Search charm

Now, I am confused. One the rules of Windows Store Apps is that you make extensive use of the available charms. This means you do not add a "Share to FaceBook" button to your app, you don't add a "Print" button to your app and so on. Why? The reason is simple: there are charms available for this and the users know what they are and how to use them. So your app should adhere to this.

Now, we all know that some of the apps that Microsoft itself provides do not follow the guidelines themselves. I always thought that the reason for this was that those apps were designed or even written before the rules were written down. And then, earlier today, I got an update for the Mail app. To my surprise, I saw this:

Yes, indeed. A search button. To search your mail. If you press it, it will take you to the search charm, but why did they include that button here? This violates the rules. And they don't have the excuse of having written this prior to the rules: this is a new addition.

I am puzzled and a little bit angry: if we want the platform to succeed we need to have a consisted user experience and this hurts that.

Print | posted @ Tuesday, March 26, 2013 12:16 PM

Comments on this entry:

Gravatar # re: Search charm
by Marcel Meijer at 3/26/2013 12:38 PM

The reason was, as I understand, the Charms mechanism is to hard to understand for new users. Lot of users seem to have complaint about the inability to search. So by making a button which takes you to the charm will ease that pain.
Gravatar # re: Search charm
by Mark Monster at 3/26/2013 1:19 PM

I've had questions in my apps to add "Share"-functionality. The users didn't know that it already existed through the Share-Charm. Same as the appbar that couldn't be found because it was hidden.

It takes time before users start to understand the connection points between Windows and the Apps. They are not used to it, yet...

At least the Live Team didn't decide to completely implement the search independent of the Search Charm.
Gravatar # re: Search charm
by Pete Brown at 3/26/2013 6:31 PM

You've always been allowed to create your own buttons which launch the charms. That's why there are WinRT APIs which enable this.

I've seen this done a number of times with settings. It's really up to the app designer to decide if this adds to or takes away from the experience for their app.

This doesn't break consistency because the rule (for apps which go through reviews) is that these buttons must activate the appropriate charm. A "share to facebook" button, for example, would be frowned upon.

Gravatar # re: Search charm
by Dennis Vroegop at 3/26/2013 6:38 PM


I stand corrected. This does make sense. So we can have our own buttons that mimick the behavior of the charm buttons that are available and that lead the user to that charm. We shouldn't create our own charms inside the app.
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