Bringing CRN Tech News to Windows 8

Our office in Boston recently completed  the CRN Tech News application for Windows 8. CRN Tech News is a publication from UBM focused on coverage for IT specialists, value-added resellers (VARS), and other technology integrators. UBM had an existing iPad application and asked us if we could build a Windows 8 version on the same infrastructure, and in a short time frame?

To meet this challenge, we assembled a team of consultants from our Boston and National teams. Each team member brought their expertise to the table, covering solution architecture, UX and visual design, mobile development, program management, and QA. An Agile development approach was a natural fit for many reasons. It allowed us to deliver a fully functional build to the client every two weeks, despite the fact that our team was geographically split between the East and West coasts.

CRN app brainstorm

We knew we wanted to build a great Windows 8-based experience, taking advantage of the unique paradigms and user interface elements available on that platform. We focused on optimizing for a fast and fluid, touch-based experience that looked great on a tablet like the Windows Surface, but still worked well when connected to a keyboard, mouse, and large monitor. With a larger monitor, we use the extra screen real estate to display more content to the reader. Our designer did a great job of incorporating the existing assets (images and video) into the visual experience, and it all feels very fresh and very authentic to the Windows 8 design language. UBM was very pleased with the clean and content-focused look and feel.

Designing and developing for Windows 8 did present a few challenges. Because Windows 8 devices can have different resolutions and pixel densities, we had to account for this up-front in our visual designs and interaction models. Windows 8 also adds a “snapped” view for applications, where the application is docked to the right or left side of the screen. Adding support for this requires re-formatting the content on the fly to fit into the smaller space, so that the app is still fully functional while you work in another application. This is a welcome addition to tablet computing, and we thought it was well worth the effort to support.

Aside from designing and implementing a rich and fluid user experience, the other challenge we faced was to integrate into an existing digital publishing workflow that targeted the iPad, including analytics and advertising. Fortunately, we found that all of the open source libraries and third-party SDKs we needed had already been updated for use with Windows 8.

CRN app screenshot

The CRN Tech News application for Windows 8 is a great example of how Slalom was able to bring a full range of expertise to this brand-new mobile development platform and deliver a compelling experience for our client. While this is not Slalom’s first Windows 8 application, it is the first to be released through the Windows Store, and we invite you to download and try it out.

Download CRN Tech News.

CRN Tech News and Windows 8 Deliver–Video

About Tom Taylor
Tom is a seventeen-year veteran of technology, specializing in technical program managemet, UI frameworks, streaming media, and mobile development.

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