Portrait and Landscape Display Modes

Portrait and Landscape Display Modes

Overview of portrait and landscape display modes for the Tablet PC.

Many applications are designed to be used in landscape orientation and include toolbars that fit in 800 pixels, multiple vertical panes of data, and so on. Although Microsoft® expects landscape to continue to be the dominant mode when users create text-intensive content, users tend to use portrait mode when accomplishing tasks that are more social in nature. Unlike content creation, social tasks are interruptible and usually occur when the user is in the presence of other persons. They include activities such as taking notes, marking up and reviewing documents, sharing presentations, and using the Web.

Although some application are more suited to one orientation, Microsoft recommends you design your application to run in both landscape and portrait orientation. Microsoft usability research shows that users change orientation based on the task that they are performing. Each display orientation best suits a set of primary tasks, and users keep that primary orientation as long as they continue the primary or concurrent tasks. Therefore, users must be able to use your application effectively in both orientations and to have the flexibility to change screen orientation. For example, users who are reviewing a Microsoft PowerPoint® presentation are likely to have Tablet PC in landscape orientation and would therefore use other applications in that orientation. However, if users begin reading a Microsoft Word document in portrait orientation, they are likely to continue using that orientation.

For more information on application design for portrait and landscape modes, see Enabling Your Application and Design Recommendations.