I led a small design team to develop native support for the Surface Dial, an innovative input device designed to complement a growing lineup of products set-out to abolish the boring keyboard in favour of new multi-touch input technologies.
To complement the unique workflows of CorelDRAW, our design solution was built around an innovative use of the Dial device, and a never-before-seen user customizable Dial on-screen UI.
Worked in partnership with the Microsoft’s Surface design team, in preparation for 2017 Microsoft product launch.
Assumption: CorelDRAW apps are made incredibly modular and customizable. Our users expect every aspect of our software to adapt to their unique workflows.
Solution: The Dial UI features a dynamic "tool panel" allowing the user to choose which tools they'd like to have on hand. The user can enter the Windows Tablet mode - hiding most of the app UI - and continue working using a stylus and the Dial menu alone.
- While using a stylus on screen, the user's non-dominant hand is largely passive and keyboard input is cumbersome.
- The Dial features a physical button and standard Dial UI relies on tap-and-turn action to dig through endless menus. We found this iPod-like behavior tedious and unintuitive.
- The Dial is large device. The screen real estate is very valuable.
- The Dial can be slippery and best used when held in hand.
- We wanted the non-dominant hand to behave similar to an artist's palette. Once the user places the Dial on screen the UI blooms into action; no need to press any buttons. When it is not needed, the UI disappears the moment the user lifts the device.
- Most Dial interaction is handled by the dominant hand (stylus or touch) while the non-dominant hand handles the Dial itself. We found this combination to be most natural; like working with brush and palette.
Assumption: One can only make about 3/4 of a rotation while in a single fluid motion.
Solution: We reserved the scrolling motion to finite value only, where max and min values could be comfortably reached in a single spin.