Highlighting the thought process behind Everest, the Windows 8 mountain management application.
Everest serves as a landmark example for the possibilities of Windows 8 applications, sparks interest in the climbing community, having a lack of quality, intuitive apps at their disposal, all while pushing the limits of the Metro UI.
What was the main motivation?
At the front lines of technology, my agency and I recognized the value of innovation for the new look and feel of Windows 8. With Microsoft heavily relying on the Metro UI for this product’s launch, it lacked the external innovation from passionate designers in the industry (outside of Microsoft) who will be face-to-face with this new experience and designing for it.
Respecting the in-progress style guide, while pushing beyond the boundaries a bit, I set out to create an application concept that I would be excited about. Something that, from my angle, the mountain climbing community would find useful and scream, “Thank you!” for.
The realization that the social world is changing, beyond what we ever could have imagined, really fueled the features and overall purpose to the application. I’d love to build this more than anything and it’s incredible to see technology and mobile experiences becoming so useful in traditional environments.
Why Windows 8? (being a Mac user)
Well, sad to say, the Metro UI on the Windows Phone 7 (WP7) wasn’t as exposed as the iPhone or Android style, so less designers and developers focused on it. There just wasn’t a high enough demand for innovative, new products on the Windows Phone 7. Very unfortunate for WP7 evangelists.
Ending up as one of the only people at my job with a Windows Phone, it placed me in a perfect spot to really have passion behind my design. I love bold, effective typography, and after owning two iPhones, back-to-back, the Windows Phone would still be my choice. That alone provided a hefty amount of motivation to step up and show that Microsoft made a great decision to fully adopt Metro, regardless of the product’s previous exposure.
I couldn’t get enough push-back from everyone for having the “off-beat” marketplace and least popular UI, but this Windows 8 opportunity gave me the arsenal to fight back. Wrapping this concept up, the sole purpose was to demonstrate the beautiful possibilities of Windows 8 and to think outside-the-box on the future of that style.
How is Everest marketable?
Although the idea heavily focuses on documentation, having an inventory, featured sponsor gear and the ability to check out new equipment really adds value to the marketing aspect of it.
Having rock climbing (mostly indoor) experience allowed me to consider what the experts would love to have in an intense atmosphere. I mean, how incredible would it feel to conquer a mountain with a trusted group of friends? Amazing. You would want every bit of it documented and remembered for yourself and future generations. That’s the basic motivation.
Beyond that, involving the stakeholder interests and marketing ecosystem took a little more work. After talking to a few climbers, the gear company, REI, came to mind. I asked myself, “How could you incorporate a few of their products without destroying the application’s purpose? Excessive branding could kill this thing.” Simple. Since the purpose of the application is to manage your entire climbing trip, let’s add an inventory fed by a WiFi or 3G connection.
With the endless integration possibilities for these high-quality companies, everything fell into place. Now, find a way to incorporate Bing maps with the expedition coordination map and we have a fully integrated mobile app.