Home > Articles > Home & Office Computing > Entertainment/Gaming/Gadgets

This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

The New Interface

The Windows Phone operating system was designed completely from scratch, and as such the user interface is nothing like Microsoft has ever created before. The new interface is designed so that you can interact with virtually all aspects of the operating system using a touch screen.

The Lock Screen

When you turn on a Windows Phone device, the first thing you see is the Lock screen. Although this screen initially looks like nothing more than a wallpaper screen, it provides several pieces of information.

  1. Cellular signal strength—This indicator displays the signal strength as a series of bars. It also shows you when no cellular service is available.
  2. Wireless Connection type—This is an icon that displays the type of wireless connection. For example, the icon could indicate 3G connectivity.
  3. Wi-Fi indicator—This icon shows you whether or not Wi-Fi is enabled.
  4. Bluetooth indicator—This is an icon which indicates whether or not Bluetooth is enabled.
  5. Battery Strength—The battery indicator shows how much battery power remains.
  6. Time—The current time.
  7. Date—Today’s date.
  8. Message indicator—The bottom of the lock screen might contain icons indicating you have missed calls or that you have new email or text messages.

The Start Screen

The Start screen (which can be accessed by pressing the Start button) contains a series of tiles, which Microsoft refers to as live tiles. Live tiles serve two different purposes. First, you can access commonly used portions of the operating system by tapping the appropriate live tile. Second, live tiles are often dynamically updated to provide important information through the tile itself. For instance live tiles can tell you how many email messages you have waiting or how many calls you have missed. These are the tiles present on the Start screen by default:

  1. Phone—The Phone tile provides one-touch access to the dialing pad. The tile also displays the current number of missed calls.
  2. People—The People tile provides access to your contact list (known as the People Hub). The tile displays thumbnails of the profile photos used within your contacts.
  3. Messaging—The Messaging tile displays the number of unread SMS text messages. You can tap the tile to access the messaging app.
  4. Outlook—The Outlook tile displays the total number of unread email messages while also providing one-touch access to Outlook.
  5. Internet Explorer—The Internet Explorer tile provides access to Internet Explorer.
  6. XBOX Live—The XBOX Live tile provides access to your collection of games.

  7. Calendar—The Calendar tile displays your next appointment and provides one-touch access to the device’s calendar.
  8. Pictures—The Pictures tile provides access to your photo collection. The tile itself displays one of your photos.
  9. Music + Video—This tile provides access to multimedia content that is stored on the phone.
  10. Marketplace—The Marketplace is Microsoft’s app store. This tile can sometimes display a numerical value indicating the number of updates available for the apps you have purchased.
  11. Me—The Me tile dynamically displays your profile picture and links you to information about you that was downloaded from social networking sites.

Using the Phone’s Hardware Buttons

As you saw at the beginning of the chapter, the front of the phone contains three hardware buttons. These buttons perform a variety of functions depending on whether they are pressed or held.

The Back Button

Pressing the Back button returns you to the previous screen. In some cases this can be a bit disorientating, however, because if your previous screen was the Start screen, the phone will usually skip it and take you instead to the screen that you were viewing prior to the Start screen.

If you hold down the Back button, Windows displays the Task Switcher, which is new to Windows Phone 7. The Task Switcher displays a series of recently visited screens so you can pick the screen you want to return to without having to repeatedly press the Back button.

The Start Button

Pressing the Start button from anywhere in the operating system will take you to the phone’s Start screen. Holding down on the Start button takes you to the Voice Command screen. Voice control is covered in detail in Chapter 9, “Search,” along with verbal searches.

The Search Button

Pressing the Search button takes you to a search engine. The exact type of search that is provided varies depending on what screen you were viewing when you pressed the Search button. Searches are discussed at length in Chapter 9.

The Power Button

Pressing the Power button turns off the phone’s display. You can turn the display back on by pressing the Power button again. When you turn off the display, the phone is still active. It can still receive phone calls, text messages, and so on.

If you need to completely shut down the phone, you can do so by pressing and holding the Power button. After several seconds, the phone displays a Zune style Shut-down screen that requires you to swipe the screen downward in order to shut down the phone. You can power the phone back up by pressing the Power button.

Touch Gestures

Windows Phone uses a multi-touch display that supports six distinct touch gestures. These gestures include

Tap—In the Windows Phone OS, a tap works exactly like it did in previous versions of Windows Mobile. You simply tap your finger on an object to select it.

Double-tap—Windows Phone allows you to open files and applications by double-tapping them.

Pan—Panning allows you to scroll the device’s screen. You simply press your finger onto the device screen and then move your finger in the direction that you want to pan. The main Windows Phone screen contains too many tiles to fit all of them onto the screen at once, so you must pan the screen to access some of the tiles.

Flick—Flicking allows you to scroll rapidly through a long list of items. Flicking is similar to panning except that once you have pressed your finger onto the screen, you slide it quickly and then remove your finger.

Touch and Hold—The touch and hold gesture is used similarly to right-clicking your mouse in Windows 7. You simply press an object on the screen and then hold your finger in the same position until any available options are displayed. For example, you can use the touch and hold gesture to pin an item to the Start screen.

Stretch—Stretching is a gesture that you can use to make an object on the screen bigger. For example, you might use the stretch gesture to zoom in on a picture, or you could use the stretch gesture to zoom in on an area within your Web browser. You can stretch an area by placing two fingers onto the screen and then sliding those fingers apart.

Pinch—Pinching is the opposite of stretching. It is used as a way to zoom out. To pinch, spread two fingers apart and then put them on the screen and slide your fingers until they come together.

The Soft Keyboard

The primary method of entering text into Windows Phone is through a soft (on screen) keyboard. Rather than providing you with a generic soft keyboard, Windows Phone uses one of seven different soft keyboards depending on the activity being performed. These soft keyboards include:

  1. Default—A standard QWERTY keyboard layout.

  2. Text—A standard QWERTY layout, plus emoticons.

  3. Email Address—QWERTY layout plus a .com and an @ key.

  4. Phone Number—A twelve key phone layout.

  5. Web Address—QWERTY layout plus a .com key and a custom Enter key.

  6. Search and Maps—QWERTY layout plus a custom Enter key.

  7. SMS Address—QWERTY layout with access to the phone layout.

Typing with the soft keyboard can take a little bit of getting used to. The soft keyboard lacks the tactical feel of a hardware keyboard, and the screen’s size limits the size of the keys. As such, typing can be a little bit tricky. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make typing easier.

One suggestion is to turn the phone sideways. When you do, the display changes to a landscape orientation. This causes the keys on the soft keyboard to become wider, which makes typing easier.


As you type, Windows suggests words based on the letters you have entered. You can tap on a suggested word rather than having to type the entire word.

The soft keyboard does not contain a caps lock key. To activate Caps Lock, simply tap and hold the shift key for a few seconds. Repeat the process to release Caps Lock.

The Hardware Keyboard

Some Windows Phone devices include a hardware keyboard that slides out from beneath the screen. Hardware keyboards typically include a few specialized keys including

  1. Shift—The Shift key is displayed as an up arrow and toggles between uppercase and lowercase text.
  2. Function—The function key is usually displayed as FN and switches between letters and the number or symbols displayed in blue.
  3. AE—Displays an onscreen keyboard containing foreign variations of the character that was most recently typed.
  4. Symbols—On some phones the Symbol (SYM) key does the same thing as the function (FN) key.
  5. Emoticons—Displays an onscreen keyboard containing a series of emoticons.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020