Microsoft Updates UI Design and Interaction Guide to 2.0--we review it

We don’t know about you, but we’ve pretty excited about this Windows Phone 7 thing. The closer we get to that October(ish) release, the more desperate we get for all the juicy details on what to expect from Microsoft’s new mobile OS. Most of the information that we have on Windows Phone 7 up to this point has come from developer resources and documentation. The Microsoft UI Design and Interaction Guide for Windows Phone 7 is an attempt to communicate Microsoft’s design and UI principles to developers in the hopes of maintaining some level of consistency. The full guide is available from Microsoft (PDF link).

We’ve gone through the guide for you and broken out some of the guidelines/specs that we either haven’t heard or at least haven’t had confirmed. Get all of the details after the break and then let us know what you think in the comments.

Start Menu (pg 14)

  • Start is always presented in portrait view.
  • Start is a reserved space and only users can place tiles in this area. Windows Phones come with pre-placed tiles installed by Microsoft, phone manufacturers, and phone service providers.

Status Bar (pg 15)

  • Signal strength, data connection, call forwarding, roaming, wireless network signal strength, bluetooth status, ringer mode, input status, battery power level, system clock.
  • By default, only the system clock is always visible. If a user double taps in the Status Bar area, all other relevant indicators slide into view for approximately eight seconds before sliding out of view.
  • Cannot be modified by developers, but can be hidden.

Application Bar (pg 16)

  • Supports up to four icons.

Chrome positioning (pg 20)

  • Status bar is always located on the edge of the screen closest to the Power button and furthest from the Start button no matter the orientation of the screen.
  • Application bar is always located on the same edge of the device closest to the start button and furthest from the Power button no matter the orientation of the screen.

Notifications (pg 23)

  • There are three methods to display push notifications:
    • Tile notifications – Awareness notifications inform users of changes or events that may have occurred and are non-disruptive to the user workflow. They appear in Start tiles.
    • Toast notifications – (Action-requested) notifications are system-wide notifications that do not disrupt the user workflow or require intervention to resolve. An example of these notifications is when the user receives a text message or instant message. These notifications appear at the top of the screen and are displayed for 10 seconds before disappearing.
    • Raw notifications – (Action-required) in-application notifications are fully controlled by an application and affect only that application. These appear within an application.

Start Tiles (pg 24)

  • Double-width tiles are only available to Microsoft, phone manufacturers, and mobile operators.

Toast Notifications (pg 25)

  • Applications must default to turn toast notifications off.

Progress Indicator (pg 30)

  • Can be determinate or indeterminate. Determinate is for tasks such as downloading content, indeterminate is for tasks like establishing a remote connection.

Page Scrolling (pg 31)

  • Scrolling is accomplished strictly by swiping. Scroll bars are displayed, but only to communicate to the user where they are on the page.

Metro Colors (pg 32)

  • 2 Background colors, black and white.
  • 10 Default accent colors. Magenta, Purple, Teal, Lime, Brown, Pink, Orange, Blue, Red, and Green.
  • Mobile operators or Device manufacturers can add one additional color.
  • Blue is the default accent color, but this can be changed by mobile operators or manufacturers.

Multi-touch (pg 47)

  • Windows Phone supports up to 10 touch points, but the hardware is only required to support 4.

Keyboards (pg 48)

  • Only full alphabet keyboard layouts are supported. (No 12 or 20 key keyboards).

On-screen Keyboard (pg 49)

  • 8 different context-specific keyboards. Default (QWERTY), Text, Email Address, Phone Number, Web Address, Maps, Search, SMS Address.

 Hardware keyboards (pg 50)

  • Required Keys
    • Letters (A-Z), Enter, Space, Backspace, Shift, emoticon, SYM, period, and comma.
    • Numbers (0-9) as either a primary or secondary character.
    • Accent key for German, French, Italian, and Spanish keyboards.
  • Unsupported Keys
    • A directional pad or any other navigation specific hardware.
    • The “OK & Home” and the “Send & End” hardware soft keys.
    • The keys Delete, Insert, Control (CTRL), Alt, Caps Lock, Tab, page up and down, and escape (ESC).
    • The Start, Search, and Back Buttons as part of the keyboard.

Power button (pg 57)

  • Button press of 3-8 seconds turns phone off via software shutdown.
  • Button press of more than 8 seconds turns phone off via hardware shutdown.

Camera button (pg 59)

  • Half-press when taking picture will initiate auto-focus.
  • Press and hold for more than one second when in standby or screen locked will activate camera application.
Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • hmmm... I've never seen a number on the Xbox live tile before, I wonder what that is about.
  • I think that's showing you how many new notifications you have.
  • Double post...sorry.
  • noting really that the release time is getting close,deeper and major news must be coming...not just title bar...buttons...but it also has some clues of what we are going to have ^^ but not what I desired to hear about!
  • Actually, unsupported directional pad is pretty disappointing (though not really surprising since the virtual keyboard we've been seeing lacks arrows). More often than not, positioning the cursor with my finger is inaccurate and annoying, especially when dealing with characters 'l' and 'i' where they display slim and lifting your finger the wrong way could cause the cursor to move.
  • agreed
  • I think this point of the article is misleading The guide says "The hardware keyboard can include arrow keys that can move the caret within an edit control. However these arrow keys must not be used to move focus, scroll lists, navigate maps or web pages" So the arrow keys are indeed allowed
  • You have to wonder if they think some of their decisions through properly. MS should also know that they have not much of a margin for error. Now is not the time to behave like untrained amateurs. Anyone who's used a smartphone knows positioning a cursor with a finger is a messy proposition. Unless they intend to bring back the stylus. :-) I've had a hard time adjusting to my TP2 with no directional keypad (when not using the hardware keyboard that has the arrow keys).
  • No navigation arrows on the keyboard?. That is lame. I use mine all the time. Add that to no cut and paste, I may have to go Android.
  • I *think* only HTC Android devices have arrowed keyboards by default; 3rd party keyboards, interestingly, often do not (e.g. Moto's multi-touch, Swype, SwiftKey, etc.). Neither does the iPhone/iPad. Still, like others, I use those keys a lot too :-/ Annoying fact about Android 2.1 and below: no copy/paste in the default Gmail client . No kidding.(Real annoying if you want to copy/paste a tracking number!) So don't think Android doesn't have it's flaws too, lol. Now, they are adding it to Froyo, but that's still some months away. These things take time I guess.
  • What the fuck MS?
    "The following keys are no longer supported..."?!!?! Bullshit...
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