that, we’ll be providing information on some of the choices they made from a technical, business and marketing perspective, and more importantly, why they made those choices (and whether they were the right choices – nobody is perfect and it’s usually the wrong choices that make for the best learnings).

     

    So, does this sound interesting and valuable to you?  We have a few tricks up our sleeves that we’re working on as well, but hopefully this piqued your interest!  If you have other ideas we’re also listening, so if you suggest something that’s doable, we’ll take you up on it.

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