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Microsoft Surface User Experience

Surface 1.0 SP1

Before you design and build Microsoft Surface applications, you should understand what the users see and experience.

When users are interacting with a Microsoft Surface unit, they have no mouse or keyboard or any reason to use them. More importantly, users do not see any Microsoft Windows user interface and they are not aware that the Windows Vista operating system is present in the unit. This situation is called user mode. In user mode, all Windows user interface and functionality are suppressed.

In a typical session, a user:

  • Interacts with an attract application, which is similar to a screen saver that is touch-sensitive. Attract applications are designed to attract users to the unit and then entice them to interact with the unit.

  • Taps one of the access points in the corners of the Microsoft Surface screen to open Launcher and explore other applications. Launcher is a horizontal filmstrip that moves across the screen and displays icons for all available applications. Users always start an application from Launcher.

  • Taps a preview image in Launcher to select and open a Microsoft Surface application. An application that users start from Launcher displays on the entire Microsoft Surface screen. Only one application displays at a time, but multiple applications can run simultaneously.

  • Navigates between Launcher and applications by tapping the access points.

  • Finishes their session by returning to Launcher and tapping the I'm done button.

The Microsoft Surface platform also includes automatic time-outs. If a user does not touch a Microsoft Surface unit after a set period of time when an application is running, Microsoft Surface asks whether the user wants to continue using the application or close everything and end the experience (which returns the unit to the attract application). If the user does not respond, all applications close and the unit displays the attract application.

In addition, the Microsoft Surface unit displays an out-of-order screen if it encounters an error that it cannot recover from.

You can also configure the Microsoft Surface user experience to use one of the following features:

  • Configure object routing so that users can open applications by using tagged objects instead of Launcher.

  • Enable single-application mode so that a Microsoft Surface unit runs only one application at all times. In this mode, the Microsoft Surface software does not display an attract application or Launcher.

  • Set up a localized user interface so that the Microsoft Surface software uses a different language and format for the user interface, including numbers, currencies, keyboard layouts, and so on.

For more information about what users interact with on a Microsoft Surface unit, see the following topics:

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