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Desktop App Screenshots vs. Windows 8

I have a small desktop application and I generally try to keep my screenshots looking fresh on my website. One way of doing this is to always use the latest version of Mac OS X and Windows in the screenshots, which makes the software feel as alive and well maintained as it is (right?).

I'm updating a bunch of screenshots to show my desktop applications running on Windows 8, but I have a problem:

Windows 8 desktop applications look like garbage. I mean, really bad. The flat window theme looks like a bad GNOME theme from 1997, and as a consequence, my application looks incredibly dated.

What's worse, is that the flat Metro desktop theme is so bland, that I'm not even sure users will recognize it as Windows 8. It doesn't even really look like Windows. (Sometimes I use these screenshots to communicate that the applications run on your current OS, detected by the browser.)

Should I continue taking screenshots of my applications on Windows 7? What would you do in this situation?

Thanks,
Hungry
Starving Developer Send private email
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
 
 
imho the window chrome in Win 8 is ugly compared to Win 7 (which I immediately liked in vista).

I understand the argument about looking progressive but I think the reason uptake of win 8 has been slow is in part because people don't think it is actually progress.

This issue would be difficult for me if Windows 8 market penetration was good but it's below 3%* so at the moment I won't be re-doing my screenshots. I doubt I'll even consider it for a new major version release until that percentage is a lot more respectable.

* Source: http://www.netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=10&qpcustomd=0&qptimeframe=M&qpsp=169
Jonathan Matthews Send private email
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
 
 
Can someone point to a good representative image or series of images that show what applications look like on Windows 8?  I have Google Image searched for it but haven't found anything particularly representative. 

Also, what's the deal with Win8 and full-screen?  I heard that applications can't be run as multiple windows, but that all windows have to be full-screen?  How would that work with an application that has a few independent frames (such as The GIMP)?

Thanks.
Racky Send private email
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
 
 
We've switched over a number of screenshots to Windows 8. We've done it mostly because we're all using Windows 8 and our products have changed enough to warrant new screenshots. In other words, we didn't want to spin up a VM just to take screenshots with an old version of Windows.



@Racky
>> "Can someone point to a good representative image or series of images that show what applications look like on Windows 8?"


Just the "chrome" of the windows  (the frame and elements like buttons) has changed. Here's one screenshot showing a browser window:
http://wyday.com/limelm/#lic-fields


>> "I heard that applications can't be run as multiple windows, but that all windows have to be full-screen?"

That's false. You can run regular Windows apps like you always could. You're thinking of Metro, which, honestly, is pretty crummy. I haven't used Metro apps since my first month using Windows 8.
Wyatt O'Day Send private email
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
 
 
Thanks, Wyatt, but I would like to see a screenshot of something other than a browser session... something with a number of widgets (buttons, choices, checkboxes, etc.) to get a sense of the native controls in addition to the frame properties itself. 

Does anyone else have screenshots of their apps running in Win8?

So Metro apps then are a different animal altogether?  Pardon my confusion here, I don't have the OS and won't, maybe ever.
Racky Send private email
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
 
 
"always use the latest version of Mac OS X and Windows in the screenshots, which makes the software feel as alive and well maintained"

On the flipside, it could make them look new and therefore risky.  Apps that have screenshots from XP or 7 look as though they've been around for a long time, and thus the developer is safe and reliable as they've been in business for a while.
Harry Phace Send private email
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
 
 
>> "So Metro apps then are a different animal altogether?"

Yep. Different design and different distribution model (can only get them from the Windows Store).


>> "I don't have the OS and won't, maybe ever."

A few reason you should switch: it's faster than Windows 7, uses less memory, and has a number of workflow improvements (e.g. multi-monitor taskbar).

Unfortunately Microsoft decided to hype of Metro which landed with a thud. Now people don't want to switch because they either think everything is Metro or that Metro was the only addition.
Wyatt O'Day Send private email
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
 
 
"Apps that have screenshots from XP or 7 look as though they've been around for a long time, and thus the developer is safe and reliable as they've been in business for a while."

I'm sorry but I don't agree with this.

If your website uses a screenshot from XP then that implies to me that either you don't update your application often or it is some kind of dreary dull spreadsheet or COBOL program - in which case it's reasonable that you don't need an all singing and dancing GUI.

So when I see your web 3.0 PinterestSpotify mashup client  using GUI paradigms from XP I think it must be bad. There are other ways to show continuity. For example, forums or changelogs with extensive history.

To the OP, I would use Win 8 screenshots unless Win 8 makes your GUI layout appear to be confusing. If it just looks ugly, then try and smarten it up as best as you can. Your competitors must have the same problem.
koan Send private email
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
 
 
Personally I'd use Win7 screenshots and a splash-out saying "Works with Windows8!"




AC
Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
 
 
Here is a link to UX guidelines for Windows Store Apps (pretty much same as Win8):

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-gb/library/windows/apps/hh465424.aspx

Google "Windows 8 Style Guide" for more.
Scorpio Send private email
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
 
 
I'm a regular poster here under a different account because I don't want most posts linked to the business.

I think our application looks great on Windows 8:
http://img694.imageshack.us/img694/1171/oc1dmainform.png
http://img89.imageshack.us/img89/1408/oc1dresultsform.png
Optimumcut Send private email
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
 
 
"If your website uses a screenshot from XP then that implies to me that either you don't update your application often"

Yes, but not all apps actually need updates.  Sometimes an app does one job, and does it well, with no further changes needed.  Change just for the sake of it is not a good thing, as it implies desperation to sell.
Harry Phace Send private email
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
 
 
To the OP: have two (or even three) sets of screenshots showing three different aspects of your app.  One in XP, one in 7, and one in 8.  Your users will then see that it runs on all three OSes and that you develop on 8.
Harry Phace Send private email
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
 
 
Better yet, detect the O/S the visitor is using and show the respective screenshot(s) up front.

May not quite work if the visitor != end user, though.
Dmitry Leskov Send private email
Friday, March 29, 2013
 
 

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