Freda is a labour of love for developer, and its users

freda screenshot

In part three of our ongoing series featuring Windows Phone design consultations, we have Jim Chapman, an independent developer who created Freda, a comprehensive and feature-laden ebook reader app for Windows Phone 8. The free app is truly a labour of love that Jim has developed in his spare time over the past few years.

But during that time, Jim has added so many features and options that the app has become somewhat overloaded for the average user.

Since he is not a professional user experience designer, Jim knew there were places within the app where the user flow was disjointed, and he was keen to learn some ideas for how to make it better.  

Jim had the opportunity to meet with Dave Crawford, design lead at Microsoft, to get advice about how to improve his app.

Watch this short video to see the design consultation between Dave and Jim:

“Freda is a really comprehensive reading app for Windows Phone. It has got so many features inside of it - it is really powerful,” notes Dave. But, “there is so much going on that he needs to simplify it a little bit.”

Reorganize the onscreen controls

Dave likes the use of the panorama control within Freda, but he suggested that Jim consider a redesign to make it easier to use.

Additionally, it was recommended that Jim reorganize the onscreen controls within the app, to show the casual user how to navigate within a book, or do things like change a font size or color.

“There were some great ideas for how to do this in a way that is not too visually messy, and that will look natural to your regular Windows Phone user,” said Jim. 

Design takeaways and suggestions

  1. Use native applications (such as a music app) as a design guide for content (in this case, ebooks). For example, consider adding a “Most Recently Read” pane, like the “Now Playing” function in a music player app.
  2. Optimise the images within the app.
  3. When working with UI components that are unique to Windows Phone such as panorama, consider how it is used in other applications and how it would work in your apps, too.
  4. Recognise and differentiate between different types of people using Freda - whether it is a casual user, or a power user who needs more features. 

Make the most of these design resources  

Are you ready to enhance your Windows Phone app? Start with this video that shows you the best Tips &Tricks from Dave Crawford when it comes designing apps for Windows Phone:

Additional guidance for designing great apps is available in the Windows Phone Dev Center within their Design Library. You can also find sources of inspiration in our Design Gallery.

If you are thinking about apps for the Lumia 1520 and 1320, review our design considerations that help you to optimise your apps for large screen Windows Phone devices.

Additionally, design consultations are available as rewards from our DVLUP program, including an introductory one-hour consultation with the experts from Toledo Design.

You can learn more about Freda - which is available exclusively for Windows Phone and Windows 8 - from the developer’s website.