Pillar 1: Unique Concept or Idea
But all the apps have been written already… This is where I think app Stores are like blogs, they cater for the long tail. Yes the facebook app exists and so does twitter amongst many other popular services but that does not mean you don’t have a unique spin on the idea. Find your pain point and solve it, there are sure to be many, many more Windows users out there that have the same pain. Research your idea thoroughly so that you don’t duplicate something else already available, and figure out ways to bring it to life creatively.
Pillar 2: User Experience and App Design
Without great design principles in place, it’s easy to have an app have a confusing or illogical experience and/or design and overall provide a poor user experience. This starts with the first place the user interacts with the app – in the store. However, this pillar of app design is more than just UI: plan your design from the ground up to be solid including database, infrastructure and what type of application architecture you’ll use.
Pillar 3: Feature Richness
An important concept in differentiating apps built on the Windows platform is implementing the many unique and creative features on Windows 8 or Windows Phone, while keeping a focus on the one specific thing the app is made to do. There are dozens of features of Windows 8 and Windows Phone that you can use to make your app stand out, so make sure you explore them for your app.
Pillar 4: Quality Coding
Without great code underneath the app, the chances of hitting certification errors in security, technical and content compliance increases through bugs, crashes and freezes. Use your design work from Pillar 2 and combine it with great coding practices to ensure you have solidly performing application code.
Pillar 5: Designed for Multiple Devices and Contexts
With the wealth of platforms to choose from, building an app that runs across multiple devices, such as a Windows 8 laptop and a Windows Phone 8 mobile device, is a way to differentiate and bring extra value. So if you have a great mobile app, consider how it might work on Windows 8 too. Also, making sure you take advantage of the multiple contextual views that the platform offers, such as snapped and filled views on Windows 8, is also key.
Pillar 6: Cloud Integration
The cloud is now an integral part to many quality apps, from roaming settings across devices, to using notification services and live tile updates, to storing historical data or even high score lists for games for comparison between players. Great apps will utilize the cloud in appropriate aspects of the app itself, and using Windows Azure as part of the development process makes this a very straightforward proposition.
So there you have it – six great pillars to rest the approach to your app on. If you want to check out the more detailed guide that walks through each of these in detail, including resources and Do’s and Don’ts, check it out here: 6 Pillars of Quality App Development and Design (DreamSpark)