UI Centric, who recently published the very beautiful Great British Chefs app on Windows 8, didn’t stop there but have just published no less than 6 Time Out apps to help us all navigate around 6 cities across the globe. We caught up with UI Centric’s prolific Director of Service Mr. Dan Ulzhoefer to find out how he took the physical Time Out guides and created some truly innovative apps on Windows 8.

“Since it first published in London in 1968, Time Out has become the world’s most popular weekly listings magazine, with regional editions available across the world. The magazine is an indispensable city guide in any territory in which it has launched, providing inspiration and comprehensive information on how to make the most of the city you’re in, featuring the critic’s pick of the very best events, concerts, movies, restaurants and exhibitions on offer.

UI Centric were engaged to bring Time Out’s reputation for entertaining, in-depth content to the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 platforms. The Windows apps are unique in that they offer users the option of switching between guides for 6 major cities – London, Barcelona, Los Angeles, Mexico, New York and Paris.

The apps focus on discovery, headlining the best and latest happenings in the city of your choice. Users can also find events via ‘What’, ‘Where’ and ‘When’ search functions, with filter options available from the bottom app bar.

Users are also able to book tickets, seats or restaurant tables via the app, share their discoveries via the share charm, and find out where they need to be (and how to get there) using integrated Bing maps for Windows 8 and Nokia Here maps for Windows Phone. Using geo-location, the app can suggest events and places of interest close to the user, via the ‘Nearby Now’ search function.

The application also keeps a history of events that the user has viewed for later reference. Searching is made available via the search charm and semantic zoom enables users to easily navigate through the apps various levels.

We designed and developed both the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8applications in parallel. The differing device form factors do need careful consideration when optimising the User Experience (UX). Rather than simply ‘squeezing’ the content from the pc/tablet to phone form factors, thought has to be given to the way in which the user will interact with the content between devices. Tailored wireframes were produced to detail the UX for both Windows 8 and Windows Phone before moving into design.

Often it’s overlooked that utilising the same team for UX, Design and Development for Windows 8 and Windows Phone will result in tangible efficiencies. This is achieved from the acquired knowledge about the client’s Brand, user requirements, mandatory features and functionalities applicable to any platforms.

From a development perspective, efficiencies were made as we were able to share the business logic and data access code between the two platforms, which made developing the phone app faster as we worked with a code base that was already tested on tablet. A considerable amount of our development focus was given to performance, ensuring that content rich pages loaded quickly and elegantly.

Much of the server side work took place in parallel to the UI development, which was challenging but is one of the many realities of developing in the real world against aggressive timelines. There’s no secret formula to managing challenges like these except for careful planning and regular and open communication to ensure our efforts were in lockstep with that of the clients.”

Find all the free tools and guidance you need to build a Windows 8 app on the Windows 8 dev centre.

Company Bio

UI Centric are a market leading multi-platform User Experience (UX) Solutions Company. We provide services to clients in the United Kingdom, Continental Europe and North America. Our services include Information Architecture (IA), Design, Development, Project Management and Client Services. Additionally we have an in-house state-of-the-art user-testing lab, enabling early testing of UX and design concepts. We’re a Microsoft development partner and have successfully developed over 55+ Windows 8 and Windows Phone and Xbox applications. We are expert in creating digital experiences that blend stunning design and best-in-class User Experience (UX) principles to ensure our client's digital properties work hard to deliver results. We are passionate about making things easier for users, ensuring that they can engage with their favourite brands in the most delightful manner, whenever and however within the contexts of their lives. You can find out more at www.uicentric.com.