Custom Software Apps & SharePoint Consulting

Where Does Windows 8 Fit in the Business World?

A Closer Look at Metro Style Apps

Last week, we covered what Metro-style apps are, how they relate to Windows 8 and how they can be useful for quickly consuming information. This week we would like to cover when a Metro-style app would be a good fit in the business world. While the Metro-style would not be appropriate for all business applications, we believe that it can be an extremely valuable approach for the right scenarios.

Two of the main design goals of the Metro-style UI are:

  1. Accommodate users who are consumers of media and information
  2. Accommodate mobile users who need or expect to have access to media and information from anywhere

Obviously this applies to most home users, who use their devices to check up on social networks, browse the web, and consume media like eBooks, movies, and photos. But it also applies to many business users who require data to be easily accessible in order to get their jobs done.

To determine whether a Metro-style app might be the right approach for these users, we need to ask these questions:

  • Will the app be used to create content or consume content?
  • Will the app be used in a desktop or a mobile setting?
  • Will the app be used in a context where a mouse and keyboard are impractical or undesirable?
  • Does the user need to get the information quickly?

Your answers to these questions will probably be yes for certain key players in your business, like a:

  1. field operator performing inspections of equipment. The operator could be outdoors, and will probably not have a desk nearby. She may need to look up equipment specs or maintenance schedules, and may need to record some details of the inspection.
  2. sales representative referencing detailed product specifications and sharing with his customers.
  3. executive decision-maker who wants a live dashboard showing her company’s  real-time performance indicators

In all of these scenarios, the user is working in a mobile context, is consuming data, and may or may not have access to a keyboard and mouse. They all want to access the data quickly, with minimal browsing or navigating. For those companies that are committed to Microsoft and already considering deploying a tablet to portions of their workforce, a Metro style app could be a great solution. Wondering why you would choose Windows 8 as your new platform versus another mobile platform? Check back with us next week for part 3 to find out!


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