The Microsoft MVP Award Program Blog

Independent Experts. Real World Answers.

The Microsoft MVP Award Program Blog

Independent Experts. Real World Answers.

MVP Featured App: Banner

MVP Featured App: Banner

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Visio MVP John Marshall has released the Banner app, which is a NFC (Near Field Communication) app.

The user enters a primary and possibly a secondary message, and the message is displayed using the largest possible font depending on orientation. Since the message will probably not fit, the message scrolls to the right and then repeats. The user can pin favorite messages to the Start Screen.  The user can pause the display and adjust the speed with a slider.  The app has been used in presentation to send messages to the presenter and the organizers.  It has also been used by the presenter to send messages to the audience.

The trial version limits the numbers of size of the message and the number of tiles that can be created.

John Marshall explains his inspiration for creating the app: 

“During one of the local user group’s presentations, I had to send several notes to the presenter and to some of the organizers.  At the time I wrote on a notepad, the old-fashioned type. Considering my terrible handwriting it was not a great success, so I decided to write a Windows Phone app for that. The idea was to write an app that would show a message in the largest possible font and since the message would probably be larger than the phone, I chose to make the message scroll. Through testing, it was found that even though it was a smaller font, it was easier to read the message in landscape than in portrait. The phone supports two landscape orientations so I used the inverted landscape to show a second message. Flip the phone and you can quickly display a second message. I found that I needed the first message to get the person’s attention, the right person.”

He also describes possible applications for the app: 

“In the past, I have used the app to communicate the length of a train car, send messages to people on the platform and next month I will be using it as a greeting board when we try to meet our contact at the airport in Amsterdam. I would be interested in hearing other applications. Though I did get kicked under the table when I used it to ask the waiter for the bill.”

Back in 1993, John started doing work with a business diagramming program called Visio. While waiting for answers in the online forum, he started to tackle the questions others were asking and the company asked him to continue on a voluntary basis. In 2000, Microsoft bought Visio, and John received an MVP Award for his efforts. Over the years he has been involved in most of the books on Visio and has become the unofficial Visio historian.

The MVP Award gave him the opportunity to expand from the online communities to the real world.  Since the Windows Phone has appeared, John has seen a few opportunities to use the phone to enhance the user group experience.  One of them was to find a way to quickly communicate to people in a large venue from a distance. This was the basis of the Banner app.

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  • That looks awesome! Very cool!  I have to try that! :>

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