You are currently using a browser that is no longer supported and may therefore cause display errors. Feel free to switch to another browser to experience a better design.

Cookies help us in providing our services. By using our services, you agree that we save Cookies. Learn more.

Close

Thinking Out of the Box

From windows to tiles: Leveraging reflection to inspect and contrast WPF with WinRT XAML

To begin with, our primal, simple aim was contrasting several concepts as applied in good old WPF with the way they have been implemented in WinRT . To actually enable a both exhaustive and reasonable comparison between both UI frameworks, we pragmatically decided to unleash some reflection functionality on the respectively affected assemblies. read more…

“Form Follows Function” – An unclear design principle

Introduction

“Form Follows Function (FFF)” – You can think for hours about these three words and for their explanation quite some words are necessary, for it is a frequently misunderstood design principle. read more…

From windows to tiles: WinRT sensors – Overview and C# sample

Sensors are one of the most defining features that distinguish mobile devices such as tablets or smartphones from common PCs. This being the case, we have been enormously enthusiastic to play around with these components when our brand-new Surface RT tablet arrived recently. And by the way, this device feels like a charm.

Eventually, we decided to share our experiences in this regard in terms of a blog post giving an overview on the entire sensor landscape being available on the current Surface RT tablet running WinRT – the ARM chips targeting brother of Windows 8 – as an operating system.

read more…

From windows to tiles: A tutorial on live tiles & badges

Philip Schäfer
October 30th, 2012

This blog post seeks to demonstrate the capabilities of Windows 8 “live tiles” and “badges” as initially introduced in Microsoft´s design language Modern UI (also referred to as Metro UI). Being one of the most defining UI elements in Modern UI style, the concept of (live) tiles should be worth looking at a bit closer.
read more…

From windows to tiles: Porting a Windows Phone 7 app to Windows Runtime – A small case study

I. Setting

To begin with, the application we intended to port as a first get-in-touch with Windows RT (also referred to as Windows Runtime, WinRT) is a small, Windows Phone 7 based soccer game leveraging the mightiness of Silverlight as a subset of the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). Therefore, the game´s entire frontend had been designed exclusively using Silverlight XAML and related concepts. Furthermore, the applied architecture strongly follows MVVM (Model-View-ViewModel) principles targeting a strict separation of user interface and application logic. read more…

From windows to tiles: Towards the development of Windows Store applications

Philip Schäfer
October 30th, 2012

Launching their new operating system Windows 8, Microsoft establishes an entire set of novel technologies and concepts. The familiar desktop will be supplemented with an additional Start screen in “Modern UI” style (formerly known as “Metro UI” style); in addition to that, Microsoft introduces a new application type called “Windows Store App” (also referred to as Windows RT application or Modern UI application). Especially this new application type is the subject of controversial discussions in the community and thus requires to be focused on in particular. read more…

Touching the desktop – Modern micro-interaction and burdens of the past

They are considered intuitive and their handling easy to learn – Touchscreens. To humans it feels far more natural to touch an object of interest with the finger on screen instead of using the mouse. Apart from the clearly easier hand-eye-coordination, touchscreens create an elegant and user friendly experience through merging input and output actions into one device.

But even despite of all these advantages, they can create a lot of frustration and anger, which probably every one of us has realized at some point. For example: If you accidently call someone although you only tried to scroll down the address list, if you have to type in a word five times, because you hit the wrong letter, or the alignment of “Ok” and “Cancel” is so narrow that you are afraid to click the wrong one. It would be too good to be true, if touchscreens did not raise new usability problems. Especially the usage of desktop operating systems like Windows 7 or OS X with touch devices creates a bunch of problems. read more…

Introducing WPF – Experiences of a former Windows Forms developer

Have you ever thought about switching from Windows Forms (WinForms) to WPF seriously? Try something new and stop to develop along the old well known patterns? To be honest until a few months ago, I haven’t had any thoughts about making a transition. I was very familiar with Windows Forms and WPF would have been something I would have to learn from scratch. So it was only a test project and my applications remained Windows Forms applications. So, when I joined Centigrade earlier this year, after working as a developer for nearly 15 years in the financial industry, Centigrade made the transition to WPF long ago. Just take a look at related blog articles on our website! My colleagues in the field of design engineering are working for several years with WPF. Especially younger designers and design engineers only knew Windows Forms from their study – if at all. They never worked with it in practice. Many companies already use WPF, but despite the fact that already the fourth version of the technology is out lot of them are still in the evaluation phase. From my own experience, I can only report – it can even be worse. Especially, in the financial sector applications with a rather boring look and feel are created until today. Yet, things could be so much more appealing…

So a new chapter started in my programming career. With a healthy dose of skepticism, I joined my first WPF Project. I was hooked immediately. I have collected some of my experiences and summarized them within this article. read more…

Everyday User Interface Annoyances

In April I blogged about metro style pictograms being the new sliced bread in icon design. Remember? The article was, of course, highly interesting, incredibly important and not to mention terribly knowledgeable – and naturally it was in no respect longwinded. Well. Let’s just say it was rather formal and academic. Today, dear reader, I am going to be emotional. And pretty much so. Why? Because bad user interface design can drive you up the wall.
read more…

User Interface Architectures – Four Things Architecture and Interface Design Have in Common

When I started working at Centigrade, I wondered what the “User Interface Architectures” tagline in the company name is about. New terms are common in our line of work; the terminology is still young and changing all the time, many people try to influence it with their own terms and definitions. Still, I thought “why architecture” – maybe you, as a reader, did too?

The short, upfront answer: drawing attention. Readers are supposed to be teased by that line. So, of course it is supposed to stick out, elicit associations and set Centigrade apart.

Still, “User Interface Architectures” is not just another empty cliché buzz term, which brings us to the long, more profound answer. These words sum our work up for newcomers quite precisely and descriptively. We always have to expect that customers, users and external designers or developers may not have a clear understanding of our work. By comparing our services to the field of traditional building architecture, we offer a way to approach it.

Of course, we and other interface designers are familiar with the typical tasks, processes and results of our field. If, however, we get lost in our own work, the comparison to traditional architecture and to traditional architect’s way of working can bring about new ideas and give us new drive. Internally, “User Interface Architecture” forces us to re-evaluate our way of work and view it in a broader context. We want to present four things architecture has in common with user interface design to show how the comparison works internally and externally. read more…

Pictograms – The New Sliced Bread in Icon Design

After the introduction of Microsoft’s new approach to user interface design with its current mobile device Windows Phone and upcoming operating system Windows 8, user interface designers and clients alongside them are beginning to “think Metro style”. Based on Swiss Graphic Design principles (established in the 1950’s) and focusing on clean typography, not only interaction, navigation and information architecture have changed, but the understanding of and thereby design process for icons has, too.

As discussed in one of our blog articles about UI guidelines for mobile devices, the concept of Metro style icons is inspired by the idea of quick wayfinding, using pictographic signs found in metropolitan areas, airports or train stations. These simple-shaped icons are not only reduced in both color and detail, but especially shall strive for understandability across cultures and languages. This requirement is by no means new, nor is the Metro icons’ attire. Designed along the lines of traffic signs using the most generic and salient mental model available, Metro icons are in fact pictograms, which against the background of spreading globalization have been standardized in many areas of deployment. Not only for reasons of maximizing their recognition and thereby their value was standardization a good idea, but also because a lot can go amiss in designing a pictogram.

To understand the significance of pictograms and their design one must first of all engage in the characteristics of pictographic and symbolic language and discern these from usual interface icon metaphors, speech and appearance. When this is accomplished five points should be taken into consideration while designing intuitive, understandable and aesthetic pictograms.

read more…

WPF Performance – How It Matters on the User Interface

Alexander Keller

No doubt, when creating software, there is always one topic that everybody talks about: performance. In this respect, even though Windows tries to hide a lot of performance optimization work from the developer’s eyes (when developing for .NET with WPF), there are still a dozen of issues to be kept in mind when implementing a piece of software.
To start things off slowly: How does computer science define performance? Spoken very generally it is formally described as “the ability of software to complete certain tasks” (see Wikipedia). Most commonly, however, it is simply referred to as the speed of software. In this case, people usually do not differentiate between the user interface’s performance and the performance of the application logic itself.
Nonetheless, inside a development team there should be a clear understanding of who is responsible for what performance aspects, rather than pushing away all responsibilities to a single developer alone. Even though performance certainly affects the entire application, many advantages can be gained by distributing optimization tasks to different people regarding their expertise and specialization. For this reason I, as a Design Engineer, put significant effort in performance analyses for our customers and while our customers focus on optimization of C#-based Code, such as the user interface logic or other respective layers below, my area of expertise focuses on optimization of XAML Code.
read more…

Want to know more about our services, products or our UX process?
We are looking forward to hearing from you.

Corporate Experience Manager
+49 681 959 3110
Contact form

Before sending your request, please confirm that we may contact you by clicking in the checkbox above.
  • Saarbrücken

    Science Park Saar, Saarbrücken

    South West Location

    Headquarter Saarbrücken
    Centigrade GmbH
    Science Park 2
    66123 Saarbrücken
    Germany
    Saarland
    On the map

    +49 681 959 3110

    +49 681 959 3119

  • Mülheim an der Ruhr

    Games Factory Mülheim an der Ruhr

    North West Location

    Office Mülheim
    Centigrade GmbH
    Kreuzstraße 1-3
    45468 Mülheim an der Ruhr
    Germany
    North Rhine-Westphalia
    On the map

    +49 208 883 672 89

    +49 681 959 3119

  • Haar · Munich

    Haar / München

    South Location

    Office Munich
    Centigrade GmbH
    Bahnhofstraße 18
    85540 Haar · Munich
    Germany
    Bavaria
    On the map

    +49 89 20 96 95 94

    +49 681 959 3119

  • Frankfurt am Main

    Frankfurt am Main

    Central Location

    Office Frankfurt
    Centigrade GmbH
    Kaiserstraße 61
    60329 Frankfurt am Main
    Germany
    Hesse
    On the map

    +49 69 241 827 91

    +49 681 959 3119