Microsoft design principles

Applies to Windows and Windows Phone

Here are five principles for building great Windows Store apps. Use these principles when you plan your app, and always ensure that your design and development choices live up to them.

Pride in craftsmanship

Piano keyboard, to imply pride in craftsmanship

Engineer the experience to be complete, thorough, and polished at every stage. Devote time and energy to small things that are seen often by many of your users.

  • Sweat the details.
  • Make using apps safe and reliable.
  • Use balance, symmetry, and hierarchy.
  • Align your app layout to the grid, the new layout for apps.
  • Make your app accessible to the widest possible audience, including people who have impairments or disabilities.

Be fast and fluid

city view to imply fast and fluid

Let people interact directly with content. Respond to actions quickly with matching energy. Bring life to the experience by creating a sense of continuity and telling a story through meaningful use of motion.

  • Be responsive to user interaction and ready for the next interaction.
  • Design for touch and direct interaction.
  • Delight your users with motion.
  • Smoothly connect to what comes before and after.

Authentically digital

digital view of primary colors, to imply authentically digital

Exemplify the capabilities of hardware and software. Take full advantage of the digital medium. Remove physical boundaries to create experiences that are more efficient and effortless than reality. Being authentically digital means embracing the fact that apps are pixels on a screen. It means designing with colors and images that go beyond the limits of the real world.

  • Be dynamic and alive with communication.
  • Use typography beautifully.
  • Use bold, vibrant colors.
  • Connect to the cloud so that your users can stay connected to each other.

Do more with less

spiral shell, to imply do more with less

You can do more with less by reducing your design to its essence. Create a clean and purposeful experience by leaving only the most relevant elements on screen so people can be immersed in the content.

  • Be great at something instead of mediocre at lots of things.
  • Put content before chrome.
  • Be visually focused and direct, letting people get immersed in what they love, and they will explore the rest.
  • Inspire confidence in users.
  • Reduce redundancy in your UI.

Win as one

hive hexagon, to imply win as one

Work with other apps, devices, and the system to complete scenarios for people. For example, let people get content from one app and share it with another. Take advantage of what people already know, like standard touch gestures and charms, to provide a sense of familiarity, control, and confidence.

  • Use the UI model.
  • Work with other apps to complete scenarios by participating in app contracts.
  • Use our tools and templates to promote consistency.

Following these five Microsoft design principles will help you make the best choices when you design your app.

Related topics

Planning Windows Store apps
Navigation design for Windows Store apps
Commanding design for Windows Store apps
Touch interaction design
UX guidelines for Windows Store apps
Making great Windows Store apps
Accessibility for Windows Store apps



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