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Microsoft details how to build good third-party widgets for Windows 11

A Windows 11 logo next to MSN Weather and News logos

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced plans to let developers build custom widgets for Windows 11. Although we do not know when the first widgets will show up in the Microsoft Store for testing or the public release, the newest documentation published by Microsoft shows that the company is getting ready to make Windows Widget actually useful.

Developers and curious Windows users can check out the official documentation published on the Microsoft Learn website. The articles contain detailed descriptions of Windows Widgets, their components, design guidelines, UI elements, interaction manuals, etc. Besides, it describes the principles of good widgets that provide a satisfactory user experience. Microsoft says developers should consider the following:

  • Glanceable—a widget should provide the most value and necessary information at a glance. Users should click on a widget only if they need "richer details" or "deeper integratioins."
  • Dependable—a widget should display frequently used information instantly to save users time.
  • Useful—developers should ensure their widgets provide valuable and relevant data.
  • Personal—a widget should provide personalized content and "build an emotional connection with customers." No ads should appear on Windows widgets.
  • Focused—widgets should not aim to replace apps or websites but should focus on one main task or scenario.
  • Fresh—a widget should dynamically refresh and provide up-to-date information.

In addition to third-party widget support, Microsoft is working on other improvements in this area. Preview versions of Windows 11 let you switch to the full-screen view and disable open on hover or widget notifications. Hopefully, Windows Widgets will soon turn from a cluttered and tabloid-filled space into something more valuable and enjoyable.

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