At Sprout, we aspired to design a cozy, playful, and humane computing medium for people to be together. We built a collaborative information tabletop as the playground to prototype new interface metaphors for multi-player spatial environment.
We aimed to build an inherently collaborative medium, instead of slapping a feature layer on top of personal computing paradigms. This starts with syncing interaction states across all building blocks in the environment so that people can share one slate of attention with each other.
Cursor is an essential form of rich presence that indicates people’s location and focus. The space itself is permission-less by default to foster a sense of trust and intimacy, just like a studio where makers sit together without barriers between.
When we recenter the focal point of the interface from viewports to people’s cursors, we can contextualize cursor movement as a form of digital body language. It helps us build better shared understanding through unspoken context, i.e. how close people are to the exit.
Our social presence is more nuanced than being inside or outside. The space should retain such nuance as people transition between this gradient of presence. We can pull out our phone for a quick search during a conversation without getting kicked out.
Viewport indicators and cursors hanging at the edge of screen gently inform where people are in peripheral vision. These subtle way-finding cues and digital gestures like pinging are built for canvas environment to add rich context and playful expressions.