Seven Important Tips To Help Your App Ace Certification

windows phoneAs you ready your Windows Phone 7 app for submission, check out these top seven tips to help your app sail through certification testing the first time.

  1. Grok the Docs
    Understand the policies and requirements that all applications need to meet to pass certification testing. The Windows Phone 7 application certification requirements are posted here.
  2. Know Your Imagery and Iconography
    • Test Case 4.6 – Screen shots should encompass the full 480 x 800 dimension, must be a direct capture of the phone screen or emulator, and need to use the correct aspect ratio.
    • Test Case 4.5 – Avoid using the default Windows Mobile icons.
    • All Test Cases – Do not use transparent PNG image files for application screenshots
  3. Pick Your Panorama
    Including a panorama image is optional but recommended. With the image, we can improve your application’s visibility if we decide to feature your app and panorama image within the Marketplace catalog.
  4. Toast Notification
    • Test Case 6.2 – The user must have the ability to disable toast notification.
    • On first use of the HttpNotificationChannel.BindtoShellToast method, the application must ask the user for explicit permission to receive a toast notification.
  5. Applications Running Under a Locked Screen
    • Test Case 6.3 – This only applies to applications that continue to execute when running under the locked screen and does not apply to applications in a suspended state.
  6. Back Button
    • Test Case 5.2.4 – Back button behavior is one of the most typical failures.
    • A common failure is when pressing the back button during application runtime exits the application instead of returning the application to a previous page or closing the presented menu or dialog.
  7. Themes
    • Test Case 5.1.1 – Avoid controls and text wash-out by testing applications with the Theme Background set to “light.”

Tell Your Users What to Expect

Another great way to reduce certification time is to ensure that your application descriptions are as accurate as possible, and that you use correct branding when referring to Windows Phone.

For example, if you offer both fully licensed and trial versions of your application, be sure to explain the differences in functionality or usage limits between the versions. If you reference the phone operating system in the description, it should be called “Windows Phone 7” rather than “Windows Mobile” or “Windows 7 Phone.”

Making your descriptions as accurate as possible and complying with brand requirements will help us move your app through the certification process and into the hands of users as quickly as possible.

Best Practices for Application Marketing

As you submit your apps and games to the Marketplace, now is a great time to focus on helping users find and download your apps. App Hub now includes a set of best practices for application marketing as part of the app submission walkthrough. These guidelines include some of the things that we look for when choosing apps to feature within Marketplace, as well as steps you can take on your own to make your apps more visible. Check out these best practices to ramp up your app’s downloads!

New Download for Windows Phone 7 Button

Windows Button

One of the best marketing practices mentioned above is using the new “Download for Windows Phone 7” button to help users find your application. You can download the Windows Phone 7 button kit here. The kit includes the button artwork in three colors, five languages, and five sizes; the button usage policies; a pointer to the deep linking documentation; and our branding guidelines. The button artwork uses the Windows Phone 7 font and download icon so that your app is immediately recognized as part of the Windows Phone Marketplace.

The Download for Windows Phone 7 button is designed to be used with deep linking, so that clicking the button will open the product details page of your app, either within the Marketplace on the phone or on the Zune marketplace client if clicked on a PC with Zune. To ensure that your app’s product details page is displayed properly, please use the deep link format described here when promoting or sharing your app with users. Note that creating a deep link requires your application ID, which is available within App Hub once your app has been submitted to the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Bruce D. Kyle
ISV Architect Evangelist | Microsoft Corporation

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