Windows Phone UX: When & How to use Panorama Control

Panorama or Panoramic Control often referred as a ‘hub’ is where you can represent the UI of the application on a lengthy horizontal canvas that extends beyond the device boundaries.

The scrollable UI of the Panorama allows for a unique visual experience associated with the overall feel of Windows Phone 7. And is often the entry point for many applications.

Which means you need to be more careful with the quality of your Panorama and the feel it leaves.

The best examples are always on the device. The People hub on the Start screen is implemented using a Panorama and so is the Music + Videos hub.

DOs and DON’Ts of using a Panorama

  • It is better to use the Panorama as an entry point providing access to deeper content, instead of making the Panorama itself the entire app.
  • Limit the maximum number of panes to 6. The magic number is 4, as recommended by Microsoft to ensure smooth application performance.
  • Maintain a good mix of content formats across the panes. For example, if all the panes need show lists, it is better to go for a Pivot instead of Panorama.
  • Never fill the Panorama with floating buttons.
  • Take care of the space between items. Make better use of typography.
  • Use images sparsely and make sure they are relevant and linked to the content.
  • Use backgrounds with caution. Make sure the text is readable. It is better to use a light textured pattern or a photograph if it’s relevant to the content.
  • Don’t fill the application with your branding (logos and other images). You may change the accent colors in the app to your brand colors and show your logo on the top left of the first pane.

Below are screenshots of some apps showcasing the best practices,

Thanks for reading. Please provide your thoughts and ideas on creating better designs using Panorama. In next post, we’ll cover best practices using Pivot and Tiles.

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