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I'm trying to transition some clients apps to Windows Phone 8. These particular clients want their apps to look exactly like they do on iOS and Android (I tried to convince them they shouldn't look the same on those platforms either, but I digress). Anyway I was under the belief that it would be very difficult to actually create a WP8 app that looked exactly like an iOS app, and that if a developer submitted an app like that it would be unlikely to pass Microsoft's review process.

I can't find any confirmation one way or the other on whether or not an iOS-like design would be acceptable the Windows Marketplace.

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You might also look for an answer or try asking on UX.SE, that Q&A focuses on usability and regularly debates mobile OS implementation guidlines. –  kontur Dec 15 '12 at 10:15
    
Thanks! I'll check it out –  powerj1984 Dec 15 '12 at 13:48

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

I don't know of any place that MS has explicitly stated that they will reject anything that looks like iOS. On the other hand, I would be surprised if there isn't an unspoken rule about it that would put you on the "don't rush with that one" list.

Regardless of the official rules, ignoring the fact that Windows Phone is visually a notably different environment from iOS is a slap in the face to the user. In the vast majority of cases, the user made a conscious decision to go against the mobile norm. Regardless of their motives, ignoring that is a mistake.

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Yes, if only I could convince my clients that iOS design wasn't the "One True Way(tm)". Thanks for the input. –  powerj1984 Dec 14 '12 at 23:44
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That's too bad. Sounds like you have iPhone users trying to capitalize on a user base they don't understand. See if you can get them to do a focus group or at least buy a Windows phone and explore it for a week or two. –  plainclothes Dec 14 '12 at 23:52
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@powerj1984 Look at the review section of the Android version of any popular iOS app that ported to Android without adapting its UI. There are always plenty of juicy quotes you can use from customers angry at getting something that is clearly not designed for what they use - show your client a nice long selection and explain that Windows 8 is more different still. –  user568458 Dec 15 '12 at 16:19

Microsoft may reject the app, at least in the early days of the Windows Store. They're trying hard to ensure apps meet their design criteria. Depending on exactly how it looks, you may still be fine though.

I think there's two main considerations, assuming you'd be able to get the app onto the store:

  1. An iOS-like app on Windows Phone will seem out of place and likely be met with user disdain.

  2. You may end up recreating quite a few features of iOS in the process.

The second point is important — you client may be looking to save money by reducing the amount of work. If you app has iOS navigation controllers, iOS switches (UISwitch), they may be in for a shock if it has to be reimplemented on Windows Phone. You could be talking about many weeks of additional work for an experienced engineer.

I don't think there's any issue in having a heavily branded app that looks a bit iOS-like, but conforms to Windows Phone design patterns and workflows. You'll end up with a better product, happier users and it'll probably be cheaper to build.

Short version: They may change their mind when they realise it costs more.

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