01-30-2014 10:43 AM
72 123
tools
  1. nickdu's Avatar
    I'm new to this forum, pretty sure this is my first post. I'm also new to the windows phone. Myself and most of my family are iphone users. I'm an ex Microsoft employee so I figured I would give the windows phone a shot. I guess the main reason was because I heard nokia made the best phones so I wanted to get one. I'm a Verizon customer but purchased a 520 from the Microsoft site since it was so cheap. I put it on a cheap carrier that runs over at&t's network. I figured this was a cheap way to give it a try. It all works.

    I guess my question is what's so good about the UI? And I'm not trying to disparage it. It seems pretty similar to the iphone. You've got rectangular 'icons' that you can click on to run applications. I think I remember one of my friends, who happens to work for Microsoft, say something about how much better the windows phone was over the iphone because the tiles were active. Just trying to understand what that means? I mean, I know the graphic in them can change. I noticed when playing music the artist and song title show up in the xbox music tile. Is that it? That doesn't seem that useful to me, at least nothing to write home about.

    At any rate, I modified my windows phone ui to have three tiles on it, one stacked on top of the other, the full width of the screen. The top one is the phone tile, the middle one is the email tile, and the bottom one is the messaging tile. I'm thinking that most people would say that I've dumbed down the phone with this ui. If so, I don't see how. Most, probably 99.9%, of my time on the phone would be spent in one of these three applications. If I want a different application I simply swipe my finger and find the application the next page. Am I missing something?

    I guess my feeling is that the benefit of the windows phone, or more specifically one of the nokia windows phone, is build quality and price point. Just wondering if this is the case. If I'm missing some other significant features of the windows phone please let me know.

    By the way, I also just upgraded my one son's iphone on Verizon to the nokia 928. Looks pretty nice. He doesn't have any good feedback for me yet as he doesn't use the phone that much. On my 520 I think the voice quality is not as good as it was on my iphone. Not sure if it's the phone or the network I'm running on. I did see a post somewhere which seemed to indicate that the iphone's voice quality is better than the nokia.

    Thanks,
    Nick
    01-22-2014 04:26 PM
  2. Mr Lebowski's Avatar
    Screen shots please.
    And with the tiles, you pin on the start screen the tiles that you use the most so don't have to go thru 100 apps to find that one.
    Isn't that obvious? I guess not since you use very few applications it seems.
    I pin all my photo apps in one section, when you swipe left many are near each other but many are not.
    I pin all my travel and navigation apps in one area, same with music apps like Pandora and iHeart ,MixRadio &Tunein
    Since none of those seem to be useful to you or you rarely use more then 3 apps then I get why you don't get it.


    RE: "And I'm not trying to disparage it"
    but you are, and that's OK.
    01-22-2014 04:58 PM
  3. busyman96's Avatar
    Nick, I don't mean to sound rude, but I don't think you're using your phone at its full potential. Personally, before I go out and buy any product, I typically research it to see if it suits my need. You say you were a former Microsoft employee, but I can guess that was pretty long ago since you don't seem to be up to date with what they've done in recent years.
    The idea of a live tile is that it shows you information at a glance. Say you have a calendar appointment - it will show up on the tile. You received an email or message - you can quickly see what it's about. You want to quickly check the weather - it's there without needing to enter the app. They are similar to widgets, except they are integrated into the app.
    If that doesn't sound useful to you, you might be better off with a feature phone, and Nokia makes great ones. You'll also get greater battery life.
    01-22-2014 05:26 PM
  4. Localhorst86's Avatar
    The purpose of the tiles is to provide you with a "glance and go" approach to information. When you pin the ME-tile to your home screen and on of your close friends posts something on Facebook, you don't just see a notification "hey, there's something new on Facebook" but the tile will flip and reveal a short preview. You can see who posted something and the first few words of what he posted.

    For other apps, they can provide you with additional information on the screen. Here are a few examples:

    -Next-gen Reader (RSS Reader) will show you the latest headline.
    - Bing news will do the same
    - Money Tracker will flip the tile and give you a quick summary of how much money you borrowed from other people or vice versa
    - Here Drive+ can show you the current traffic situation and estimated travel time for your regular routes.
    - Mytube (or many other YouTube apps) will show you the title and preview image to your latest subscriptions
    - TV Show will show you the upcoming air times for your favorite TV shows

    These are just a few examples of what I use live tiles for, there's tons of other applicable uses. Of course its up to the user and most of my other tiles on the home screen do nothing but launch the app, but the ones I named above allow me access to their information without me having to actually open the app.
    danj210 likes this.
    01-22-2014 05:35 PM
  5. nickdu's Avatar
    Thanks. And no, I'm not disparaging it. I'm saying I see no real difference between iphone and the window phone in terms of ui. I understand your organization and it makes sense. I don't make use of many apps so I don't have a lot to organize. I think you can do the same sort of organization on an iphone. I'm still trying to find out where the differences are. Not sure there are any really. Maybe my assumption of the nokia being good build quality at good price point are the big pluses to the nokia windows phone.

    By the way, I'm not even saying there should be much more usefulness to the UI. I guess you mainly want good applications and easy access to the most used applications. Both iphone and windows phone give you that. I can't comment on android as I've never used one. I posted this because I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing anything.

    The couple downsides I've noticed so far on the 520 are:

    1. Creating and editing a playlist was a nightmare. Looks like someone forgot a feature. There was a way to do it, but way harder on the windows phone than on the iphone.

    2. I liked how the voicemail worked on my iphone on Verizon as opposed to how I'm seeing it work on the 520 over the carrier I'm using. On the iphone it seemed as if the voice messages where downloaded to the phone and thus showed up individually and were easier to manipulate (play, delete). On the 520 I had to dial into a voicemail system and thus the experience was not as nice.

    Thanks,
    Nick

    Nick, I don't mean to sound rude, but I don't think you're using your phone at its full potential. Personally, before I go out and buy any product, I typically research it to see if it suits my need. You say you were a former Microsoft employee, but I can guess that was pretty long ago since you don't seem to be up to date with what they've done in recent years.
    You're not being rude at all. The point of my posting was to see if I was missing something.

    I was attempting to do some research. Before I purchased an expensive nokia phone I went with the 520 which I got from the Microsoft store for $60.00. I put it on a cheap carrier. That was my cheap way to investigate the nokia windows phone as just reading articles would probably not be enough.

    I do realize the tiles give some extra info, and while that's useful it doesn't sound groundbreaking. I'm curious, is there some way to define the information that goes into the tiles? I assume the application defines this.

    And yes, it was a while ago. I left Microsoft back in 2005.

    Thanks,
    Nick

    These are just a few examples of what I use live tiles for, there's tons of other applicable uses. Of course its up to the user and most of my other tiles on the home screen do nothing but launch the app, but the ones I named above allow me access to their information without me having to actually open the app.
    Obviously I'm going to have to play with the apps a bit more to see what, if anything, I get out of the tiles other than just starting the app. I did notice something useful just a minute ago. My email tile showed me the subject line of a new email, which I guess was somewhat useful. Interestingly, I'm not sure this would have happened if I didn't have this big long tile as it might not have had enough realestate to show that information.

    Thanks,
    Nick
    Last edited by rockstarzzz; 01-24-2014 at 05:00 AM.
    danj210 likes this.
    01-22-2014 05:39 PM
  6. manicottiK's Avatar
    The thread title asks about tiles, but the body of your message asks about the UI in general. I'll address both.

    Think of a tile as a small window onto which the app can draw whatever it wants when it runs. Some apps have a second program compiled in; Windows Phone can periodically invoke this program to draw new things onto the tile even when the app itself isn't running. Additionally, apps may register for push updates so that a server can send new content to the tile at any time. Finally, apps can allow users to "pin" specific parts of the app to the Start page. Those tiles can also be live and tapping them can bring the user right to the designated spot in the app -- they're like bookmarks within apps.

    In a way, live tiles are somewhat like Android widgets from a display perspective, but they don't have buttons or other controls because there's not much room. Also, because there are strict rules about what the periodic tasks can do and the rules are enforced at runtime by the OS, even poorly written ones can't drain your battery or data plan.

    I believe, but do not know for certain, that it's easier to add the periodic task feature to a Windows Phone app than it is to create an Android widget, so a greater percentage of Windows Phone apps expose Live Tiles than Android apps provide companion widgets. Of course, iOS apps are limited to registering with a server to occasionally add a counter badge to their icon -- no other new content can be shown in the space of the app (because it's a really small space).

    As you noted, the email tile shows preview info when it's wide. One of the several styles of tiles is one that can show three lines of text in the wide mode; in the smaller sizes, it shows the icon and a count. Our DrexelOne app shows students what they need to know without even launching the app.

    Here's an example of several tiles pinned from within the app. This student knows what his name class is and when and where it meets. He also knows that one of his profs has posted two grades and an announcement. He knows that this is week 11 of the term. All of that information is updated dynamically by the periodic task. If something "big" happens (like a final grade being posted or a hold being placed on records), the server pushes out both a new main tile (with a count next to the icon at the lower right) and a "toast" notification in real time to get the user's attention -- this kind of "push" information doesn't need to wait for the every-30-minutes periodic task because the server is deciding when to send it.

    tiles.png

    On the Start screen above, tapping the bus tile just right in to the bus schedule page. I pin the Faculty Club to my screen. Tapping it brings me right to today's menu. If I had started the app normally, I'd have to switch tabs then tab Merchants, then scroll down to Faculty Club, then tap again. This ability to pin parts of the app is another way in which Windows Phone makes it easy for users to get to information quickly and in which the OS removes some of the repetitive drudgery of modern tech.

    From a general UI perspective, other folks can and have said it better than I can. I think that the best place to look is Arturo Toledo's first post in the series 24 Weeks of Windows Phone design. Arturo was with Microsoft when he wrote that; he now does UX consulting. Read that and you'll understand what Microsoft set out to do and why.

    If you want to know why Windows Phone enthusiasts think that Microsoft was on to something, take a look at this comparison of iOS 6 and 7 to Windows Phone. The degree of evolution toward the design aesthetic of Windows Phone is uncanny.
    Last edited by manicottiK; 01-22-2014 at 07:16 PM.
    a5cent, MA83, rmeigs and 13 others like this.
    01-22-2014 06:55 PM
  7. John20212's Avatar

    2. I liked how the voicemail worked on my iphone on Verizon as opposed to how I'm seeing it work on the 520 over the carrier I'm using. On the iphone it seemed as if the voice messages where downloaded to the phone and thus showed up individually and were easier to manipulate (play, delete). On the 520 I had to dial into a voicemail system and thus the experience was not as nice.
    Windows Phone fully support Visual Voicemail as well, but it depends on the carrier and the mobile plan that you have whether you get it or not. So with this go complain to your carrier, it is not a limitation of WP.
    Kevin Rush likes this.
    01-22-2014 07:20 PM
  8. Boris Lozac's Avatar
    ^^ What tile color is that? It doesn't exist..
    01-22-2014 07:21 PM
  9. nickdu's Avatar
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Tiles.png 
Views:	554 
Size:	61.1 KB 
ID:	55195
    The screen shot looks really nice. I will definitely have to play around with it some more. I'm very new to the windows phone, only had it for a week or so.

    I will certainly read the articles you reference.

    Thanks,
    Nick
    01-22-2014 08:23 PM
  10. a5cent's Avatar
    The screen shot looks really nice. I will definitely have to play around with it some more.
    Another example is the way Nokia Drive uses live tiles. The app "learns" your most travelled routs and eventually adds them to its "commute" feature. As a result, a bit before I go to work, Nokia Drive checks the traffic conditions along my usual route. Using the large live tile, Nokia Drive displays a map to points out problems right on my start screen, including an estimate how much earlier I should leave, so I can get to work at the usual time. It appears to learn from it's own estimates, meaning the estimates get more and more accurate as it gains "experience".

    That is just one of many examples of things I see right on my home screen after breakfast, which prepares me for my day faster than any other OS. I have access to a lot of information at a glance, without having to constantly go in-and-out of every app. It removes the necessity to check each app individually and manually. That is definitely a huge benefit over iOS. The Notification Centre on iOS replicates some of these features, but that only works up to a point (anything beyond simple text messages or counters is difficult to convey using the notification centre)

    Technically Android offers something similar (not identical) using widgets, but WP is far more consistent in its presentation.

    Not every WP app uses live tiles though. Some really are still just "dumb" icons. For some apps live tiles makes more sense than for others.
    01-22-2014 08:41 PM
  11. manicottiK's Avatar
    ^^ What tile color is that? It doesn't exist..
    It's "Drexel blue." As part of the branding within the app, we use a school color for the tiles. We also sprinkle Drexel blue and yellow in the header and the app bar and use one of the university's fonts for some elements.
    jmshub likes this.
    01-22-2014 09:05 PM
  12. jmshub's Avatar
    Live tiles can be seen perfectly used in apps like weather apps. I use weatherbug as my weather app, I have it near the top, and I glance at the app nearly every time I unlock my phone. So, while, I don't click and launch weatherbug often, I am getting the pertinent data. Calendar works the same way, in that you don't need to launch the calendar to view your next meeting. This is where iOS falls far short, and Android can only kinda-sorta do with widgets.
    01-22-2014 09:12 PM
  13. Boris Lozac's Avatar
    Calendar works the same way, in that you don't need to launch the calendar to view your next meeting.
    WHAT meeting lol :) Sorry, but how many jobs have 'meetings'? :) I just want a whole month calendar wide tile, calendar, not meetingar.
    01-22-2014 09:28 PM
  14. manicottiK's Avatar
    Sorry, but how many jobs have 'meetings'? :)
    I don't know, but the one job that I have has 7 meetings tomorrow. (I had none today, but that's because it was a snow day ;)
    01-22-2014 10:03 PM
  15. Simon Tupper's Avatar
    If devs and MSFT could just get them to work everyday then I would say that they're very useful. But I can only say that it looks pretty.
    01-22-2014 10:06 PM
  16. ceraf's Avatar
    I wish there was a bit more customization options for the live tiles. To name a few:

    Mail - It would be nice if it could show the total number of unread emails, not just the number of unread emails since the last time I opened the app. And for the message previews, it would be nice if I could set, let's say, to cycle between the latest 3 unread messages or something.

    Bing Finance: I would want the ability to make one live tile cycle through all the stocks that I have on my watch list instead of creating separate tiles for each stock. The default live tile only cycles through the main page of stocks.
    01-22-2014 10:22 PM
  17. Joshua Jackson's Avatar
    I guess my question is what's so good about the UI? And I'm not trying to disparage it. It seems pretty similar to the iphone. You've got rectangular 'icons' that you can click on to run applications.
    That's the problem, right there.
    You're setting your Start Screen up like iOS/Android (little shortcut icons).
    At the icon size, you aren't getting any of the "live" part of a "live tile".
    There are three sizes of tiles (assuming Windows Phone 7.8 and above).
    The smallest doesn't, necessarily, show any activity.
    Of course, if the app doesn't have a live tile (not all do), then there isn't much difference.

    For me, I have about 40 tiles (of all three sizes).
    I use different sizes to break the screen up, group things, and show some pop.
    For instance, I have a wide (full-width) weather tile.
    Right above is a normal calendar tile (both are live in that they show relevant content - I don't have to launch the apps to see that content).
    Right below are 5 contacts (4 small and a normal for my wife).
    I don't really consider those "live" tiles (even though they are), but they show the profile picture of the individual.
    So, right there, Windows Phone has allowed me to do multiple things that iOS/Android can't do (Android can do widgets for weather, but there is no unification of design - it's a big hodge-podge).

    Another nice thing about the UI is that a lot of apps allow secondary tiles (think deep-linking in websites).
    That's like the five contact tiles.
    I don't have to launch People, then find my wife, then call/text/e-mail.
    I just tap her tile and I can call/text/e-mail.
    A lot of apps are that way (I can pin a particular OneNote note to the Start Screen - I don't have to open OneNote and then navigate to the note in question).

    Hopefully, that helps clear it up.
    I never really liked iOS or Android, personally.
    Live tiles are the biggest reason why I like Windows Phone (aside from the UI, they all do the same stuff).
    My phone broke, a few days ago, and I started using one of my kids' Android tablets.
    It just re-enforced my dislike for Android (there are many, specific, things that I like about Android - I'm not a fan-boy - but I just like Windows Phone / Windows 8 more).
    But, in all things, everybody has different tastes.
    If you like iOS/Android, use it.
    But, I think the Windows Phone UI is the best of the three (I haven't used BlackBerry 10, so I can't comment on that).
    JJ
    01-23-2014 12:45 AM
  18. jmshub's Avatar
    WHAT meeting lol :) Sorry, but how many jobs have 'meetings'? :) I just want a whole month calendar wide tile, calendar, not meetingar.
    It's almost a certainty, if you have a work email account on your phone, you have meetings. That is how that works. Live tiles are for glance-able information. If you need to see the whole month, you're better off launching calendar to view the whole month.
    01-23-2014 09:41 AM
  19. manicottiK's Avatar
    If devs and MSFT could just get them to work everyday then I would say that they're very useful. But I can only say that it looks pretty.
    I think that with respect to the periodic tasks, the issue is mostly with the devs either not understanding the rules or not following them as successfully as they could. The limits on execution time and memory use are tight and the OS will "unscheduled" the background task if it messes up twice. Tasks that run, but don't update tiles, can only run for two weeks unless the main app itself is run to extend the schedule. I've gone so far as to provide options for the user to display a "Live Tile Status Tile" and/or a "Live Tile Status Info Button" inside the app to let them know what's going on. It's a bit of overkill, but I want to make sure that users can get a little more info when they're troubleshooting and that I can while developing.
    01-23-2014 09:58 AM
  20. Jazmac's Avatar
    You're new. All these questions are expected but the only thing I can add is you have to suspend comparison to any other phone while you learn Windows Phone. It is not android and it is not iPhone. Windows phone is more unique than what is on the surface but once you get adjusted to your new direction, its store and ecosystem, you'll begin to better get a handle on this. Question for you, why the 520 and not the 920 as a starting place?
    01-23-2014 10:15 AM
  21. borasar's Avatar
    WHAT meeting lol :) Sorry, but how many jobs have 'meetings'? :) I just want a whole month calendar wide tile, calendar, not meetingar.
    my job doesn't have meetings, automatically assume all jobs don't have meetings! :) I guess no one also has doctors appointments, kids related appointments and all sort of other "meetings". You need a month view, open the calendar. Tiles are meant to show you most pertinent information at a glance, not every little detail of it.
    Kevin Rush and jmshub like this.
    01-23-2014 10:51 AM
  22. Localhorst86's Avatar
    Showing a whole month on one tile wouldn't really be useful anyway. The screen estate on the tile is just too small.

    Sent from my Lumia 920 using Tapatalk
    01-23-2014 11:13 AM
  23. Jason Drum's Avatar
    The thread title asks about tiles, but the body of your message asks about the UI in general. I'll address both.

    Think of a tile as a small window onto which the app can draw whatever it wants when it runs. Some apps have a second program compiled in; Windows Phone can periodically invoke this program to draw new things onto the tile even when the app itself isn't running.
    This is a great quick answer to the question. My top examples are calendar, stocks, and weather. I hardly ever open my calendar app, but it shows the next four meetings or appts I have. Same with my weather app...rarely open the app unless there is some alert, but I can see current condition and weekly forecast. I also rarely open my stocks app because it simply has my top holdings and overall holdings listed on the tile. I just zip past it and know what happened today.
    Kevin Rush likes this.
    01-23-2014 12:12 PM
  24. Boris Lozac's Avatar
    Showing a whole month on one tile wouldn't really be useful anyway. The screen estate on the tile is just too small.

    Sent from my Lumia 920 using Tapatalk
    What?

    01-23-2014 01:07 PM
  25. Localhorst86's Avatar
    Thank you for proving my point. You won't see upcoming appointments, birthdays or anniversaries. In fact the screenshot you posted does not even show an indicator which days have either of the mentioned above.

    Sent from my Lumia 920 using Tapatalk
    borasar and Kevin Rush like this.
    01-23-2014 01:23 PM
72 123

Similar Threads

  1. For the love of GOD, please release the 1520 on T-Mobile
    By BlackberryFan2009 in forum Nokia Lumia 1520
    Replies: 18
    Last Post: 01-28-2014, 06:31 PM
  2. Replies: 20
    Last Post: 01-28-2014, 02:39 AM
  3. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-23-2014, 04:10 AM
  4. Letter to Mr.Stephen Elop for the poor service level :(
    By Sandeep Joshi in forum Nokia Lumia 520
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 01-22-2014, 03:25 PM
  5. We want the HTC camera app from HTC 8xT
    By Twitter@Firas_MD in forum HTC 8X
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-22-2014, 03:00 PM
LINK TO POST COPIED TO CLIPBOARD