Design basics

These articles introduce you to designing a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app, a type of Windows app built using the Windows Runtime APIs.

A Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app can run on any Windows-based device, from your phone to your tablet or PC. You can even create UWP apps that run on compact devices, such as wearables or household appliances.

When you design a UWP, you create a user interface that suits a variety of devices with different display sizes. To make that easier, we give you a set of universal controls that automatically work well on all devices. The platform does the work behind the scenes to ensure that text and visuals scale between devices and are always legible.

You can use the same code and design for all devices, and you can also tailor the user interface for specific screen sizes. For example, you can design an interface that works great for tablets and PCs and create a customized experience for mobile devices, while still reusing most of your code.

Looking for Windows 8.1 design guidance? You can get it as a PDF: Download the Windows 8.1 guidelines.

Grid on phone

Before you begin

This article describes the features and benefits of the Universal Windows Platform from a design perspective. Find out what the platform gives you for free and the tools it offers.

Get to know the devices that your app can run on.

Our planning process can save time and help you create the best possible app.

Get started designing

Our templates contain everything you need to get started designing UWP apps.

Learn about basic UI design and see some common patterns that can provide a starting point for your app’s UI.

Navigation elements help users find the content they want to display. Learn how to design a great navigation experience by following three simple rules.

Command elements make your app interactive. Learn how to combine command elements with the right command surfaces to create a great interaction experience.

The main purpose of an app is to provide access to content. Learn about the three main content scenarios and how they affect the elements you use.

Learn how to optimize your app for different screen sizes.

Screen shot of navigation, command, and content elements
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