August 2019 saw the announcement of the ZenBook Pro Duo by ASUS co-CEOs on stage in Computex. The notebook’s innovative design sparked a worldwide media interest. At the heart, is the ScreenXpert, which enhances the content creator’s creative process. We spoke to the team members behind the ScreenXpert to learn about the project goals and understand what the designers wanted to convey through their work.
“It was our first adventure as a team, where we collaborated with the Design Researchers and Industrial Designers in SADC,” recalls Kesaven. Singapore’s User Experience team was made up of relatively new members when they embarked on this project. “This project is totally new as none of us never imagined it before.”
Despite the innovative and cutting-edge design, a deep understanding of what the users’ needs are paramount in improving their workflow. “We focused on the interaction between the two screens as we aimed to enhance the user’s productivity “, adds Yiting. To improve the user’s productivity, they needed to understand the user, while imagining what they need on a dual-screen laptop. “From the research findings, we found out that they wanted to achieve efficiency. We then consolidated all the ideas into ScreenXpert.”
The team took part in user interviews, analyzed the ScreenPad Generation 1, did brainstorming workshops, created their own design language, and hacked up a prototype – even before a working model came out – to bring their ideas into reality. They had to navigate all these while mitigating new requests related to the project from other departments. “We had a request to look into the lower performance version of the ZenBook Pro Duo,” Hsiao-Fan, the newly-minted team lead, notes. “We held a brainstorming session to understand the kind of user who will use this machine. Because multitasking is one of the important values for these two screen machines, we gathered these core values and came up with the target audience.”
Their work contributes to the feel of the user interaction. As most of our notebooks are installed with the Windows OS, the team had to design the ScreenXpert such that it did not have a distinctive feel. “We wanted the style to be more precise by eliminating the unnecessary element. We made the icon as simple as possible with more space and a lively look, while having a smooth micro-interaction,” shares Yiting. ”We had to check Microsoft’s policy to ensure we can do it a certain way.”
Software design is an iterative process. The team had to conduct usability testing on the ScreenXpert to elicit users’ perspectives. It was a good learning experience for them as it serves some purposes. “It allowed us to tell and spread the news to the different stakeholders, and to rationalize our design with supporting videos and evidence,” describes Kesaven.
Since the project’s inception, the team has grown into a tightly knit group with a strong sense of trust in each other’s abilities. As Kesaven reflects, “We grew to trust each other even more. Every designer has their own approach to get things done. We build trust in the course of this project and continued to build that trust.”
With the launch of ZenBook Pro Duo, the team looks forward to the new challenges ahead. The key moments experienced during the design and development process has also led to a shift in mindset. Hsiao-Fan explains, “Although we’re called UE designers, I expect we call ourselves as Product Designers. We deal not only with the user experience, but we need to see the overall product strategy. I think it’s an important mindset to find out what the user really wants.” Furthermore, they acknowledge the product would not be realized without the contributions from other teams such as the Software and the User Experience teams. “It’s a whole team effort – we had to think about of the issues and decide collectively.”
The innovative ScreenXpert provides an enhanced workflow to content creators. With empathy, trust, and teamwork among the SADC User Experience team members, they have successfully understood what the user needs even before the product came to light.
Get to know more about ScreenXpert features: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPPqeaMayTk