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User interface

[This article is for Windows 8.x and Windows Phone 8.x developers writing Windows Runtime apps. If you’re developing for Windows 10, see the latest documentation]

Make the most of the Windows controls to create rich, engaging apps.

Windows 8.1 brings a new way of interacting with your computers and tablets. With a bold, modern look, it redefines the Start screen, replacing static icons with interactive tiles, notifications, and charms. Likewise, Windows Phone 8.1 brings a new look to phones, with a focus on content and a living, vibrant user experience. And now, with Universal Windows apps, you can target both platforms in one Visual Studio solution, sharing code and assets, and speeding up development.

Your apps will look different than on other platforms with clear, optimized displays bringing content to the fore, using new XAML and WinJS controls to create great user experiences. These new controls are available from your C#, C++, JavaScript and Visual Basic code, and they help you write powerful, contemporary apps quickly and easily. Of course, everything can be customized, so you can bring your own unique visual style to the party.

User interface highlights

Both XAML and WinJS controls make it easier to add navigation and content layout controls, using hub views and grid controls. These controls help you build rich, consistent apps your users will love.
Tiles are used to launch apps, but they can do much more. They can be resized and used by your apps to display live info such as stock prices, weather, and the latest photographs from your social media sites. Your apps can run in the background and update tiles as new info becomes available.
In Windows 8.1, multiple apps can appear on-screen for true multitasking: even multiple instances of the same app! As the developer, you control the optimum size for your apps so users will keep them open as much as possible.
Windows 8.1 uses charms as always-available context-sensitive controls that help your users navigate quickly around their computer and around your app. Use them to add your own search and sharing features to make your app interact with others: for example, by sharing images or providing system-wide search results.
Windows Phone 8.1 introduces the action center for managing your app's pop-up notifications. Give your users a convenient way to check on status messages generated by your app.