Telerik Tagit

Part 2 - Layout and Navigation

Telerik UI for Xamarin Tagit Banner

Creating a User Experience

Telerik UI for Xamarin clean navigation

Whether you’re building your first app or your 50th, one irrefutable law of nature applies: people avoid pain. Your app can have every cool feature imaginable, but if users can't figure out how to "get around" — how to navigate the app — they won't use it. In fact, more than 90% of all apps are uninstalled after a single use. That’s worth repeating: over 90% of all apps are uninstalled after one use, and one of the primary reasons cited is that the user interface is too confusing.

One way to alleviate confusion at the start is to implement a "Getting Started" experience. In principle, this experience should be lightweight, simple, and friendly. A common approach is to position several full-page views side by side and allow the user to swipe left and right between them. Rather than code this yourself — something that is challenging to do when it has to work on a variety of platforms — you can use Telerik UI for Xamarin's SlideView control.

Getting Started with Getting Started

In this article and the ones that follow, we will build the Tagit app described in the previous article. Assuming you want to build it yourself, begin by starting Visual Studio 2017 and creating a new Telerik Xamarin UI Application project:

Telerik UI for Xamarin telerik templates

Selecting Telerik Xamarin UI Application as the project type ensures that all the required Telerik assemblies are added automatically. Once the project is created, adding a "Getting Started" component is as simple as adding a page, adding a reference to the appropriate Telerik namespace, dropping in a SlideView control, and connecting it to the view-model:

<telerikPrimitives:RadSlideView Margin="0,-80,0,0" Grid.Row="1" SelectedIndicatorColor="{DynamicResource AppAccentColor}"
                                IndicatorColor="{DynamicResource AppTextColor}"
                                IsAnimated="True" ShowButtons="False"
                                VerticalOptions="FillAndExpand" HorizontalOptions="FillAndExpand"
                                BindingContext="{Binding}" SlideButtonsColor="{DynamicResource AppAccentColor}"
                                IsInfiniteScrollingEnabled="True" ItemsSource="{Binding}">

            <Grid HorizontalOptions="Center" VerticalOptions="Center">
                <StackLayout WidthRequest="300" HorizontalOptions="Center" VerticalOptions="Center">
                    <Label HorizontalTextAlignment="Center" Text="{Binding Title}" Style="{DynamicResource TitleStyle}" />
                    <Image HorizontalOptions="Center" Source="{Binding Image}"/>
                    <Label Margin="10,0" HorizontalTextAlignment="Center" Text="{Binding Subtitle}" Style="{DynamicResource SubtitleStyle}" />
                    <Image IsVisible="{Binding IsFinalItem}" HorizontalOptions="End" Grid.Row="1" Margin="0,40,0,0" Source="ic_start_all_dark.png">
                            <TapGestureRecognizer Tapped="OnGetStartedTapped" />

The result is a helpful "Getting Started" experience consisting of five pages. Even if the user has no prior experience with this app, he or she should be able to quickly figure out what Tagit is all about:

Telerik UI for Xamarin slideview in action

Because SlideView works cross-platform, the startup experience is consistent across iOS, Android, and Windows. There's a lot of magic that takes place under the hood to achieve this consistency, but those are details you don't have to sweat because Telerik UI for Xamarin sweats them for you.

Telerik UI for Xamarin getting started

What’s On the Menu?

Implementing a "Getting Started" experience is key to creating a great first impression and a first step in crafting a better user experience overall. Now that that's accomplished, we need to ensure that it's equally easy for users to access the features presented in Getting Started.

A Great Design Always Starts with Great Navigation

In the world of cross-platform mobile apps, navigation can be a challenge because different platforms favor different navigation paradigms. Android standardizes on the vertical-dot menu in the upper-right corner, but iOS devices tend to place menus at the bottom. Even though Xamarin helps, managing navigation across a range of devices can be overly unwieldy and complex.

Telerik UI for Xamarin offers a handy solution in the form of the SideDrawer control. Patterned after the "hamburger" menu featured in many Web sites and mobile apps, SideDrawer provides a simple and straightforward way for users to navigate your app. But SideDrawer takes the hamburger menu to new levels. For example, it lets you specify its position on the page (top, bottom, left, or right), and it features several built-in effects and transitions. SideDrawer is an excellent tool for creating a clear and consistent navigation experience. That's why it is featured prominently in Tagit.

Adding a SideDrawer control to Tagit requires little more than declaring the control in a page and wiring it up to the view-model. Here is a version, simplified for clarity, of the XAML that creates an instance of SideDrawer in Tagit:

<telerikPrimitives:RadSideDrawer DrawerTransitionDuration="0.2" DrawerLocation="Top"  DrawerTransitionType="SlideInOnTop" x:Name="drawer" DrawerLength="300">
            <Button Text="Home"/>
            <Button Text="Gallery"/>
            <Button Text="Timeline"/>
            <Button Text="Analysis"/>
            <Button Text="Favorites"/>
            <Button Text="Settings"/>

SideDrawer exposes two properties that we initialize using XAML's property-element syntax: DrawerContent and MainContent. The former defines a menu or "drawer" of navigational items, which for Tagit is a series of buttons linking to the various pages in the app. MainContent declares the content shown on the page. Rather than define DrawerContent items statically as shown above, Tagit fetches them from an ObservableCollection in the view-model. Among other things, this allows items in the menu to be localized based on the user's language-preference settings.

Tagit locates the menu at the top of the page by setting SideDrawer's DrawerLocation property to Top, and configures the menu to slide down by setting DrawerTransitionType to SlideInOnTop. Here's how it looks on all three platforms when the menu is pulled down:

Telerik UI for Xamarin sidedrawer in action

Using just two controls from Telerik UI for Xamarin, we have implemented a helpful startup experience and provided a framework for navigating between pages. More importantly, we've eliminated a key reason users cite for uninstalling apps after running them for the first time. That's the perfect segue into Part 3, in which we will add to Tagit the ability for users to tag and caption images by placing calls to Microsoft's Computer Vision API.

Part 1
App Overview

Part 2
Layout and Navigation

Featuring the SideDrawer and SlideView controls.

Part 3
Image Uploading and Tagging

Featuring the ListView and BusyIndicator controls and the Computer Vision API.

Part 4
Enhancing the UI and Rating

Featuring the AutoComplete and Ratings controls.

Part 5
Sorting & Selecting Images by Date

Featuring the Calendar and TabView controls.

Part 6
Finishing Touches

Featuring the Gauge and Chart controls.