Microsoft's latest vision of the future includes spaces where users interact with giant displays. Apart from looking great, Microsoft believes the cost of these devices will drop significantly enough to make them commonplace in offices of the future. To enable productivity and increased interactivity between devices and these displays, Microsoft is researching a number of ways of improving the experience of sharing data to and from these screens.
At the company's annual TechFest this week, one particular demonstration focuses on providing contextual menus instead of making users reach to the side of the display or to the top for interaction menus. It's a minor improvement in the grand scheme of touchscreen interaction, but when you're using large screen device then it becomes essential to avoid moving around to access UI elements.
An additional idea Microsoft is investigating is linking mobile phones with these large screen displays and Kinect, allowing the phone to act as a remote for interactions or a content hub depending upon the person's proximity. One example is being able to alter the color of the pen ink when standing close to the display; step away and UI changes to drive the entire interface as a remote control. Microsoft also demonstrates the ability to flick information from a smartphone to a large screen display, especially useful for sharing a PowerPoint presentation.
We're likely some years away from this being a common scenario in office workplaces, especially the large screens, but this research work highlights Microsoft's interest in making touchscreen scenarios a lot more productive. If we're going to move fully to a world of touch, which ultimately feels inevitable, then these small improvements will become experiences we take for granted in future.