So how do CS students make a beautiful looking Windows 8 application?


The simple answer is they can use this index to quickly find the user experience (UX) guidelines that can help you create a great Windows 8 style app.

Click to download the guidelines This PDF file.

Windows 8 design style

Windows 8 UI style apps are the focal point of the user experience on Windows 8, and great apps share an important set of traits that provide a consistent, elegant, and compelling user experience.

Touch interaction

Metro style app touch interactions

Use touch interactions that keep the user in control and confident, and leverage the screen or device edge so people can confidently find commands. See Touch interaction design.

Snapping and scaling


These features help you create great experiences for every form factor and every viewing option your users have.

  • Flexible layouts: Design for different form factors and let users manipulate the content to fit their needs and preferences. Think of landscape view first so that your app will run on all form factors, but remember that some screens rotate, so optimize the layout of your content for a taller-than-wide view that retains functionality. See Guidelines for layouts.
  • Snapped and fill views: Design for your users' multi-tasking needs. Users want to use your app while they chat, surf the web, watch a movie, or whatever, so make your snapped view useful and maintain context when going between snapped and unsnapped views. See Guidelines for snapped and fill views.
  • Scaling to screens:  Design an app UI that looks great on devices of various sizes—from a small tablet screen, to a medium laptop screen, and all the way up to a large desktop or all-in-one screen. See Guidelines for scaling to screens.
  • Scaling to pixel density: Make sure the images in your app look great when scaled. Windows scales your app to ensure consistent physical sizing regardless of the pixel density of the device. See Guidelines for scaling to pixel density.
  • Resizing: Make sure your app looks great when Windows needs to resize it. Windows automatically resizes your app when the user changes the view state or calls up the soft keyboard. See Guidelines for resizing.
Contracts, charms, and capabilities


Contracts are the glue that binds Metro style apps together and to the system UI. Two apps that have implemented the same contract can work together to complete a broad or complex scenario. Some contracts are represented by charms. See a complete list of app contracts.

Capabilities identify the device features your app uses.

Tiles and notifications



A tile is the front door into an app. Sitting on the Start screen, it is an extension of the app and can provide much more personal and engaging information than a traditional icon. Invest in designing a great tile to draw people into your app.

Provide fresh content through live tiles and notifications to let people feel connected to your app. Make sure you help your users connect with the people and devices that they care about.


Design your app's UI to showcase the content. Minimize distraction and help people get immersed in the content by leaving only the most relevant elements on screen. Following these guidelines will help you provide a consistent, elegant, and compelling user experience.



Transient UI


Text and input

Roaming to the cloud

Multiple devices running Windows 8: laptop, tablet, desktop monitor

Create a continuous experience across devices by roaming data and settings that lets people pick up a task right where they left off and that preserves the UX they care most about, regardless of the device they're using.

  • Roaming: Make it easy for users to use your app everywhere, from their kitchen family PC to their work PC to their personal tablet, by maintaining settings and states with roaming. Additional guidance on roaming can be found in Managing app data and Guidelines for roaming app data.
  • Settings: Consolidate all of your app's settings on one UI surface, and let users configure your app via common mechanism they are already familiar with. See Guidelines for app settings.
  • Single sign-on:  Ensure that users can sign in with their Microsoft account and enjoy a consistent experience on any Windows 8 device they use. See Guidelines for single sign-on and connected accounts.

Every app should always have a solid foundation in order to reach as many people as possible.

  • Splash screen:  Use the splash screen to smooth the transition between when people launch your app and when it's ready for use. The splash screen should subtly reinforce your brand with your users, not distract them or advertise to them. See Guidelines for splash screens.
  • Suspend and resume app state:  Users will switch your app on and off the screen, and Windows will terminate it in the background when it is unused. You should save and resume the app state when possible to maintain context. See Guidelines for app suspend and resume.
  • Auto-launching and "Open With": Launch the default app for a file type or protocol from your app. See Guidelines for file types and protocols.
  • Globalization, localization, and app resources: Windows is used worldwide, so you need to design your app so that resources, such as strings and images, are separated from their code, to help make localization easy. See Guidelines for globalizing your app and Guidelines for app resources.
  • Accessibility: Make your app available to all users regardless of their abilities, disabilities, or preferences. If you use the built-in UI controls, you get accessibility for free. When you need to create custom controls, see Plan for accessibility.
  • App help: Provide help or troubleshooting tips to your users. See Guidelines for app help.
  • Store categories: Learn how to create great apps for specific Windows Store categories, like games or entertainment. See Category guidance.


Teaching Curricula see

Windows 8 resources for UK Developers  see

Windows 8 resources for Gaming Developer see

Comments (1)

  1. Holy smokes, this is a fantastic collection! I'll be linking to this via a blog post today at

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