I installed the Win8 app called “Logo Quiz” the other day and noticed that the authors used a default splash screen image that simply contained an hourglass:

I found this definitely curious because a splash screen, while serving the same purpose of the hourglass–namely giving the user something to look at while an app is loading–is also an app’s first opportunity for promoting their brand and creating a sense of identity in the mind of the user. So having an app’s splash screen contain nothing but an hourglass works, for sure, but can be made so much better. I certainly hope that Logo Quiz improves upon this in their next version, because they do have a much more interesting tile image to serve as a basis.

At the same time, it’s clear that some of the blame for this misunderstanding lies with Microsoft’s early app templates in Visual Studio, where the default splash screen image from those templates showed a clock face:

This could easily have been interpreted to say that the purpose of the splash screen image is to show an hourglass representation of some sort, but indeed, that’s not the point at all. This is one reason why the current templates now just have a box with a big X through it as if to say “please don’t use this image!” (though some apps still do!).

In the end, always remember that the splash screen image is the first thing a user sees when they tap your app tile, so you want to make it as engaging and inspiring as you can–make the user happy that they tapped your tile! Help them to look forward to spending time in your app! As one example, I offer the splash screen of Pinball Fx2, an app with which I spent far too much time over the Christmas holidays:

I would almost venture to say that a great splash screen image is one that makes your users wish the app would load faster–and then, of course, you’re in great shape to use an extended splash screen….

This is something we saw with a number of early partners. In the app manifest, in the Application UI section of Visual Studio’s editor, there’s an option called Show name with a variety of options:

By default, this is set to “All logos” meaning that the value in the “Display name” field (also on the Application UI section), or the value in the “Short name” field, if given,  will appear on the lower left of a tile as shown here:

As you can see here, the display name/short name text is redundant with the app name that’s already on the tile. To remove it, select one of the other options in the Show name drop-down.

It’s a good thing to double-check before submitting an app to the Store. Having a name show on a tile when the graphic shows a name too won’t cause the app to fail certification, but it does look a little silly.

When you support live tiles, there are situations where you do want the name or a badge logo to appear on the tile, even though you don’t show the name for the default tile. For these purposes, use the branding attribute in the tile update XML. See Chapter 13 of Programming Windows 8 Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, in the “Branding” section (page 585) for details.