UltraHD 4K displays are here – is your software ready?

on Aug 5, 15 • by Don Boughey • with No Comments

The move to UltraHD 4k displays is on, and no graphical software application is immune to the impact. Read on to find out what you can do to be ready for this new era ...

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The UltraHD 4K resolution displays are here, and likely to be on your desktop in the very near future. The move to high resolution displays, for both tablets and monitors, has significant impacts on applications that are graphical in nature. Images or plots in drawing areas, graphical user interfaces (GUIs), and fonts are very susceptible to display issues as you increase your resolution settings.

As such, no graphical software application is immune to the impact of UltraHD 4K displays. Effective graphical applications have two major concerns to address to ensure an optimal user experience. First, the applications user interface (UI) elements must be useable and readable. Second, the graphical application must provide a uniform user experience throughout the endless display choices/settings available. Whether porting older programs, or developing a new application, this challenge can seem overwhelming.

To develop graphical applications effectively you must understand the concepts behind dots per inch (DPI), along with the conversion from physical to logical pixel sizes. These concepts arise from the UltraHD 4K displays unintentionally displaying greater detail and smoother images because of the increase in pixel density. This results in UI elements occupying less of the available screen real estate, and Windows introducing DPI scaling to allow the once “shrinking” UI elements to become up scaled to improve the user experience.

Is my graphical application even affected and how would I know? Below are common symptoms of the Desktop Window Manager (DWM) scaling in applications that are not UltraHD 4K prepared.

• Clipped UI elements (i.e. Text, button, and message boxes)
• Incorrect and disproportional layouts
• Pixilated (stretched) bitmaps, icons, text, and buttons
• Incorrect mouse coordinates not updated with changes to the display

PV-WAVE has alleviated most of the common Ultra HD 4K concerns for the application developer by becoming a DPI-Aware application.

What is a DPI-Aware application? DPI-Aware means that your application does not suffer the ill effects of the “one size fits all” DWM scaling. This means that one pixel means one pixel regardless of display settings, allowing for a more uniform and predictable user experience.

How does this effect the PV-WAVE developer and/or user? This solution means long-term sustainability of applications without the need for costly and time consuming code change rewrites at each UltraHD 4K advancement.

PV-WAVE understands and utilizes the techniques required by application developers and users to make the graphical and UI elements translate into a better and more predictable user experience across all display configurations.

Has your vendor given you the necessary tools to succeed in the UltraHD 4K era?

Learn more:

• Learn what’s new in the latest release of PV-WAVE.
Download the datasheet to view the full list of capabilities PV-WAVE provides.

Author’s Note: Thanks to Andrew Baker, Software Engineer at Rogue Wave, for his significant contributions to this post.

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