Microsoft outlines how to scale UWP apps for the best experience on multiple devices

Kareem Anderson

Microsoft has been encouraging developers from across a multitude of platforms such as the web, Win32, Android, iOS, and Office, to partake in its vision of a truly universal app experiences using its UWP environment.

With specific emphasis on the booming mobile development market, particularly smartphones, Microsoft is seeking to educate would-be developers on how to scale their phone app designs to fit the growing number of UWP supported devices. Furthermore, Microsoft is targeting some of its unsung heroes from the Windows Phone days by helping them transition their apps over to the new world of Windows 10 UWP apps.

In a new walkthrough sort of tutorial post, the Windows Dev team escorts developers through the process of bringing their smartphone-oriented experiences to screens such as tablets, PCs, laptops, the Surface Hub, and HoloLens.

Developers are given some tips and examples based on years of user engagement research that focus on the use of visual design patterns, pivots, repositioning of UI and content elements, placement of navigation UI and much more.

Adaptive UI design
Adaptive UI design

In an earlier post, we looked at technical tips for porting from Silverlight Phone to UWP. In this post, we’re going to look at design considerations when migrating from a phone screen to larger displays. In addition to a quick tour of adaptive design practices, we will also look at the appropriate visual design patterns to use when transforming six common Windows Phone Silverlight app designs into an equivalent UWP design that will work across a variety of Windows 10 devices:

  • App tabs (Pivot)
  • Feed reader app
  • Ebook / Ezine app
  • Master-detail
  • Lifestyle app
  • Utility app

Bringing a Windows Phone Silverlight app over to the Universal Windows Platform involves many design considerations that didn’t come up when initially building it. This post provides strategies for redesigning the most common Windows Phone app categories. Sometimes a little bit of resizing is all you need to get your phone app to look good on a desktop or larger device. Sometimes, when a common UI is simply not possible, it may require building distinct user experiences for different screen sizes. The following links provide even more information about adaptive UIs, UWP controls and Windows 10 design best practices.

For faithful users of Windows phones, it’s likely great to see Microsoft finally addressing the forgotten Silverlight app developers and offering tips to help them turn their apps into Windows 10 experiences more people have access to. Let us know in the comments if you agree.