Express Mobile Software For Quantum Ultra
Express Mobile Software (EMS) for Quantum Ultra is a control application for Extron's Quantum Ultra videowall processors. It is a progressive web-app built with Angular and wrapped with Electron to run on Apple® iOS®, Google® Android™, and Microsoft® Surface tablets.
I supported EMS shortly after its inception and continue to build the product offerings through version and feature releases.
Feature Case Study: Canvas Permissions
Request: Limit canvas availability for certain users and sources
A single Quantum Ultra processor can power multiple videowalls, but our customers needed a way to declare whether a particular source is appropriate to display on all configured canvases or just a few. The same ability was also needed to limit users to only a few canvases.
A diagram developed during a group user interview to describe the idea of different user and source configurations between project canvases. The diagram also hints at the idea of permission levels.
Exploration: Which is more appropriate?
Interfacing with the Quantum videowalls can range from the technical installer, who is constructing the network in a related control software, to a front-desk layperson swapping preset layouts on a tablet. The mental model these two users have is quite different, and finding a shared solution to limits compromises is a challenge.
We developed two approaches that highlighted different values (and natural tradeoffs):
The Grid view certainly provides a broad overview and quick access across a span of canvases, but it potentially losses key information the more condensed it gets.
The List view is easy to approach and follow, but extensive changes (or changes across multiple canvases) can be difficult to accomplish quickly.
Both layouts were approached with Active Directory and Permission Level features in mind.
Feedback: Dependent on the perspective
You could say we got lucky or you could say we had good foresight, but feedback on these designs correlated with the level of interfacing the user has with the system. Integrators preferred the condensed grid, with only slight hesitation over the canvas indexing, and only with regards to revisiting a pre-established system. End user admins preferred the mental model of the list, but showed hesitancy towards large tasks without the presence of an additional filter (permission level), or unless the view of the content area didn't change when going between canvas selections.
Work Needed: Nothing lives by itself
Some good discoveries and direction were established by the development of this feature. However, many items should still be visited to ensure a good experience is bring produced, such as:
changes to the UI for the desktop software that eliminate the canvas title concerns
more robust user management solutions for EMS to empower non-integrator admins
deciding available filtering and search behaviors
reasoning through instance conflict resolutions
exploring possible gesture solutions which may provide easier interaction, or generate alternate models to adopt or UI solutions