Microsoft to developers - Here's how touch is supposed to work

Microsoft to developers - Here's how touch is supposed to work

Summary: Good news for users ... unless they're a south paw.

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Microsoft has released a document that tells developers how touch should work for Metro UI apps on Windows 8 systems.

While a lot of what's in the four-page PDF document is common sense, there's also some interesting research contained in the document. For example, the document highlights the best areas on a tablet screen for interaction and reading:

It also looks at the four most common ways that users hold a tablet:

There's also extensive research been done into how the on-screen target size affects error rate. the document recommends a 7x7mm target size because this reduces the error rate down to around 1 in 100:

There's one part of the document that bothers me though (and it's something that bothers me about Android and iOS apps too. This is that it reminds developers that 'most people are right handed' and that this should be taken into account when developing apps. Now, I'm not a south paw, but given that some 1 in 10 people are, I'm surprised that Microsoft isn't suggesting that apps be developed for ambidextrous usage (or a toggle that allows the UI to be flipped from left to right handed).

(via istartedsomething)

Topics: Microsoft, Apps, Software Development

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  • RE: Microsoft to developers - Here's how touch is supposed to work

    So if Microsoft is going to teach developers (developers, developers, developers!) how touch should work my biggest question is: who's going to teach Microsoft how touch should work??? After many years of making touch based interfaces they seem to not have a clue.
    gribittmep
    • RE: Microsoft to developers - Here's how touch is supposed to work

      @gribittmep

      Their research always seems pretty sound..... Just read the building windows 8 blog.
      danjames2012
    • Funny, I was wondering the same thing.

      Microsoft has tried to make a usable tablet for years, and hasn't been successful at it. In fact, their previous ideas and designs have been decidedly uninspiring. Why would I take their advice on UI design instead of, oh lets say, Apple's?

      As the blogger states, most of this doc is obvious 'common sense' items ... which, in itself, shows how little they really seem to know. As for the bloggers concerns regarding left handed users, I think that it is fairly easy is build my apps ambidextrously by allowing a user to select a left/right orientation during the initial load. It is easy enough to do, and if it makes life easier on even a marginal subset of my users then it is worth the effort.

      After all, why limit your potential customers? The more people who can use your application comfortably, the more people might buy it and the more successful you become. Building right-hand only applications reduces your potential market, and is therefore to be avoided. Frankly, this too seems like 'common sense' to me.

      Regards,
      Jon
      JonathonDoe
      • RE: Microsoft to developers - Here's how touch is supposed to work

        @JonathonDoe The thing about common sense is it's surprisingly uncommon and often wrong. This document is based on actual science so worth paying attention too
        davidhayes
      • RE: Microsoft to developers - Here's how touch is supposed to work

        @JonathonDoe it was perfectly usable, just cost prohibitive for most people, so only used in certain markets.
        grayknight-22253692004129760887070084760051
      • RE: Microsoft to developers - Here's how touch is supposed to work

        @JonathonDoe "Microsoft has tried to make a usable tablet for years, and hasn't been successful at it."

        microsoft has never made a tablet. they've made software for tablets for a while, and infact really introduced the concept of a full-featured computer tablet with windows XP tablet edition. Sadly, it wasn't a brilliant implementation, due in part to the technology at the time and required a stylus.

        Microsoft knows perfectly well how to make compelling user interfaces for touch, if you look at the courier prorotype videos that were floating around the internet a couple of years back you'd realise this. search "Microsoft Courier interface demo HD".

        > I think that it is fairly easy is build my apps ambidextrously by allowing a user to select a left/right orientation during the initial load. It is easy enough to do

        or if you were clever you'd be able to determine this yourself and adapt your interface dynamically.
        jrbrewin
      • Angry Birds = Southpaw Game

        I have yet to see a version of Angry Birds where you use your RIGHT hand to draw back the slingshot. Doing so at the moment means your hand blocks your view of the target zone. Obviously, this game will never be popular.

        Huh? Oh dear, there goes THAT proposition.
        alan_r_cam
    • Many years of touch-based interfaces?

      @gribittmep

      Did you even read what you wrote?

      Microsoft has years of DIRECT-INPUT interfaces, but they were all designed around the use of a stylus, not touch.

      Also, they are one of the only companies that actually disclose information like the article above - collected from actual user interface studies - to developers.

      Show me a similar document from Apple or Google.
      Joe_Raby
      • RE: Microsoft to developers - Here's how touch is supposed to work

        @Joe_Raby

        https://developer.apple.com/library/ios/navigation/#section=Topics&topic=User%20Experience
        msalzberg
      • @Joe_Raby - Guidelines

        Try reading Apple's UI guidelines, available since the original Mac came out in the '80s.

        Apple has always "guided" developers in creating applications for the Apple software and hardware, thus the (overall/usual) consistency and quality of apps built for the Mac. Microsoft had no such "bible" resulting in the dogs breakfast and inconsistency of Windows programs.

        Those that didn't follow Apple's guidelines often failed in the marketplace because they were not "Mac-like" enough.

        I'm not a developer but it's likely Apple followed thru and has similar guidelines and tools for creating iOS apps considering the general consistency of most iOS apps.
        MacCanuck
      • RE: Microsoft to developers - Here's how touch is supposed to work

        @Joe_Raby amen
        sarai1313@...
      • RE: Microsoft to developers - Here's how touch is supposed to work

        @Joe_Raby

        Before posting, you might have taken the trouble to check the number of documents on Apple's site regarding UI. While Google does not come close in terms of sheer volume, they also have quite a bit of documentation.
        DNSB
      • RE: Microsoft to developers - Here's how touch is supposed to work

        @MacCanuck there's no document there, that i could find within a few minutes that offers the same information as this document. So i'm not entirely sure what you were implying.
        jrbrewin
      • @MacCunack - MS UI bibles

        Do you really believe this iFUD you spout? Microsoft Press have released UI / usability "bibles" for every version of Windows. E.g., here's one from 1994 for Win 95: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1556156790/
        psdie8
    • RE: Microsoft to developers - Here's how touch is supposed to work

      @gribittmep

      I disagree..Zune HD was solid and so is WP7.5.
      Rob.sharp
  • RE : gribittmep

    u r the one who seems to not have a clue about microsoft.
    nilayan_ahmed
    • RE: Microsoft to developers - Here's how touch is supposed to work

      @nilayan_ahmed Microsoft is well known as a company that does not have a clue. Microsoft is run like the mob, using threats, and other ways to influence their customer to pay for protection.
      Joel-r
      • RE: Microsoft to developers - Here's how touch is supposed to work

        @Joel-r HAHAHAHA... As someone who has had apps created for the iPhone and iPad... Apple shakes down it's developers like thee mob, 30% to process a transaction... 30%! That is 27% more then I have to pay when the transaction happens via my website.... AND I get no information about the buyer, nada! The way Apple operates its iTunes store and treats its developers is criminal.
        clcrockett
      • However, there's another connotation

        Considering you signed up to be a victim, it's a tad rich you are now claiming to be robbed.
        ego.sum.stig
      • RE: Microsoft to developers - Here's how touch is supposed to work

        @ccrockett,

        But I would not buy your product from your website. We have no relationship, I don't know who has vetted your product. For all I know it could contain a key logger or some other Trojan. So now you have to ask yourself how many lost sales have you had because of people like me?
        YaBaby