Some days ago Microsoft released a new version of the Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview. Today a had the time to update my Nokia Lumia 1520 and review the new features. The first I tested was the new feature that let me create folders for applications on the start screen. I was so impressed by the user experience of this feature, that I have to write a post about it. So let me show you the new feature briefly:
To create an app folder on the start screen, simply tap a live tile and hold down until the tile moves up. So far, it is the old way to arrange live tiles on the start screen.
With the new version of Windows Phone, you can move the live tile over other live tiles. In this moment, the underlying live tile changes to a folder live tile: a grid is shown with several segments. Each segment can hold another live tile.
So if you release the tile you have tapped, it drops down into the new folder. The underlying second live tile was already added to this new folder. Now you have 2 apps in the new folder. After dropping the live tile, the folder expands and shows the contained apps between two gray bars. You can change the position and size of each live tile in the folder as you know it from Windows Phone. So Microsoft created a very consistent user experience.
Tapping on the text on the upper gray bar let you change the name of the folder. That’s all to create app folders. It is pretty simple as you can see in the screenshots.
Just tap somewhere else on the screen to close the edit feature for the app folder. Now you can see the new folder on your start screen.
Windows Phone animates the folder and shows the contained apps. Notice: the live tiles are still live tiles: notifications from the contained apps are also shown on the folder tile! You can move and resize the folder tile as you can do it with normal live tiles.
Now, if you tap on the folder tile, it expands down and shows the content of the folder between the two gray bars mentioned above. You can see your apps live tiles as they were on the start screen itself. The animation of expanding the folder is very cool: things falls down, out of the folder into the expanded area. So you have a real feeling of “opening” the folder! Tap the folder again and the expanded area will collapse, tiles flow up back into the folder tile.
I like this feature very much! I think Microsoft found a cool way to visualize folders on the start screen. In my opinion, there was somebody who is really thinking about the UI and the UX of Windows Phone. The new feature feels very WP-like and it looks very good. From my point of view!
Well done, Microsoft!