Building Responsive PowerApps for Canvas Apps

By: | Ajit Yadav

Publish Date: August 11, 2020

For any business that is online today, content forms the raw material of their web experience. The sheer pervasiveness and diversity of screen sizes – from smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, notebooks to giant monitors – has created a challenge for every web and app designer.

To illustrate, imagine every piece of content from your business – blogs, podcasts, webinars, etc. – is akin to water. Every word, audio, video flowing through your apps and websites must be uniform. To achieve this, however, content required painstaking molding to fit each hardware and software variation. But not anymore.

Due to PowerApps as part of Microsoft’s suite of powerful enterprise tools, everyone, including citizen designers/developers to professionals – can easily create responsive designs (response to the screen size it is being viewed on). Let us understand the role of Canvas Apps, another Power Platform family member, in delivering high productivity for businesses.

Build responsive apps from a blank canvas: Canvas Apps for PowerApps

As a workflow, designing responsive sites and apps has conventionally been daunting, especially for people new to the process. This is where Microsoft’s PowerApps – a platform that lets you create apps from scratch without having to learn a single line of code – offers significant business value.

Anyone familiar with PowerApps knows the platform’s strength in creating enterprise-grade apps. The very first step in creating the app is to select which form you would like the app for (in addition to the web) – mobile or tablet. This was the state a year ago before it was announced that with Canvas Apps, users could easily create responsive apps without any knowledge or expertise in coding.

With Canvas Apps, you can not only customize every detail of your app in terms of the data flow, or browser it is used in, but also adapt the layout of your app as per the actual space it is being run in . To create responsive designs, you can locate and the size of each control using X, Y, Height, and Width coordinates, with simple Excel-like Expressions. Instead of bothering with the app’s back-end codes, you can focus on delivering value to the end-user. You can present more content on a larger device for a more appealing layout and even split content across several screens on a smaller device. The fun with Canvas Apps is its ease of designing similar to how you would on PowerPoint slides, drag and drop!

Business value from Canvas Apps is expanded further by integrating your PowerApps applications with a wide variety of business data and Microsoft’s third-party sources. This includes Common Data Service for securely managing and storing data on Azure and embed your apps to run it on SharePoint, Teams, or Power BI for collaboration and attractive visualizations.

Responsive is here to stay // The value of conversion with responsive designs.

Intelligent, responsive design takes traditional responsiveness as a concept even further by using data to help view the necessary information for a reader on the app/page. For instance, a mobile visitor will not be happy about scrolling down a 5000-word page endlessly, especially if the information he needs the most at the moment is at the footer.

The world of instant and ubiquitous connectivity has created consumer expectations of finding the information they want whenever they want and consuming it. As per Google’s research, 61% of people quickly move into another site if they didn’t find relevant information on a mobile site.

Unsurprisingly, making your site responsive holds incredible RO. As evidenced by Chinese giant Alibaba’s efforts in creating Progressive Web Apps, delivering a whopping ~76% increase in total conversions . It turns out, today more than 3 billion people use smartphones in the world today.
The takeaway from these small pieces of statistics is simply this – mobile matters.

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