The Best Windows Phone Apps 2013: A Designers Collection

September 14, 2013 — Leave a comment

In the name of research, I spent 6+ weeks away from my Android and used a Windows 8 phone. Last time I tried this in 2011, it was a huge failure. The hardware was faulty, the app selection tiny, and I couldn’t take any screenshots.

Things have improved, and this stint with the Windows 8 Phone wasn’t too bad. But the apps in general are about 2 years behind in design maturity compared to android and iOs apps.

That said, I did find some exceptional apps that I wanted to share with fellow mobile designers & developers:

CocktailFlow

CocktailFlow_menu

CocktailFlow_search

CocktailFlow_search_results

CocktailFlow_recipe

CocktailFlow_community

CocktailFlow_similar

CocktailFlow_MyBar

CocktailFlow_cabinate_mixers

Why is this a great Windows Phone App?

CocktailFlow follows the spirit of the UX guidelines for Windows while incorporating some unique design elements like the visual representation of My Liquor Cabinet.

Available here

Brit + Co

BritBRITCO_browse_tiles

BRITCO_

BRITCO_article

BRITCO_drilldown

BRITCO_health

BRITCO_hot

BRITCO_share

Why is this a great Windows Phone App?

Like many content sites, Brit + Co has a deep hierarchy, which can be a challenge to create a clear navigation strategy for. But they have perfectly implemented the structure and navigation recommend for Windows Phone Apps. Get familiar up on the design guidelines here.

Available here

Maluuba

Maluuba_restaurants

Maluuba_explore

Maluuba_myday

Maluuba_restaurant

Maluuba_set_alarm

Maluuta_reminders

maluuba_calendar

Maluuba_search

Why is this a great Windows Phone App?

Maluuba is an example of a productivity tool (versus a content application like Brit +Co) that has done a fantastic job implementing the structure and navigation recommend for Windows Phone Apps.

Available here

NewEgg

NewEgg_home

NewEgg_item_added_to_cart

NewEgg_Guided_Search

NewEgg_price_filter

NewEgg_advanced_search

NewEgg_comparison

NewEgg_results_filtered

NewEgg_sort

Why is this a great Windows Phone App?

This is hands down the best Windows retail application. Everything from the shopping cart to the guided search and advanced search are well designed both from a IA and IX perspective. They also offer a nice “compare” feature. Amazon and other retailers who are struggling with the new Windows guidelines should consider redesigning their application with NewEgg as a model.

Available here

SkyScanner

skyscanner_mobile_web

skyscanner_select_destination

skyscanner_search

skyscanner_departure_times

skyscanner_filters_more

skyscanner_results

skyscanner_overview

skyscanner_filters

skyscanner_select_flights

Skyscanner_booking

Why is this a great Windows Phone App?

Typically Kayak, Expedia and more recently Hipmunk have had the best mobile apps, but I was surprised to find this little gem for my Windows Phone. Love the simple booking process and the nice visualization of the pricing for selecting the legs of the flight. The only place it falls down is at the end, it redirects to the SkyScanner mobile site to book, but it doesn’t remember any of data that was just entered in the native app.

Available here

Hipstamatic Oggl

hipstamtic_filters

Hipsomatic_image

Hipsomatic_library

hipstamatic_profile

Why is this a great Windows Phone App?

I included Hipstamatic because it is a choice example of an app that deviated from the Windows Design Guide to structure their custom controls. The current guidelines do not accomodate nested or contextual tools, but Hipstamatic created an elegant, intuitive touch solution.

Available here

TOSHL

Toshl_welcome

Toshl_signup

Toshl_login

Toshl_contextual_help

Toshl_setup

Toshl_add_expense

Toshl_expense_detail

Toshl_setup_reminder

Why is this a great Windows Phone App?

Great onboarding experience for a productivity tool centered on a topic most people would rather not be dealing with (bookkeeping, bill pay, finances, ick…).

Available here

ESPN Hub

ESPNHUB

ESPNHUB_scores

ESPNHUB_gamecast

ESPNHUB_the_latest

ESPNHUB_menu

ESPNHUB_top_videos

Why is this a great Windows Phone App?

I included Espn Hub because of the way they intermingled the suggested Windows navigation structure with a custom menu control that slides out on the left. It is similar to the off canvas control seen in other OSs in apps including Path and Facebook.

Available here

HungryNow

Hungry_NowHungryNow_about

HungryNow_map_view

HungryNow_starbucks

HungryNow_starbucks_details

HungryNow_settings

Why is this a great Windows Phone App?

Hungry Now is one of the very few apps that was originally designed for the iPhone that ports quite well to Windows (and could work fine on Android and BlackBerry too). Granted it is a single screen interface so they aren’t struggling with the hierarchal challenges most other apps face, but they have designed a simple touch interface that is OS neutral.

Available here

And of course, the usual suspects: Facebook Beta, LinkedIn, Evernote, Pandora, UrbanSpoon, Amazon Fresh… Check out the presentation on Slideshare and see the rest. Even if you’re not working on a Windows app now, you might be inspired.

If I’ve missed any great ones, please share it with me and you’ll be added to a drawing for a free copy of the Mobile Design Pattern Gallery 2nd Edition.

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