locked
Metro Apps Need Better Keyboard Support

    General discussion

  • In playing around with the Win8 preview, it's become apparent to me that the Metro environment could be used quite efficiently from the keyboard if there were better/more consistent keyboard support for common UI elements.

    A specific example I have in mind the the App Bar. It seems the the controls there should all have access keys so one could hit ContextMenuKey+letter to activate a command. Similarly there should be keyboard focus in the app bar while it is active so one can tab or arrow key between commands.

    Also, hitting the context menu key a second time should close the app bar. Some apps do this but it's not consistent.

    If this kind of thing is to be left up to the app developers, them perhaps there should be guidlelines for them to follow. But hopefully the APIs could make it a no-brainer to support.

    Support for Caret Browsing in Metro IE would also be helpful (though the feature could use a bit of work).

    There are also places outside the apps where better keyboard support would also be welcome. One example would be keyboard commands for manipulating filled/snapped Metro apps; perhaps by repurposing the Win+arrow keys used for Aero Snap.

    The ultimate vision I'm having is to use the Metro environment like a graphically rich multitasking DOS shell, only having to resort to the mouse for things like drawing apps and games. It may sound silly, but it feels like the mouse has become more "pointless" (pun intended) in this new touch-centric world as a number of its uses (drag and dop, right click context menus) have been removed from the the UI.

    Or maybe it's all nostalgia for the old days and I'll get over it...

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011 11:53 PM

All replies

  • They all strike me as great ideas and it'd be great to use Windows with keyboard+touch rather than keyboard+mouse sometimes.
    Thursday, September 22, 2011 8:30 AM
  • If this kind of thing is to be left up to the app developers, them perhaps there should be guidlelines for them to follow. But hopefully the APIs could make it a no-brainer to support.


    Leaving things to app developers is never a good idea, every developer I've ever met is also a skilled UI expert (in their own head) and I include myself it that sweeping statement. Give us decent guidelines with lots of nice examples and if we chose to do it a 'better' way and annoy the hell out of our users because our app doesn't work the same as 99% of the other apps out there then we get what we deserve.

    I'm all for full keyboard support as an alternative to touch/mouse and I share your 'ultimate vision', mouse/touch will still be essential for some things but a mouse /touch user would be shocked at the speed a seasoned keyboard user could navigate around an app with proper keyboard support.

    I like nostalgia, but it's not as good as it used to be.

     


    Acer W500 tablet & dock, New 'works' Lenovo laptop Too much apple stuff. Remember: A Developer Preview is just that, a preview for developers - not everything will work 'just right' on day 1.
    Sunday, October 9, 2011 1:22 PM