Last fall, Ratio Interactive was approached by Microsoft to learn about Windows 8 and the new app ecosystem that is the heart of the platform. The firm’s design and engineering teams dove into the platform, ideating on the “Metro” based design and building prototype applications on the early developer preview version of Windows 8.
The company was soon selected by Microsoft as a Windows 8 Agency Partner giving it access to Microsoft UX and Engineering teams to advance their knowledge and understanding of the new platform. Ratio was asked to create a series of Design experiences for key market categories: Photos, Lifestyle, Sports, Books and Reference, Shopping, Travel, Education and more. The Creative UX Team explored, ideated and pushed the envelope for experiences while supporting the Metro language guidelines.
Today, Ratio is launching more than 20 apps for Windows 8 available in the Windows Store. Included in the launch are: Allrecipes.com Video Cookbook; and Condé Nast, including Vogue, Wired, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, GQ and Self, among other media brands; Naturespace; Meredith Corporation’s Parents Magazine and iCookbook.
Starting with the launch of iCookbook as the digital agency’s first app for Windows 8, Ratio designed and developed one of the first apps on the platform that were showcased and revered during Windows 8 Consumer Preview. With sustained momentum and progress from the iCookbook launch, Ratio created and designed a number of unique digital experiences for several essential apps in categories including travel, shopping, education, healthcare, media, productivity, andsports.
From iPad to Windows 8
Taking advantage of Ratio’s extensive experience and success with mobile apps, Ratio also teamed with Microsoft Corp. to write an iPad to Windows 8 case study that helped designers and developers worldwide reimagine and recreate their iOS app for Windows 8. You can read the Case Study here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/hh868262.aspx
“Microsoft has won the hearts of designers worldwide by developing a design language that brings content forward, reduces chrome and uses solid colors with sharp edges and large thin fonts. They’ve made functional beautiful. After several decades of mimicking real life objects and using visual metaphors, this is a welcome refresh,” says Bart Claeys, creative director and designer of iCookbook, Ratio Interactive. “Aside from its minimalistic design, key features like Share and Search and split-screen for multi-tasking, place Windows 8 ahead of the game as a mobile platform.”
“We’ve worked closely with the Windows 8 team over the past 12 months to create and design apps that are not only elegant, but functional and easy to navigate. We believe in the promise of what the platform has to offer and are extremely proud to be one of the first agencies working with Microsoft to deliver smart apps that change the way people interact with and use their Windows 8 devices,” said Russ Whitman, chief strategy officer of Ratio Interactive.
“Ratio has done a great job designing and building experiences that let content shine and take advantage of unique features in Windows 8,” said John Richards, senior director of Windows App Marketing for Microsoft. “Design is a critical part of the app creation process and we’re excited to have creative companies like Ratio growing their businesses on Windows.”
Here is a snapshot of the apps Ratio has designed and developed for Windows 8 for release to the Windows Store:
• Allrecipes.com Video Cookbook: Allrecipes.com selected the most popular recipes from its amazing collection of user- generated recipes to become professionally produced videos. Each recipe is showcased as a hero itself, glorifying the end products. Users will experience a beautifully presented app and have access to hundreds of video recipes for free. There are also step-by-step directions that accompany every recipe to the specific part of each video and a navigation control that lets users jump from one direction step to another,moving the user to the respective part of the video.
• Condé Nast: Home to some of the world’s most celebrated media brands. In the United States, Condé Nast publishes 18 consumer magazines, four business-to-business publications, 27 websites and more than 50 apps for mobile and tablet devices, all of which define excellence in their categories. Condé Nast has won moreNational Magazine Awards over the past 10 years than all of its competitors combined.
· iCookbook.com: More than 2,000 recipes and photographs – equivalent to 20 large cookbooks. A complete solution for your kitchen with tested recipes, organized across categories and filters that make it easy to choose what to cook for dinner each night.
• Naturespace: The ultimate headphone experience. Astounding 3D recordings from the most beautiful places on earth relax and rejuvenate like nothing else.
• Meredith Corporation’s Pregnancy and Baby Guide: For more than 100 years, Meredith brands have been committed to providing women with information and inspiration to create a rich and meaningful life. By focusing on the core passions of family, home and self, Meredith continues to play a vital role in the lives of 100 million plus women.
One point of departure for Windows 8, particularly on the new Surface Tablets, is “Touch,” describes Whitman, the chief strategy officer. “Windows 8 has done a great job as an OS to create a compelling touch platform and provides device manufacturers the ability to deliver compelling “touch-first” experiences. It’s clear that Microsoft has made a commitment to touch with Windows 8 and has worked hard with the device manufacturers to ensure that touch is not just an “also-ran” experience.”
Ratio is working on an array of new apps for Windows 8. [24×7]