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July 2012

Metro style and OneNote MX

Content instead of Chrome…

One guideline for Metro style applications is to use content instead of chrome. For offering features such as menus or toolbars, the appbar can be used. The appbar becomes only visible on swiping from bottom or top, or using a context menu in case you're using a keyboard or mouse. The user should be in the focus of what he's doing now instead of a place where he might go next, that's why chrome should be displayed as little as possible.

With Internet Explorer, the Web page has the complete page available as soon as the appbar goes out of scope. The Calendar application gives the complete screen to the day/week/month. To add new calendar entries, the appbar can be used.

Not all scenarios are really efficient by just removing the chrome. One way to deal with this is to stick the appbar to top or bottom. In case the user needs the appbar more actively, it can be sticked, and thus it stays visible even if the user changes the focus back to the main content.

With some scenarios this is not enough to keep the user productive. The Mail program that's available with Metro style Windows 8 includes buttons to send and close messages when editing an email, and these buttons even open a context menu (save draft or delete with the close button). Reading emails, the buttons New, Respond, and Delete are directly accessible from the main view.

Now OneNote MX is available – the Metro version of OneNote. This tool has a cool control that needs just a small part of the screen, unless you activate it. This is the view of this control on the content view that is never distracting as it goes out of the way as you type.

Clicking on the control it gets bigger for doing copy/paste/undo, creating tables and lists, and inserting images or getting a new image from the camera.

Some of the items of this circular list have a button for more options. The control appears as shown in the next image if the arrow button from the bullets is selected.

That's really a great idea for having a lot of options that are not in the place if not needed.


CN innovation

More information on Windows 8 in my Windows 8 Metro workshops and in the upcoming book Professional C# 2012.

This blog post was done with Word 2013 Preview.