The Surface tabletop unit created by Microsoft® presented an opportunity to create new interactions across multiple users using multi-touch gestures. Most intriguing was the concept of creating content as the user interface: instead of using numerous buttons and heavy chrome that are in many ways an impedance to interaction, the Bing Maps application focused on direct manipulation of content and stripped away all unnecessary UI.
The Bing Maps application that we created shipped with the Surface unit as one of the few native applications. At its inception, the Surface tabletop design was targeted at large groups, such as hotels, banks, and conventions.
With the goal to support multiple users interacting with the application simultaneously, I considered the use case of a virtual hotel concierge. By using the Bing Maps application, a family visiting a new city could easily pause in their hotel lobby, gather round the Bing Maps app, and explore their nearby area to discover points of interest, museums, and restaurants which are revealed as “cards” fanned out on a map—all of which could easily be portable after sharing the cards to a mobile phone.
How Interactive Design Awards, 2013, Merit Award, App Design