When we explored the next generation of Lexmark touch screens for their printers, gesturing was one of the most apparent pieces that needed further exploration. The previous gen was a FlashLite 3 UI. The gesturing ability within the earlier printers was clunky. Gesture swiping worked—if you had the patience to try it repeatedly. My task was to define the future UI gestures. We needed to update our printer UIs to present-day interaction expectations.
- How would a user interact with our interface?
- Would they prefer horizontal or vertical swiping?
- How does the user know when they have reached the end of the screens.
- How do they know which way to swipe?
On printers, supply status is an essential function. It is similar to the needs one has for notification or control centers on mobile phones. Quick access can be a vital feature for users. How do you enable the user to access Status Supplies quickly?
Swiping down is standard on phones, but would it work for a printer? A problem with the printer touch screen, unlike most phones, is that the printer has a bezel. That bezel makes swiping from the edges difficult—therefore, we had to build in a buffer.
The buffer creates a problematic experience with other components. As we iterated through this issue, we had to reconsider how the user accesses Status Supplies. We tested, iterated, and then redesigned. The process taught us a lot about the limitations and how we needed to adjust for gesturing with a bezel.
Gesturing can make or break an application. If we strayed too far from the norms, the users would never discover the right way to interact with the printer. If we never take risks, we risk always following trends and potentially falling into the same lousy user experience traps.
Testing. Testing is key to discovery and fact-finding.