Ambient Visualization of Kinect Tracking

April 13 2013

The Challenge

Xbox 360 dashboard shows a live image from Kinect - or the predator view (from the Predator). It was more functional than aesthetic, and uncannily creepy. As the team designed Xbox One, the complaint naturally surfaced again.

The Explorations

I explored dozens of options for a more abstract, subtle, delightful but informative visualization of what Kinect is tracking.

User Study And Reflection

The Ripple visualization attracted special interest from the design team because it tied in with the particle-based cursor animations that were being explored. I combined the ambient visualization and the engagement motion in a prototype. It was tested in the lab and got really good feedback.

The decision was eventually made to cut the feature from the dashboard. It was too expensive to fit into the memory budget, and there was no evidence how much it would improve the users’ ability to troubleshoot Kinect tracking. The fatal weakness of the idea was that there would be no feedback when the Kinect failed to track the body. The predator view, as ugly as it was, was still the most effective way to communicate any tracking problems.

user experience console Kinect natural user interface gesture C#