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Series: Build Power Apps that don’t look like Power Apps – Material Design part 1

One of my most important goals when developing Power Apps is good design. But for me,

Design is not just pretty looks or some stunning effects, but it is how things work.

This means that a well designed app makes people feel related, understood, comfortable and easily experienced. People will want to use the app again and again.

Looking at the typical look of Power Apps, I don’t feel that these are well-designed in term of increasing usability, being visually appealing, or blending into the context they probably live in. This highly functional look shall convey the message, that people will get something working without putting too much effort into it. And that then leads to that perception, that low-code equals low standards in terms of design.

This is the first part of a little series that illustrates, how we can develop Power Apps, that don’t look like Power Apps. I will use Google’s Material design system to showcase this. If you are looking into some Microsoft Fluent UI guidance – I blogged about good looking apps for Teams here.

Floating Action Button (FAB)

The Floating Action Button (FAB) is a design concept, that we can find in all kinds of mobile apps, for example Twitter mobile app, Outlook mobile app, and mny, many more. We say its floating, as it doesn’t sit in a dedicated navigation area, but floats right on top of most probably scrolling content. Once that FAB is selected, it show some more related buttons that allows users to perform related actions.

fab in action

How to build a FAB in Power Apps

To make this FAB as flexible and reusable as possible, we will create a canvas component cmp_MD_Fab. Set its Width to 100 and its Height to 380. Our Fab will consist of


  1. 1 button btn_primary with two icons icon_start and icon_close
  2. 3 btn_secondary, btn_tertiary, btn_quarternary with 3 corresponding icons icon_secondary, icon_tertiary, icon_quarternary
  3. 4 timers timer1, timer2, timer3, timer4

Add these to your component – we will style them in a few.

Custom properties

We will create the following custom properties

  1. timerDuration (Number), defaults to 300, determines the Duration of all timers
  2. button1Fill (Color), defaults to Black, determines Fill of btn_primary
  3. button2Fill (Color), defaults to ColorValue("#4F1FDC"), determines Fill of btn_secondary
  4. button3Fill (Color), defaults to ColorValue("#9964f4"), determines Fill of btn_tertiary
  5. button4Fill (Color), defaults to ColorValue("#BB8cF4"), determines Fill of btn_quarternary
  6. iconStart (Image), defaults to Icon.Add, determines the Icon of icon_Start
  7. iconClose (Image), defaults to Icon.Cancel, determines the Icon of icon_Close
  8. icon2 (Image), defaults to Icon.People, determines the Icon of icon_secondary
  9. icon3 (Image), defaults to Icon.Bookmark, determines the Icon of icon_tertiary
  10. icon4 (Image), defaults to Icon.Crop, determines the Icon of icon_quarternary
  11. iconColor (Color), defaults to White, determines the Color of all icons
  12. button2OnSelect (Behavior, boolean), defaults to true, determines the OnSelect of btn_secondary
  13. button3OnSelect (Behavior, boolean), defaults to true, determines the OnSelect of btn_tertiary
  14. button4OnSelect (Behavior, boolean), defaults to true, determines the OnSelect of btn_quarternary

properties of the fab component

and assign them as stated above. Example: Select all timers, select the Duration property for them, set it to cmp_MD_FAB.timerDuration. Proceed with all other custom properties like that.

The buttons

We will now take care of the buttons. Select all of them and set their

  1. Width to 56, Height to Self.Width and Radius to Self.Width. – We now have circle buttons!
  2. BorderColor, HoverBorderColor, PressedBorderColor, HoverFill to Self.Fill
  3. Text to ""

Now only select the btn_primary and set its X to (Parent.Width-Self.Width)/2 and its Y to Parent.Height-Self.Height-10. After that is done, select all other buttons and set their X to btn_primary.X.

The Icons

Set Width of all icons to 32 and Height to Self.Width
Set X of all icons to btn_primary.X+ (btn_primary.Width-Self.Width)/2
Set Y of btn_secondary to btn_secondary.Y+ (btn_secondary.Height-Self.Height)/2
Set Y of btn_tertiary to btn_tertiary.Y+ (btn_tertiary.Height-Self.Height)/2
Set Y of btn_quarternary to btn_quarternary.Y+ (btn_quarternary.Height-Self.Height)/2

Make sure that all controls sit in the correct order as they overlap:

controls in the FAB component

The Timers

Now we will take care of the logic.

  1. In the OnSelect of the icon_Start we want to extract all buttons and handle which icon appears : Set(start1, true); Set(start4, false); Set(isCloseVisible, true); Set(isStartVisible, false);
  2. In the OnSelect of icon_Close we want to collapse all buttons and handle which icon appears: Set(isCloseVisible, false); Set(isStartVisible, true); Set(start1, false); Set(start2, false); Set(start3, false); Set(start4, true);
  3. Set the Visible of icon_Close to isCloseVisible, the Visible of icon_Start to isStartVisible
  4. Set the Start of timer1 to start1, and the OnTimerEnd of timer1 to Set(start2, true) – which means that at the end of the first timer, we kick off the second timer.
  5. Set the Start of timer2 to start2, and the OnTimerEnd of timer2 to Set(start3, true)
  6. Set the Start of timer3 to start3 – please note that at this point we don’t want to kick off another timer – all buttons are expanded and we only want to collapse them when our user selects the icon_Close.

Let’s now hook the Y property of btn_secondary, btn_tertiary, btn_quarternary to the timers so that the buttons nicely float to their final position:

  1. Set the Y of btn_secondary to If(!start4, btn_primary.Y-100*(timer1.Value/timer1.Duration),btn_primary.Y)
  2. Set the Y of btn_tertiary to If(!start4, btn_primary.Y-200*(timer2.Value/timer2.Duration), btn_primary.Y)
  3. Set the Y of btn_quarternary to If(!start4,btn_primary.Y-300*(timer3.Value/timer3.Duration),btn_primary.Y)

Add your component to a screen and don’t forget to now assign actions to the buttons 🙂

FAB in Power Apps

Feedback and what’s next?

That’s it!

a few buttons, icons and 4 timers are enough to create some advanced UI that you’d usually not find in a Power Apps. Next blog post is about how to create such beautiful photo galleries, that don’t look like default Power Apps experience. Let me know what you think on twitter.

If you found this blog post useful, please also subscribe to my newsletter – news coming about every 2 months, I promise to not spam you! Next blog post in this series is about how you can create this cool looking gallery with with various image sizes.

This post was originally published on this site

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