Microsoft talks about the app bar in Windows 8 apps

Windows 8 apps are not just about big colorful "Modern" tiles. There's also the app bar, the menu UI that's normally hidden when interacting with a Windows 8 app but can be brought up to offer some additional features.

In a new post on the Windows 8 app developer blog, Microsoft goes over how app creators can develop the app bar for their software. The post talks about how developers can create their Windows 8 app bar in both HTML and in XAML, with some example code provided.

Microsoft says that app developers need to make their Windows 8 app bar able to access commands for their app easily. It states:

If they need to dig around every corner of your app or try every piece of UI searching for the next hidden command, then they won’t have much of a chance to actually enjoy your app. That’s why a successful app bar, always displays all commands that are available at a given time. The relevant commands might vary based on a few things: the current page, the current selection, or anything else that changes the state of your app.

Placing app commands on the right and left side of the app bar screen is the layout for both mouse and touch interfaces, according to Microsoft. While the app bar will most likely be used for commands by most developers, Microsoft says that creators are free to try other non-app bar designs for their menu commands. It states:

That’s great – get creative! If you do go this route, make sure to remember that users will be expecting that hidden UI to show when they use the standard gestures (swipe from the top or bottom, right-click, or press the Windows key + Z), and that you can usually dismiss it by tapping off of the UI. For info on the standard on-demand UI events, see EdgeGesture class.

Source: Windows 8 developer blog | Image via Microsoft

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Interesting, even MS acknowledge the issues of 'hidden' commands and options in Windows 8.

copied from above -

'If they need to dig around every corner of your app or try every piece of UI searching for the next hidden command, then they won't have much of a chance to actually enjoy your app'

developers should use the darn thing but MSFT should make it more intuitive to know it is there. zero discoverability. people just stare at the screen and then quit the app because it is useless. nobody is going know to swipe down.

yet another MSFT fail.

neonspark said,
developers should use the darn thing but MSFT should make it more intuitive to know it is there. zero discoverability. people just stare at the screen and then quit the app because it is useless. nobody is going know to swipe down.

yet another MSFT fail.


This is true, but I don't think it's Microsoft's fault. I think it should be the devs that add intuitive strokes to help the user identify the methods of input available to him. An example and something I've seen in a number of apps is the use of overlay arrows with descriptive text that tell the user what he can do within the UI, which areas are clickable, selectable, scrollable, etc.

neonspark said,
developers should use the darn thing but MSFT should make it more intuitive to know it is there. zero discoverability. people just stare at the screen and then quit the app because it is useless. nobody is going know to swipe down.

yet another MSFT fail.

Ya, cause 'right clicking' is SO NEW to Windows, it has only been a major UI construct of Windows for 20 years.

In Windows 95, the context or help of every item in the OS and in Apps was accessed through the right mouse button.

In Word 95, didn't know what an option did, right click it, want to copy or delete or find what you could do with anything on the screen from the Clock to the Desktop to every document type, 'right click' it.

In Windows 8, want more options of what you can do or what is available for items on the screen, guess what the magic 'no-so-new' command? Right Click!

How in the hell did you ever get by using a computer for this long and not right click or be inclined to right click on things to see what they could do or to get help?

Are you are Mac person that gets confused by more than one button?

neonspark said,
developers should use the darn thing but MSFT should make it more intuitive to know it is there. zero discoverability. people just stare at the screen and then quit the app because it is useless. nobody is going know to swipe down.

yet another MSFT fail.

LOLOL Mac user...

thenetavenger said,
Ya, cause 'right clicking' is SO NEW to Windows, it has only been a major UI construct of Windows for 20 years.

Right clicking has NEVER done this before. The problem is that Microsoft still has the traditional right-click menu (right click on a link in Modern IE for example)...

And they also randomly have right clicking to bring up an application bar... it can be confusing, since right clicking is never consistent anymore. It has two separate purposes.

I have an idea for the app bar, a PRINT BUTTON, and a BIG FAT RED X to close the app., and return you to the start menu, and not a blank white screen.

jimmyfal said,
I have an idea for the app bar, a PRINT BUTTON, and a BIG FAT RED X to close the app., and return you to the start menu, and not a blank white screen.

An app could add a specific print button if it wanted to do so. However in Windows 8 you use the Devices charm to access things like printing. It takes some getting used to for sure.
I agree there should be a better way to close apps than dragging them from the top.

Sekyal said,

An app could add a specific print button if it wanted to do so. However in Windows 8 you use the Devices charm to access things like printing. It takes some getting used to for sure.
I agree there should be a better way to close apps than dragging them from the top.

Microsoft's own post says that there should be a Print button in app bars...

"That's why a successful app bar, [sic] always displays all commands that are available at a given time."

Lol, Microsoft's own apps don't even have successful app bars!!!!

Despite Microsoft's claims I would argue that the Metro interface isn't optimal for mouse users. The most obvious example of that is the start screen, where right-clicking brings up the app bar and the 'All apps' option is at the far right of the screen. The process is: left-click bottom left; right-click; move mouse to bottom-right; return mouse to left to select item. Whereas on touch screens the start button is on the Charm bar, which is located on the right.

Mouse users take a back seat to touch interfaces.

theyarecomingforyou said,
Despite Microsoft's claims I would argue that the Metro interface isn't optimal for mouse users. The most obvious example of that is the start screen, where right-clicking brings up the app bar and the 'All apps' option is at the far right of the screen. The process is: left-click bottom left; right-click; move mouse to bottom-right; return mouse to left to select item. Whereas on touch screens the start button is on the Charm bar, which is located on the right.

Mouse users take a back seat to touch interfaces.


That may be the case, and it may frustrate some people who don't like to use keyboard shortcuts, but since I've started to use more keyboard shortcuts, Windows 8 has been a joy to use, so I am glad they've made the changes they did make. Plus, I expect that more and more people will buy touchscreen PCs over the next year or so. I expect my next PC to have a touchscreen.

theyarecomingforyou said,
Despite Microsoft's claims I would argue that the Metro interface isn't optimal for mouse users. The most obvious example of that is the start screen, where right-clicking brings up the app bar and the 'All apps' option is at the far right of the screen. The process is: left-click bottom left; right-click; move mouse to bottom-right; return mouse to left to select item. Whereas on touch screens the start button is on the Charm bar, which is located on the right.

Mouse users take a back seat to touch interfaces.


short-cuts ftw. i never used them before, but now im using them and productivity is actually just as great if not better, imo.

theyarecomingforyou said,
Despite Microsoft's claims I would argue that the Metro interface isn't optimal for mouse users. The most obvious example of that is the start screen, where right-clicking brings up the app bar and the 'All apps' option is at the far right of the screen. The process is: left-click bottom left; right-click; move mouse to bottom-right; return mouse to left to select item. Whereas on touch screens the start button is on the Charm bar, which is located on the right.

Mouse users take a back seat to touch interfaces.

You 'opinion' is not even based on a factual understanding, yet you are certain you understand the UI concepts better than Microsoft.

Holy Ego Batman....

Another blog post from folks who think everyone is running Windows 8 on their touch devices. We're not, guys! People installed it primarily on their laptops and desktop PCs. There is no swiping. Just mouse and keyboard users. No swiping, no tapping. At least not for me.

devHead said,
Another blog post from folks who think everyone is running Windows 8 on their touch devices. We're not, guys! People installed it primarily on their laptops and desktop PCs. There is no swiping. Just mouse and keyboard users. No swiping, no tapping. At least not for me.
Did you even read the article or even tried windows 8? You can still access this menu with your mouse

devHead said,
Another blog post from folks who think everyone is running Windows 8 on their touch devices. We're not, guys! People installed it primarily on their laptops and desktop PCs. There is no swiping. Just mouse and keyboard users. No swiping, no tapping. At least not for me.

Reading comprehension level: null

devHead said,
Another blog post from folks who think everyone is running Windows 8 on their touch devices. We're not, guys! People installed it primarily on their laptops and desktop PCs. There is no swiping. Just mouse and keyboard users. No swiping, no tapping. At least not for me.

Metro Remote Desktop > Remote Desktop regardless of input

devHead said,
Another blog post from folks who think everyone is running Windows 8 on their touch devices. We're not, guys! People installed it primarily on their laptops and desktop PCs. There is no swiping. Just mouse and keyboard users. No swiping, no tapping. At least not for me.

I'm very disappointed, after seeing this comment. Have you ever actually tried using Windows 8 with a mouse and keyboard?

devHead said,
Another blog post from folks who think everyone is running Windows 8 on their touch devices. We're not, guys! People installed it primarily on their laptops and desktop PCs. There is no swiping. Just mouse and keyboard users. No swiping, no tapping. At least not for me.

Ignorance at its best...

"(swipe from the top or bottom, RIGHT CLICK, or press the Windows key + Z)"

devHead said,
Another blog post from folks who think everyone is running Windows 8 on their touch devices. We're not, guys! People installed it primarily on their laptops and desktop PCs. There is no swiping. Just mouse and keyboard users. No swiping, no tapping. At least not for me.
Well it mentions mouse. But having to right-click and then move the mouse to the bottom sucks. For keyboard+mouse users a context menu is much more effective.

siah1214 said,

Reading comprehension level: null

Yup, yours and most of the posters here. If you bothered to stop the schtick once and awhile you might actually learn where he is coming from.

The left/right contextual behavior ("The reason the contextual commands that come and go are on the left is ergonomic. We found in studies that most users (even lefties!) operate touch devices with their right hand...") along with its bottom orientation and general philosophy is clearly detrimental for the mouse.

Calum admits as much below, preference for keyboard shortcuts vs an inefficient gesture (right clicking) is a sign of weakness, not strength.

TPreston said,

Metro Remote Desktop > Remote Desktop regardless of input

True, but still not better than RDCMan. Metro simply added the dashboard view and a better touch cursor.

Dashel said,

Yup, yours and most of the posters here. If you bothered to stop the schtick once and awhile you might actually learn where he is coming from.

The left/right contextual behavior ("The reason the contextual commands that come and go are on the left is ergonomic. We found in studies that most users (even lefties!) operate touch devices with their right hand...") along with its bottom orientation and general philosophy is clearly detrimental for the mouse.

Calum admits as much below, preference for keyboard shortcuts vs an inefficient gesture (right clicking) is a sign of weakness, not strength.

It's a lot easier to just attack people without thinking though, especially on the Internet.

devHead said,
Another blog post from folks who think everyone is running Windows 8 on their touch devices. We're not, guys! People installed it primarily on their laptops and desktop PCs. There is no swiping. Just mouse and keyboard users. No swiping, no tapping. At least not for me.

please read the dang article before posting crap like that.
it just makes you, as an individual, appear incapable or biased.

oliver182 said,

Ignorance at its best...

"(swipe from the top or bottom, RIGHT CLICK, or press the Windows key + Z)"

How can you know I'm ignorant? I would be ignorant if I had never tried it before and gave an opinion. Or am I ignorant simply because I don't agree with your opinion. Then since I don't agree with yours, I can say that you're ignorant also, right? I'm only saying that they keep giving all this great advice for developers as if everybody is using a touch-based device. But since you can't keep the discussion civil, I don't really know why I'm bothering explaining myself. But don't call me ignorant. I've used Windows 8 since the CP.

aviator189 said,

please read the dang article before posting crap like that.
it just makes you, as an individual, appear incapable or biased.

I did read the article; how would you know that I didn't? Just because you don't agree with me doesn't mean what I posted is crap. Fair enough?

devHead said,
I'm only saying that they keep giving all this great advice for developers as if everybody is using a touch-based device.

And that's what everyone is calling you out on - they're not. Every time they mention any sort of touch gesture in the article, they also mention mouse & keyboard controls - none of which include mouse swiping. Just right clicks and clicks.

devHead said,

How can you know I'm ignorant? I would be ignorant if I had never tried it before and gave an opinion. Or am I ignorant simply because I don't agree with your opinion. Then since I don't agree with yours, I can say that you're ignorant also, right? I'm only saying that they keep giving all this great advice for developers as if everybody is using a touch-based device. But since you can't keep the discussion civil, I don't really know why I'm bothering explaining myself. But don't call me ignorant. I've used Windows 8 since the CP.

We are not talking about opinions, when did I mention mine??

They mention mouse/keyboard all the time, of course they have to mention touch as well, but they aren't doing it exclusively.

Again: "(swipe from the top or bottom, RIGHT CLICK, or press the Windows key + Z)"

You are just ignoring that part. You can´t take personal that they talk about touch.

devHead said,

I did read the article; how would you know that I didn't? Just because you don't agree with me doesn't mean what I posted is crap. Fair enough?

Ok, that changes everything, you are just crazy...