Optimizing the header bar for UMPC’s

UMPCOptimizedSampleTodd Landstad, in this article at CodeProject.com, shows and provides sample code on optimizing the header bar for applications targeted for the Ultra-Mobile PC. If you are familiar with the Origami Experience for Vista, some of these reusable components will look familiar: battery status, network connection, and time / date.

Todd: See if you can talk to the Media Center and Zune team. This information would be a great add-in to Media Center and Zune.


In addition to providing this sample application, Todd gives some practical advice on optimizing content for small resolutions. I wish other teams at Microsoft, like the Zune team, would heed his advice. When installing the Zune app, it requires a minimum of 800 x 600 and cancels out of the setup. Once the user switches to a different resolution, the setup runs fine. The Zune app itself displays and scales well to 800 x 480, although the library pane can be a bit challenging to navigate.

Microsoft has published a Mobile PC Development Guide that suggests best-practices for developing Mobile PC and UMPC applications. This sample attempts to use those principles in its design. The main items to consider here are to:

  • Make sure the application scales well to the active resolution
  • Use controls that work well with both Mouse and Touch interaction – such as using buttons rather than slider controls
  • Create controls that are sized appropriately for the display – adding the full-screen ability and making buttons easily targeted with touch
  • Think about how the user may be interacting with this application if they are mobile – providing data at a glance and reducing the density of data

Other considerations for power management are to disable CPU intensive functionality if the PC is on battery or if the application is minimized. In this sample, I could have chosen to disable the rotating, animated cube if the application is minimized or not in the foreground. This would reduce the load on the CPU and in turn, save battery power.


Thanks for the tip, Lora.