Grab-and-Go Docking Guidelines

At any time, users can disconnect mobile PCs from a docking station or a port, which may include disconnecting devices such as a keyboard, mouse, external display, or storage peripheral.

To ensure your application remains usable after a user undocks a mobile PC, follow these guidelines:

Support Keyboard-Free Operation

When their Tablet PCs are disconnected from the keyboard and mouse, users rely on the tablet pen or on touch input. They should be able to operate their Tablet PCs by using pen or touch, regardless of whether other input devices are present. A user may want to complete a task or start a new one after disconnecting from the keyboard. See Designing for Direct Manipulation for guidelines about creating a usable interface for pen and touch input.

Gracefully Handle Disconnected Devices

Network connections, external hard disks, and other devices can become disconnected without warning. These events are prevalent on mobile PCs, so be sure to design for them, rather than treat them as error conditions. Consider the following approaches:

  • If access to a storage device is lost during an I/O operation, pause the operation and allow it to resume later, when the storage device is reconnected. Avoid displaying error messages.
  • Write to local storage first, while maintaining a lock on the remote file. Then update the remote file in the background.
  • Cache copies of embedded or linked data. If the source disappears, users can still view and print the information.



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Build date: 2/8/2011

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