HoloStudio was a pioneer app for
HoloLens, and as such we didn’t have any best practices
for 3D UI and interaction design. So we had to figure things out
through user testing, prototyping, and a lot of trial and error. We know that not everybody has the
resources at their disposal to do this type of research, so we wanted to share some of the top
issues we had with UI design on HoloLens during
the development of HoloStudio. [MUSIC] HoloStudio originally had
a rectangular workbench, much like you’d find
in the real world. But the problem is that people have
a lifetime of experience telling them to stay still when they’re
seated in front of a desk and using a computer. So people weren’t really moving
around and exploring their creation. We had the insight to change
the table to be round so there’s no clear front or place
that you were supposed to stand. And all of a sudden people
started walking around and exploring their
creations on their own. So think about what’s
comfortable for the user. Taking advantage of the physical
space is a cool feature of HoloLens and something you can’t
do with many other devices. [MUSIC] So, one of the problems is that users
might be looking in a different direction than something that
needs their attention in your app. Now, on a PC, you can just
pop up a modal dialogue. But when you pop up a dialogue
in front of somebody’s face, it can feel like there’s something
that’s getting in their way. And you want them to
read the message, but they just kinda
wanna get away from it. So we turned our dialogues into
a thought bubble system, and we added tendrils that users could
follow to where their attention was needed in our application. We also made the tendrils pulse, and that implied a sense
of directionality so users knew where to go. It’s much harder in 3D to alert
users to things they need to pay attention to. So using attention directors like
spatial sound, light rays, and thought bubbles can help lead
users to where they need to be. [MUSIC] Sometimes users need to interact
with hologram that’s actually behind another hologram,
which unfortunately blocks the UI. So to keep the UI visible, we tried
moving it close to the user, so it couldn’t get blocked. But then it wasn’t comfortable
to look at a UI that was near, while simultaneously looking at
a hologram that was far away. If, however, we move the UI in
front of the closest hologram to the user, it felt like it was
detached from the hologram that it was actually affecting. We finally ghosted the UI, and this
puts the UI at the same distance as the hologram it’s affecting, so
they feel like they’re connected. And it allows the user to
interact with the UI even though it’s been obscured. Users need to be able to
easily access controls even if they’ve been blocked. So figure out methods to ensure that
users can complete their tasks, no matter where their holograms
are in the real world. [MUSIC]

Microsoft HoloLens: 3 HoloStudio UI and Interaction Design Learnings
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