Friday 9 September 2011

iOSDev UK: Designing multi-user, single device interfaces on the iPad

Kate Ho, interface3, @kateho

  • Started by designing for Microsoft Tablet
    • kids started saying “this would be really cool an iPad…”

Example multi-user apps

Multi-user (sharing a single device at the same time)

  • Versus Games:
    • Examples: PaddleBattle, Dorfball(?), Table Twister, Touch of Fun
    • Very simple games: you’d think people would get bored, but people get very competitive
    • “You can only play for 30 seconds at a time without killing each other” — playing with 8 year-olds can be very bad
    • Best place to find inspiration for these games are the Wii mini games (Raving Rabbids, etc)
  • Co-op Games:
    • Complete an objective together
    • from interface3: iHave (just released)
    • who has the maths answer?
    • collectively get as many points as possible
    • SliceHD — maybe not meant for multiplayer, but great for kids!
  • Games with a twist:
    • one idea: two people playing on an iPad, and another player on a
  • Creative
  • Exploration scenarios
    • Topsee — can have a look at something and pass it over to someone else
    • interface3 interactive mortgage guide on a Surface
    • multitouch is better than keyboard since you don’t have to ask permission from the other person — just reach in a grab
  • Small group interactions
    • one person in charge and two to three people learning over the same device
    • interface3 built CoachAssist


  • design without orientation
    • circular buttons with both-way-up text
    • rotate the text every now and then
    • draggable, rotatable objects
  • try to avoid one player’s actions getting in the way of others
  • design for short interactions
    • around an iPad people are sharing personal space
    • especially if they have to put their head over the screen
  • make sure players aren’t kept waiting
  • don’t have too many complex gestures
    • “gestures are like the 21st Century command line”
    • you shouldn’t spend too much time explaining yourself
  • create shared experiences
    • what could two people do together that they couldn’t do by themselves

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