Last week the SDK team gathered in London for a sprint that focused on convergence, which consisted of pulling apart each component and discussing ways in which each would adapt to different form factors.
The SDK provides off-the-shelf UI components that make up our Ubuntu apps; however now we’re entering the world of Unity 8 convergence, some tweaking is needed to help them function and look visually pleasing on different screen sizes, such as desktop, tablet and other larger screens.
To help with converging your app, the Design Team have created a set of predefined grid layouts screen targets: 40, 50, 90 GU (grid units), which makes life a lot easier to visualize where to place components in different screen sizes.
Scheduled across the week were various sessions focusing on different components from the SDK such as list items, date and time pickers; together with patterns like the Bottom Edge and PageStack. Each session gathered developers, visual and UX designers, where they ran through how a component might look (visual), the usability (UX) and how it will be implemented (developer) on different form factors.
Here’s the mess they made…
Main topics covered:
– Multi-column layouts, panel behaviors and pagestack
– Header, Bottom Edge and edit mode
– Focus handling
– List item layouts
– Date and time pickers
– Drop-down menus
– Application menu
Here are some of the highlights:
- Experiments and explorations were discussed around how the Bottom Edge will look in a multi-column view, and how the content will appear when it is revealed in the Bottom Edge view. Also, design animations were explored around the ‘Hint’ and how they will appear on each panel in a multi-column layout.
- Explorations on how each panel will behave, look and breakpoints of implementing on different grid units (40,50,90).
- A lot of discussion was had around the Header; looking at how it will transform from a phone layout to a multi-column view in a tablet or desktop. Currently the header holds up to four actions placed on the right, a title, and navigational functions on the left, with a separate header section underneath that acts as a navigation to different views within the app. The Design Team had created wireframes that explored how many headers would appear in a multi-column layout, together with how the actions and header section would fit in.
- Different list item layouts were explored, looking at how many actions, titles and summaries can be placed in different scenarios. Together with a potentially new context/popover menu to accompany the leading, trailing and default options.
- The Design Team experimented with a new animation that happens during a focused state on the desktop.
- The new system exposes all the features of a components, so developers are able to customize and style it more conveniently.
Overall the convergence sprint was a success, with both the SDK and Design Team working in unison to reach decisions and listing priorities for the coming months. Each agreed that this method of working was very beneficial, as it brought together the designers and developers to really focus on the user and developer needs.
They enjoyed some downtime too…