The Zune HD, Microsoft’s pioneering portable media player, can be extended by third-party apps via the Zune HD Marketplace. Microsoft recognized that Zune HD users were very keen to use popular social networking applications on their Zunes, and so identified Twitter and Facebook as two high-priority apps to make available. The Twitter and Facebook apps for Zune HD would be free downloads for all Zune users, and would couple the frequent-use nature of social networking with the clean, distinctive user interface of the Zune HD.
Matchbox Mobile is the developer behind the million-plus download Facebook application for Windows Mobile, as well as many other high-profile mobile apps. Given Matchbox’s success with social networking software for mobile and our expertise in generating compelling mobile user experiences, Microsoft chose Matchbox to develop the Twitter and Facebook apps for the Zune HD.
Our first challenge was to ensure that the streamlined and rich user experiences for Facebook and Twitter would translate to the unique Zune HD style, while retaining the distinctive brands of each social networking tool. We worked closely with the Zune team to ensure that our applications would not only fit with the device user experience, but enhance that experience overall.
After the iterative and collaborative design process, we developed our software for the XNA platform, which is more typically geared towards gaming. Despite this we were able to make use of the engine to bring out the best of the Zune platform.
The Twitter and Zune apps for Zune HD are now available as free downloads to the global community of Zune users, who are able to keep up to date on Facebook and Twitter while enjoying the music and interactivity of their Zune HD. With these apps we have demonstrated our ability to solve technical challenges elegantly, and to deliver exciting user experiences on cutting-edge devices.
- Official Facebook app
- Official Twitter app
- User Experience
- Visual Design