Choosing the best Tile template for your app for Windows Phone

July 21, 2014

Applies to: Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone Silverlight 8.1 only

This topic will help you decide which template is the best choice for your app’s default Tile on Windows Phone. Knowing early on which template complements your default Tile can mean you’ll need to do less to maintain your app later. For instance, default Tiles can’t be created or deleted programmatically, whereas secondary Tiles can be; if you choose to use change your default Tile template, you’ll need to resubmit your app.

There are three Tile templates available to you – flip, iconic, and cycle.

This topic contains the following sections.

The flip template provides two surfaces in medium and wide sizes to give users lots of info.

Windows Phone Flip Tile template showcase image

Appropriate and inappropriate uses for the flip template

Here are some examples of the flip template put to good use:

  • A weather app that displays the current temperature on the front and the five-day forecast on the back

  • A bus tracking app that shows stop and arrival times on the front and a map of current bus location on the back

The following are examples are improper uses of the flip template:

  • A train app that displays a logo on the front and an arrival time for next train on the back—this doesn’t give the user a “glance and go” experience because the most important info is on the back of the tile

  • A sports score app that shows your favorite team’s game day results that uses the back of the tile to display info unrelated to sports news rather than more in-depth info about the game

For more info about flip template design, see Flip Tile template design guidelines for Windows Phone.

The iconic template displays an image in the center of the Tile, and is designed to reflect the Windows Phone design principles.

Windows Phone Iconic Tile template showcase image

Appropriate and inappropriate uses for the iconic template

Here are some examples of the iconic template put to good use:

  • Messaging, voicemail, news readers, and general communication apps—anything where a count is very important

  • Social networking apps that convey status/timeline updates, waiting notifications, and even status previews

The following examples are improper uses of the iconic template:

  • Updates that rely on images to convey meaning, photo feeds, or anything that a white icon with transparent surrounding doesn’t make sense for

  • Weather apps—they could work as simple weather icons, but you can’t use the count for temperature because it can’t show negative numbers.

For more info about iconic template design, see Iconic Tile template design guidelines for Windows Phone.

The cycle template cycles through individual images (1–9) in the Tile.

Windows Phone Cycle Tile template showcase image

Appropriate and inappropriate uses for the cycle template

Here are some examples of the cycle template put to good use:

  • Photo apps and social photo streams

  • Album art for currently playing artists, songs in a playlist, etc.

The following example is an improper use of the iconic template:

  • A nine-day weather forecast app could work, but images being zoomed and cropped may appear strange in the cycle template. Also, the current forecast temperature may appear in a rotation consisting of up to nine images – this isn’t ideal if you want quick info delivery on the Tile.

For more info about cycle template design, see Cycle Tile template design guidelines for Windows Phone.

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