With WPF the possibility to create a flashy animated user interface has come available for the mere mortal developers. The problem is that more possibilities generally does not mean a better user experience. The best way to ensure a good User Experience (UX) is to hire a designer for your UI. He or she is trained to deliver a good UX.
But if your project is not in such a luxury position (let alone the fact that it is considered a luxury position) and you (as a developer) are wondering what would be a good UX for your new WPF front end, Microsoft compiled a UX Guide for you consisting of a whopping 852 pages and they made it available for download (39 MB). Here is a small quote from the guide:
What is "cool"?
WPF offers an exciting set of advanced capabilities. With this step forward comes the desire to create better—or "cooler"—software. All too often these attempts don’t seem to hit the mark. To understand why, let’s make a distinction between what makes a program cool and what doesn’t.
A program really is "cool" when it has:
- Features appropriate for the program and its target users.
- Aesthetically pleasing look and feel, often in a subtle way.
- Improved usability and flow, without harming performance.
- A lasting good impression—it’s just as enjoyable the 100th time as the first.
A program fails to be "cool" when it has:
- Use or abuse of a technology just because it can.
- Features that detract from usability, flow, or performance.
- Is in the user’s face, constantly drawing unnecessary attention to itself.
- A fleeting good impression. It might have been fun the first time, but the enjoyment wears off quickly.
The guide is written for applications aimed at Windows Vista or Windows 7 but it contains so much information that it’s also interesting to get it when you need some guidance in general UX design.