Microsoft Surface and Windows 7

7 Jan 2009 - 1:46pm
5 years ago
19 replies
2500 reads
jaketrimble
2008

I was just wondering what people thought about the new Microsoft
Surface. Has anyone had a chance to demo it or play with the SDK?
Also, any thoughts on how interaction design will be impacted with MS
Surface technology being used with Windows 7 (due out late 09 early
10)? What preemptive measures can we take to deal with the shift in
how a user interacts (touch screen vs mouse) with applications on
there desktop pc or laptop?

http://www.microsoft.com/SURFACE/index.html

Thanks,
Jake

Comments

7 Jan 2009 - 2:41pm
DanP
2006

Hi Jake,

I think some talented designers from Stimulant in San Francisco might
be on the list to comment. They're doing great work in this area and
are most qualified to comment. I can pipe in with some realizations I
had during my limited experience working on Surface design(s). Hope it
helps a little.

* Human factors: became more important in the design process. Users
having both hands or multiple fingers on the screen really meant
having to think about limits of human anatomy more. How might this
technology help or alienate the handicapped?

* Multiple user interactions: The surface table has an added challenge
of multiple users sharing the same device, so dealing with simple
screen real-estate, making best use of the physical and social
interactions between users and designing new and interesting methods
for such interactions is both challenging and fun. I really was amazed
how much intellectual property there is in this space - despite being
worked on by major companies, it's wide open.

* Consistency of interaction: Designing for this space means that the
connection between visual cues and user actions is more complex. For
instance, what signals a user that they can touch multiple sides of a
window simultaneously? How might an interface convey to the user
multiple-fingers can be used to select and object for differing
behavior? One finger means x, while two, three or more means y. Where
do the menus fall if hands are in the way during this procedure?
Architecture is king in this space - and I can't say enough how many
more variables are introduced by the addition of multi-touch, multi-
user. This will tax our skills as designers.

To your excellent question about preemptive measures... being exposed
to the technology is a good first step. We all have relatively active
imaginations and some hands-on time with a surface table might light
up the issues at hand. I think your enquiry is on time rather than too
early. This technology is being defined now and will be making it's
way into devices regularly.

I'd love to write a very complete paper defining architecture
consistency in this space... What "best practices" should be applied
to multi-touch/multi-user interfaces?

Best,
-Dan

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dan Peknik * Industrial/Interaction Design
NASA Ames Research Center * Moffett Field, California
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On Jan 7, 2009, at 10:46 AM, Jake Trimble wrote:

> I was just wondering what people thought about the new Microsoft
> Surface. Has anyone had a chance to demo it or play with the SDK?
> Also, any thoughts on how interaction design will be impacted with MS
> Surface technology being used with Windows 7 (due out late 09 early
> 10)? What preemptive measures can we take to deal with the shift in
> how a user interacts (touch screen vs mouse) with applications on
> there desktop pc or laptop?
>
> http://www.microsoft.com/SURFACE/index.html
>
> Thanks,
> Jake
> ________________________________________________________________
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7 Jan 2009 - 3:06pm
SteveJBayer
2008

>From the information given on the site and related articles, it
appears surface is geared towards running a touch enabled 'wall
mounted information display' devices rather than traditional
desktops or laptops.

The pricing on the order form
(http://download.microsoft.com/download/B/5/0/B504E1A9-A112-4A4B-B2C4-07F18E0C6210/MSSurfOrdv1.2.zip)
appears to fit in with the pricing of a (large) table sized display
device

Surface appears to be designed to run on a dedicated Windows OS
(Vista based) for devices that are more geared towards being
'interactive notice boards' (well suited for use in information
kiosks) than workstations.

Its unlikely touch gestures would be working when Windows 7 ships.
For home use, surface technology more suited to the coffee table
(read news, play board games) than in a conventional computer screen.

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7 Jan 2009 - 4:07pm
jaketrimble
2008

Thanks for your input Steve, but I think you are mistaken about the
Windows 7 touch capabilities.

http://blog.gadgetlite.com/2008/05/30/microsoft-surface-multi-touch-technology-enhances/

Also, this will immediately go beyond "'interactive notice boards'
(well suited for use in information kiosks)" as you said.
Restaurants, game centers, etc...the sky is the limit. I have seen
the SDK in action and it is very easy to code with. Any
semi-experienced designer can create applications with ease. Thus
making the Surface's uses boundless.

BTW...Dan, Thank you so much for your post! That was the type of
response I was trying to incite. I would love to see your paper if
you ever are able to write it.

-Jake

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7 Jan 2009 - 6:32pm
DanP
2006

Glad to help. Forgot to append these links to get the ball rolling:

http://www.touchuserinterface.com

Also, a neat dissertation on the subject:

http://tinyurl.com/9cfkh7

Best,
-Dan

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dan Peknik * Industrial/Interaction Design
NASA Ames Research Center * Moffett Field, California
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On Jan 7, 2009, at 1:07 PM, Jake Trimble wrote:
>
>
> BTW...Dan, Thank you so much for your post! That was the type of
> response I was trying to incite. I would love to see your paper if
> you ever are able to write it.
>
> -Jake
>

8 Jan 2009 - 1:48am
Greg Petroff
2004

We are going to have a Surface Table at the coming Interaction'09|vancouver conference for all who are attending to interact with.

-GP

8 Jan 2009 - 3:27am
Yohan Creemers
2008

At the Design by Fire 2008 conference, Joe Fletcher presented a design
vision for Microsoft Surface.

Go to http://www.designbyfire.nl/2008/coverage for his slide deck or
check http://designIsBeautiful.com/?p=74 for a summary of the key
slides.

- Yohan

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10 Jan 2009 - 6:43am
Alban Hermet
2008

Hi,

The company I work for (http://www.intuilab.com) works for 2 years on
surface computing application's design.

We experienced devices like diamondtouch or stantum's SMK. We have
also designed and produced our own multitouch hardware solution (see
http://www.intuiface.com).

We also are currently "playing" with Microsoft Surface SDK and
hardware.

In my point of view, the main challenge is designing both for
multi-touch AND multi-users.
Switching from a single "pointer" (whatever the input : monotouch
screen, mouse...) to multitouch gestures is a wide gap. It increases
possibilities for users to interact and complexity that designers
have to manage.

Another point : the Microsoft Surface is a table. This is obvisous to
say, but this has wide impacts on design. That means that users can
use the application from any side, there is no top or bottom of the
screen. Orientation(s) of objects, texts etc is then a serious issue.

Finaly (the list is definitively not exhautive), it is pretty hard to
define the number of users that will use the table at a time. Design
solutions have to be relevant for 1 OR 2 OR 3 OR ... users at a time.
This introduce severe constraints on design when those users are
working on the same object of interest.

Hope this help.

Alban

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11 Jan 2009 - 5:25am
SteveJBayer
2008

Surface also uses optical sensing (IR Cameras) for multi touch inputs
which differs from capacitive touch used on handsets. The benefits of
optical sensing are sensing of multiple finger gestures while
capacitive touch is limited to 2 finger gesture sensing.

Hardware that can add touch sensing to desktop monitor screens and
notebooks:
http://www.n-trig.com/

If Windows 7 does support capturing more than 2 finger gestures (and
most likely it would,) the hardware to enable more than 2 finger
gesture sensing on desktop or notebook screens does not seem to be
available in the near future.

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11 Jan 2009 - 10:01pm
SteveJBayer
2008

While more than 2 finger gesture support isn't practical due to
hardware limits for desktop gesture capturing, dual finger gesture
support is built into Vista too:
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc872774.aspx

Whats notable for me are the 8 'flicks'

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8 Jan 2009 - 10:18am
Richard Monson-...
2009

Although I had heard of the Microsoft Surface as early as the spring
of last year, the first time I had a chance to try one was in
September of 2008. The experience changed my life. No really. You
just can't appreciate a large multitouch surface until you try a
good one. Microsoft Surface provides for an excellent experience.

Last month I purchased my own Surface unit so that I can develop
applications for it and help others appreciate this new paradigm.
Like the iPhone its addicting and totally different and thrilling
compared to traditional human-computer interfaces.

That said, the design of multitouch systems both large and small is
very different from traditional web or GUI design. Everything, from
the way in which you invoke actions to the style in which you design
interfaces, is radically different. There is no past experience for
users to draw on so you must make everything intuitive and
discoverable. That's an exciting challenge for designers and
developers a like.

Before the Surface I was, and still am, into the iPhone for much the
same reasons. Now I have both devices and I've learned that they
are at once very different and much the same. There are some aspects
of multitouch design that are unique to the Surface but many others
which are shared by Surface and iPhone.

In the future Apple, Microsoft, HP, and others will bring multitouch
to the masses. While multitouch is not well suited as the only
interface for the desktop, its has enormous potential in hand helds
(obviously), large collaborative surfaces, and tablets. In fact,
the Tablet form factor for computers is likely to see greater
adoption because of multitouch support. In 18 months tablet computers
with multitoch, used as netbooks, will be all the rage.

There is little or no design guidance on multitouch computing. Some
vendors such as Apple and Microsoft have published best practices but
other resources are scattered through out the internet in the form of
blog posts, articles, and research papers.

This year I'm working on a multitouch design book for a major
publisher which will hopefully pull all that information together and
provide a set of best design practices for multitouch devices. I hope
people will join me in identifying best practices and documenting them
in the form of a book.

All the best,

Richard Monson-Haefel
http://www.monson-haefel.com

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7 Jan 2009 - 3:23pm
Andrew Boyd
2008

On Thu, Jan 8, 2009 at 5:46 AM, Jake Trimble <jake.trimble at gmail.com> wrote:

> I was just wondering what people thought about the new Microsoft
> Surface. Has anyone had a chance to demo it or play with the SDK?
> Also, any thoughts on how interaction design will be impacted with MS
> Surface technology being used with Windows 7 (due out late 09 early
> 10)? What preemptive measures can we take to deal with the shift in
> how a user interacts (touch screen vs mouse) with applications on
> there desktop pc or laptop?
>
> http://www.microsoft.com/SURFACE/index.html
>
> Thanks,
> Jake
>

Hi Jake,

I love the concept, played with one at WDS last year, ran through a design
exercise for Surface at Shane Morris' (MSFT Ux Evangelist and very clever
guy) workshop at Oz-IA.

Lots of potential, needs more tools in its box to be the total wow factor
fulfillment of the marketing video promise, but they are up and running now.
I would have one as a coffee table in a flash :)

For myself, I've been thinking about how things will change when Surface is
also Pocket Surface, Roll Up Mat Surface, and Wall. Additional functionality
to play with, and piece together into new ways of doing everyday stuff.

Cheers, Andrew

--
---
Andrew Boyd
http://uxcommunity.org -- User Experience Community
http://uxbookclub.org -- connect, read, discuss

14 Jan 2009 - 7:00pm
Dan Saffer
2003

On Jan 8, 2009, at 7:18 AM, Richard Monson-Haefel wrote:

> There is little or no design guidance on multitouch computing. Some
> vendors such as Apple and Microsoft have published best practices but
> other resources are scattered through out the internet in the form of
> blog posts, articles, and research papers.

ORLY?

<http://www.designinggesturalinterfaces.com>

14 Jan 2009 - 8:00pm
Todd Warfel
2003

Looks like you're gonna corner the market on this one.

On Jan 14, 2009, at 7:00 PM, Dan Saffer wrote:

> ORLY?
>
> <http://www.designinggesturalinterfaces.com>

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
President, Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
Twitter: zakiwarfel
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

14 Jan 2009 - 8:40pm
Itamar Medeiros
2006

This is not exactly about Microsoft Surface, but Autodesk Labs
(http://labs.autodesk.com/) has been experimenting with adapting
Autodesk%u2019s design software to a Multi-Touch Wall device,
produced by Perceptive Pixel and invented by researcher and Jeff Han
(http://www.ted.com/index.php/speakers/view/id/65).

As you view this demo
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7ENumwMohs&eurl=http://designative.info/2008/03/31/look-into-the-future-with-autodesk-labs-multi-touch-wall-part-ii/),
imagine that a team of designers stand before a huge screen that acts
like an intelligent whiteboard: Autodesk Design Review, you can
review each part of a model and interact with it directly. No
keyboard or mouse needed.

Multi-touch devices have the potential to make design creation and
collaboration much easier in the future.

{ Itamar Medeiros } Information Designer
designing clear, understandable communication by
carefully structuring, contextualizing, and presenting
data and information

mobile ::: 86 13671503252
website ::: http://designative.info/
aim ::: itamarlmedeiros
skype ::: designative

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14 Jan 2009 - 10:25pm
Richard Monson-...
2009

@Dan Saffer

Your book is excellent and I'm sure it will be known as a seminal
work on gestural interfaces - I should have mentioned it in my post.

That said, I think you will agree when I say its not the only
resource multi-touch developers need. One book is what I meant when
I said "little or no" resources. Look at most other fields in
interface design (i.e. WIMP and web) and you'll see lot of
resources.

The reason I decided to work on a multi-touch design book was because
its the kind of book I wish was around to help me learn multi-touch
design. As is the case with any resource it will be based on
concepts defined by others but whose guidance is spread out across
the web in blogs, articles, and papers. My co-author, Jonathan
Brill, has a decade of experience in multi-touch and a lot of great
design concepts he wants to share. I hope that our book will be
helpful and will provide a deep-dive discussion about multitouch that
people will learn from.

Anyway, your book on gestural interface design is excellent and I
recommend it to everyone. I think, however, there is a need for more
resources.

All the best,

Richard

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15 Jan 2009 - 10:33am
Dan Saffer
2003

No single book is the definitive source on any topic ever. Different
authors will bring different emphases and their skills and experience
to the same topic, especially a topic as fast-moving as gestural
interfaces.

Just my duty to object to there not being anything out there on this
topic. I have a 1.2 pound object that took nine months to write that
says otherwise. :)

Dan

Dan Saffer
Designing Gestural Interfaces
http://www.designinggesturalinterfaces.com

15 Jan 2009 - 10:51am
Bob Sampson
2008

Good Microsoft Surface blog:
http://blogs.msdn.com/surface/

I think the most interesting thing about designing for Surface, which
I've only done in sketches in OneNote on my TabletPC :), is that you
design a 360 degree layout. No more header/footer, menu on top,
yadayada. A whole new way of thinking about UI/UX.

New things are also good for people with ADD like I am, so I don't
get bored :)

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17 Jan 2009 - 3:08pm
Jonathan Brill
2009

I worked with the Surface team and post an almost daily bit on
designing for Surface and multi-touch at:
http://www.pointanddo.com

Also, buy Dan Saffer's book. It provides a nice overview of UX
issues in multi-touch, physical computing and context aware
computing.

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26 Jan 2009 - 9:32pm
jaketrimble
2008

Thank you to everyone for your input. I have really enjoyed reading
feedback and link suggestions. I look forward to the evolution of
this design process and I applaud those who are working towards
defining best practices for all to learn from and add to.

Regards,
Jake

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