Enhance Silverlight Installation Experience

Happy New Year everyone! Hope everyone had a relaxed and enjoyable holiday. The peacock family I met during my trip to Dominican Republic certainly did. :)


There are a number of blog posts talked about how to optimize Silverlight installation experience. See Scott Guthrie and Tim Sneath's posts. This is particularly important from an user experience perspective when you plan to add Silverlight content to your site. Many people will need to download the plug-in in order to view the rich Silverlight content for the first time. The design goal is to make the whole experience very seamless: fast and straight forward. If it seems troublesome, then users (including me) won't download it and just navigate away, which is also the major concern of Silverlight early adopters.

Tim offers a few very useful tips to enhance the installation experience in his post.

  • Use the inplaceInstallPrompt:true parameter in CreateSilverlight.js to present the Silverlight installer directly from the current home page rather than redirecting the end-user to the Silverlight site for the installer.
  • Use the <div> tag into which Silverlight content is presented to create pre-install content (e.g. a static image that provides a glimpse of the final site experience when the user installs Silverlight) and present the Silverlight installer button as an overlay over that image;
  • Use the Silverlight.ua.Browser property to provide guidance to the user (for example, warning them that they may not be able to install Silverlight if they are using Netscape 4.0 as their browser).
  • Use a timeout delegate to see if the installation is complete, and, if so, refresh the browser automatically so the end-user doesn't have to manually hit F5 to reload the content.

A handy download package with detailed guides on how to optimize Silverlight installation experience and sample codes are available in the MSDN download center.

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