Why We Changed the Composer User Interface

Updating a user interface is risky. Get it wrong and you can turn off existing users, scare off new ones. So why did we change it for IntuiFace Composer Version 5?

The IntuiFace you know today first shipped back in 2011. In the time separating its inaugural launch from the release of Version 5 just a couple months ago, the user interface for Composer evolved mainly through the addition of new capability. Now don't get me wrong. Various aspects of the overall look and organization were updated, particularly to keep the UI looking fresh. But as best we could, the user interface reflected a level of consistency from release to release, ensuring users could upgrade seamlessly and minimizing development cycles on UI changes.

So why did we change it for Version 5?

  • Outlived usefulness.The legacy look had been stretched to its limits. InituiFace had experienced a freakishy fast innovation cycle and the addition of this new capability was starting to overwhelm the traditional layout and approach. Looking ahead, seeing even more cool capability on the horizon, capability not even dreamt of just a couple years ago, we realized the UI had to cry uncle and make way for a refresh. 
  • Accommodate the maturation of our users.In the beginning, everyone using IntuiFace was a newbie. And if we're honest, the feature set - though the most thorough and unique on the market - enabled only modest complexity. Today IntuiFace has unquestionably reached professional grade status, permitting veterans to create fully dynamic, deeply immersive experiences. These power users needed a Composer UI that fit their working habits. HOWEVER, we had to do this without sacrificing the simplicity and intuitiveness required by those new to IntuiFace and those with no desire to go beyond more traditional experiences. 
  • Lessons learned.We've run usability studies, watching novices as they experience IntuiFace for the first time, identifying where they get stuck, what they miss, where confusion lay. This insight eventually resulted in a critical mass of improvements we felt deserved more than a retrofit approach.

The result is Version 5, the product you know today. Here are just some examples of the changes we've made to Composer:

  • Ability to hide side panels, increasing the amount of space available to edit a scene.
  • Search and filter capability for all panels containing variable content, including the Content Library, Scene Content panel and Design Accelerators panel.
  • Multi-screen editing support, enabling placement of the scene editor in one display, customization panels (e.g. Properties, Triggers and Actions, Binding) in another display.
  • In-product links to our online library
  • Access to our HTML5-based Player technology, enabling the testing of tablet-targeted experiences on a Windows PC.
  • Brand new color scheme. Vibrant and modern, just like the content our users can create with IntuiFace.

Even if you don't know the past, we hope you like this future. What do you think? Let us know. We're not finished - more refinements are on the way - but we'd love your insight.

By: The IntuiFace Team
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