The application layout depends on the functionality as well as the content of the application. The layouts used throughout the design should be consistent both visually and functionally.
The top level layout for your application may be constructed by selecting an appropriate Command Pattern and Navigation Pattern as well as taking advantage of recommended Content Patterns.
- Command Patterns - Layout patterns for the command structure of your application (simple, complex or very complex).
- Navigation Patterns - Layout patterns for your application content (flat, 2-deep, 3-deep, n-deep).
- Content Patterns - A collection of consistent ways to show certain kinds of content
- Images - Guidelines and patterns for displaying images
- Icons and text - Patterns for consistently showing icons with text
- Viewing vs Editing - Patterns and guidelines for laying out content that is primarily viewed.
- Search and Filter- Patterns for exposing search and filter functions
- Wizard - Patterns for guiding the user through a series of step to accomplish a task
- Tooltips - Patterns for consistent presentation of information in tooltips.
- Alignment - Follow alignment guidelines to make it easy understand how elements are associated.
- Size and spacing - Use consistent size and spacing to ensure balance, reduce clutter and create breathing room.
See the layout design example that shows how to construct the layout for a photo gallery application.
Plasmoids like panel popups and desktop widgets have more restrictions to account for limitations on space. These plasmoids should meet the following criteria:
- Plasmoids use only a simple command structure.
- Plasmoids should have a flat or, at most, a 2-deep content structure.
- If the above two criteria cannot be satisfied, consider designing a traditional desktop application instead of a plasmoid.
- Adjust the content and layout to the size of the container to ensure the information shown is understandable, readable and useful. So if the plasmoid is in the panel then avoid simply shrinking the content that would normally be shown if the plasmoid is on the desktop.
- For example, the battery monitor in the panel does this well by showing the charge state of the main battery in the panel, but shows much more information about all batteries and brightness on the desktop or in the panel popup.