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Lay-out Design Guidelines For Windows Store Apps

Posted by Krishna Garad Articles | Windows 8 November 30, 2012
In my last article we saw the controls to design our Windows Store application. In this article we will follow the layout design guidelines provided by Microsoft for Windows Store applications.
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Before reading this article, please go through the following articles:

  1. Developing Windows Store Apps : Introduction And Requirement Specification
  2. Plans For Designing Metro Style Apps (Windows Store Apps)
  3. Windows Store Application Life-Cycle
  4. Guidelines to Pass Windows Store App Certification
  5. Navigation Patterns to Develop Windows Store Application
  6. Templates to Develop Windows Store Apps
  7. Develop Your First Windows Store App (Hello World)

  8. Controls to Design Windows Store Apps

     

Introduction

In my last article we saw the controls to design our Windows Store application. In this article we will follow the layout design guidelines provided by Microsoft for Windows Store applications. All the images for this article are taken from MSDN.

As a developer we have to follow all the aspects of application development. For example there is a wide range of monitor screens available in today's market. We must be careful to ensure our application looks good to the end user by maintaining the application UI layout. In this article we will go through some interesting and required points which we need to keep in mind while developing Windows Store applications.

What is Layout?

As a developer I hope you understand what Layout is. Layout means the sizing and positioning of an application's objects and controls on the UI surface of our application. Applications usually consist of visual objects and controls to do something on it. Whenever we are thinking about layout then we must have at least one container control and inside that container control we have some child objects/controls which built our application UI surface. As we know in the market there are various sizes of devices available. To provide a great application for the end user we must ensure our application provides a great user experience for various devices. Since Microsoft has suggested multiple kinds of layouts we will see those layouts in the following.

Fixed Layout/Absolute Layout

From word fixed it is clear that it is a fixed layout and cannot be resized according to the screen. If we are targeting an application with a fixed size, for example games, then we can use this fixed layout. Applications with a fixed layout cannot adapt to the screen size. This layout is designed by using fixed pixel sizes. In the applications like games this layout is often used because in that kind of application there are maximum sized images and they are also limited in other words we are not adding some extra content to the application.

Dynamic/Adaptive Layout

As the name indicates, dynamic/adaptive means if the screen size changes then the objects available in the UI are also resized automatically. For Windows Store applications we have such builtin controls provided by Visual Studio which have this mechanism by default. Whenever the application changes the screen size then the controls and objects (Grid, LIstview etc.) are automatically adapted to that screen size.

From the preceding discussion I hope you are clear about the layout concept. Next we will discuss what you should do when developing your Windows Store application.

View State

When you are developing your Windows Store application, take care of view state. View state refers to how your application will be displayed by the user on their devices. The user can act in three possible ways with your application. We will discuss those acts of the user.

Full View

The name only indicates your application occupies the entire screen; the following image shows the full state. (Images are taken from MSDN.)

fullscreen.png

Snapped View

When your application stretches across a narrow region of the entire screen it will look as in the following image:

snapped.png

Fill Screen View

When your application does not occupy the remaining area, which is empty in the snapped state. The following image will clarify it for you:

fill.png

While developing your Windows Store application we have to take care of those views. This depends on how the application is used; the user may run two applications side by side also.

Landscape and portrait orientation

As we say, Windows 8 comes with a new design and programming principals. Windows 8 applications can run on tablet devices as well as on your PCs. If your user is using your application on a tablet device or any another handy device then the user can rotate the device so it is your responsibility for your application to support both landscape and portrait orientations.

landscape.png

Free Hand's Content Manipulation

As above we discussed Windows Store applications can run on various sizes of devices as well as devices that support touch interaction with the user, then make your application provide content manipulation for the user as they need.

freehand.png

Control Flexibility

When you are designing your Windows Store application then use as many flexible controls which re-size when the screen size changes as possible. Use builtin controls provided by Visual Studio to design your Windows Store application. (See Controls to Design Windows Store Apps for more info.)

Conclusion

Here I'm stopping this discussion about layouts. In my next article I'll return with a new interesting topic. So keep reading this series.

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