Microsoft describes the work they have been doing on the portrait and landscape support in Windows 8 on a new blog post this week.
The software giant has detailed their approach for other aspect that many people thought was overlooked in the many demonstrations of Windows 8. The company has spent a large number of hours testing and studying how people used tablet devices in labs and in their homes, and with the study they were able to work out users body postures, movements and interactions with various applications. “The number of combinations was staggering, contributing to the basic conclusion that postures, grips, and orientations change fairly frequently”, said David Washington. “Simply put, there’s no one way to hold a device and people naturally seek to find a comfortable position and orientation that feels right for what they are doing with the device at the time.”
Microsoft goals when supporting landscape and portrait are:
- Rotation in Windows is fast and fluid.
- You can easily rotate your tablet to best suit your task or ergonomic posture.
- Developers can easily build high quality and intentional landscape and portrait layouts, depending on the experiences they want to enable.
- Windows rotates predictably across the system and apps – keeping the user in control.
Windows 8 Landscape mode
Microsoft supports landscape mode as the most common way to experience Windows, this being in a desktop, laptop or tablet PC. “We’ve designed Windows 8 to be ergonomically comfortable in all orientations. We found that a comfortable posture for using a tablet in landscape is to hold in both hands and touch the screen with your thumbs. For this reason, we’ve designed the majority of the experience to be easily accessible under your thumbs. We also optimized the system to scroll horizontally, which feels fast and fluid in landscape as well as in portrait mode.” -Said Washington.
Windows 8 Portrait mode
Microsoft’s studies have shown that portrait is more used when reading a web page, viewing pictures, and scrolling though emails, because the user can cover more real state. Knowing this, the company tweak Windows 8 design like the on-screen keyboard, file picker, and the new charms to work in portrait as efficient as it works in landscape mode, and switching between modes just works.
Windows 8 Rotation mode
The software maker has put a lot of time working in a seamless rotation between modes, making the experience as smooth as possible or as they call it “fast and fluid”. Microsoft stabilizes the accelerometer in a Windows 8 device before the rotation starts. This is a technique that prevents accidental rotation.
Different screens and aspect ratios
Windows 8 is designed to adapt to any screen and aspect ratio, from the traditional 4:3 square to the 16:9 widescreen and anything in between. Windows will adapt itself and apps to the screen and ratio on the fly. Just keep in mind that for Windows 8 Metro apps to work well, you’ll need a minimum screen resolution of 1024×768. This minimum resolution requirement will ensure that users don’t brake app layouts due to small screen sizes, as we are already seeing some users with this issue.
Source Building Windows 8 blog