Open-source
Design System
Application
Development

CAVE-UI

A design system that focuses on data visibility and data analysis, making touch table & wall applications highly usable through UX thought and expertise.

Date
January 28, 2019
Client
Open-source

The design system

Optimizing UI for touch-table and wall pose special challenges.

Low-contrast, low-color-range screens

The precision of monitors put into wall and table displays is not always high, and made worse by being used in brightly-lit rooms. Everything needs to be low-glare (dark theme) and high-contrast to read well.

Imprecise touch

Again, the industrial design of large-scale interactive displays means touch readings can be very imprecise. All designs need to accommodate with extra-forgiving hit boxes and undoable / cancellable interactions.

Strange pixel counts and density

The composite nature of wall-screen displays means that pixel counts can be unusually high (for example 8K fully-addressable pixels) or (if single-monitor) abnormally scaled such that 40 pixels becomes huge. Normal touch / desktop scale is thrown out the window, so all components need to be internally and intelligently adaptive at runtime.

Large physical size relative to people

As discussed earlier, normal touch/mobile design expanded to this scale results in a gargantuan and unusable interactive surface. Component designs need to be focused around keeping controls and interactions “human scale” and usable.

Implementing the designs

When implementing sophisticated real-time visualization applications, you have to find the perfect middle ground between complete but static frameworks, and a loose library of small disconnected parts. The former approach leads to rigid one-size-fits-all apps that can’t be easily customized based on domain insight and specific use cases. The latter requires the rebuilding of each new similar application from scratch, and, since the apps are complicated and real-time, employing costly top-expert developers and architects to do so.

We specialize in building those “just right” software pipelines based on state-of-the art technology and strong ready-to-go but customizable patterns. You can build the top-notch visualization application you want quickly and cost-effectively.

Realtime multi-user, multi-device collaboration

Building a real-time collaborative app that can manipulate and display large volumes of data in 3D & 2D across multiple interacting users and screens is not everyday coding.

The key is to write common facilities & features that handle the hard parts common to all the apps, letting developers and designers concentrate on what is truly unique about their data and their application.

Those features & facilities include things like:

  1. Data hot-loading, marshalling, and streaming
  2. Multi-user session management and presence
  3. Session context synchronization (map, markers, selections, etc.)
  4. What-if / drill-down scenario management and storage
  5. Full history, undo & redo for all scenario edits
  6. Intelligent UI pad management to put interactions at user’s fingertips
  7. 2D/3D geospatial map control & synchronization
  8. Map visualization layer processing
Patterns for expansion and integration

Just as important as providing for what is common in collaborative visualization apps is providing a framework stable and flexible enough to handle expansion into new and novel areas but still built on the same core.

With our “feature backbone” approach, it is easy to add new data formats and reusable features.

Custom extensions have included:

  1. Various database gateways
  2. Voice control
  3. Chat-bots
  4. Virtual and augmented reality
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Projects

A collection of our projects — home-brewed and in collaboration with other companies.