A while ago I wrote a blog post about an alternative to the Windows Phone Facebook app on Windows Phone. Although to be honest the Windows Phone Facebook app is now pretty good so I don’t see much of a need for this, however the approach used is still useful – in my humble opinion – for other websites.
The ability to pin websites to your start screen is a really useful feature but, as I’m sure you know, the tile used is a snapshot of the webpage as it was displayed on the phone at the time of pinning. Being a picky kind of person I prefer to have a different tile.
Here’s a portion of my Windows Phone’s start screen:
Of the tiles shown here, the ones for Techradar, CVG, The Guardian, BBC News and CNet are all browser shortcuts which launch the mobile versions of those sites. Using them feels just like using an app – the tile reflects the brand, and the site opens to a touch-friendly version optimised for a phone screen. They sit alongside apps in a totally seamless way.
As per the Facebook blog post I used the excellent Wiztiles app to create these shortcuts. I cut and resized logos from the relevant websites and used Wiztiles to set the logos as the shortcut. I used the mobile link from each relevant website as the destination page.
For example, the Techradar page launches http://m.techradar.com/news and the page looks like this:
Now I realise you might not be as picky as I am and may be perfectly happy to just pin a website to your start screen using the default tile. But to me having the logo on the tile makes for a much tidier looking start screen and makes my website pins feel more like apps.