Smartphone as Shortcut Remote

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Lauscher, Sep 20, 2018.

  1. Lauscher

    Lauscher Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Would anyone be interested in an app that would turn your phone into something like the Wacom ExpressKey Remote?

    I am currently studying Mediadesign/-Informatics and developed a prototype for such an app in a previous term. Now I am thinking about taking that prototype and develop it into a fully-fledged app as my Bachelor project.

    As reference here is a small Concept video we shot for the app during concept phase:


    I hope that this App could be a solution for the following problems.

    First and foremost, provide easy access to shortcuts. Working with a big graphic tablet like a Cintq makes it sometimes hard or at least uncomfortable to reach for your keyboard for shortcuts. Older graphic tablets solved that with programmable Express Keys but it seems that Wacom moved away from that with their newer devices. Also on most 2in1 devices you don’t have access to the keyboard when you put it in tablet/drawing mode.

    Prevent Clutter. With accessories like the Wacom Remote or similar devices you have to keep track of and carry around another device, but with your phone you already have a device at your hand which could do the same task with this app.

    Provide an alternative for touch input. Some 2in1 devices suffer from bad palm rejection when the touch screen is active and many Cintiq alternatives don’t come with touch at all. This app could provide access to touch gestures when your device doesn’t come with it and without interfering with the pen input.

    So what do you guys think? Would you be interested in testing the app?
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2018
  2. Azzart

    Azzart Late night illustrator Senior Member

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    Sure, idea is interesting.
    I remember Corel years ago made an app for iPad called Cinco that was supposed to be used as a shortcut controller for Painter on a computer.

    Shortcuts on a touchscreen aren't as good as physical buttons, but having something like this on my phone to use any time I need could prove quite useful. :)
     
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  3. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

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    My thought is that buttons are harder and sliders are better- you have a larger area to hit and the motion to create input is more obvious and clearly directed by ergonomics. Buttons require accuracy and repeated tapping to get the proper results. Much harder, and generally requires much more space per butto ln to make input accurate on a touch screen, if you don’t want to have to physically pay much attention to the phone screen.

    If one could actually reprogram whatever physical buttons were available, that would be good too. Just a thought.
     
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  4. Lauscher

    Lauscher Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Never heard of Cinco before, but that looks interesting.
    You are right, physical buttons are better than buttons on a touchscreen. That is why I hope we will get screens with haptic feedback sooner than later, because that technology would be awesome for apps like this.
    I don't intend for this app to be the ultimate replacement for physical express keys just an alternative. In fact I do like the Wacom Remote but think it is ridiculous that it isn't included with most Cintiqs. And sadly its use with 2in1s is limited by the fact that they went with a proprietary dongle for connection instead of Bluetooth. The dongle is just so easy to loose and full size usb ports are becoming increasingly rare.

    Yes sliders will definitely be there as an alternative for simple buttons. The goal for the layout is to be fully customizable by the user.
    You are also right that it would be better to not have to pay attention to the phone for most actions. That is why we try to intergrate touch gestures, so that you could for example undo with a swipe left and redo with a swipe right. We also want to experiment with custom gestures like maybe doing an s-like shape will act as the save command.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2018
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  5. Shizaru

    Shizaru Scribbler - Standard Member

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    There are already some apps out there such as https://infinimote.wixsite.com/home, which would probably be worth investigating to see where improvements could be made. Infinimote is pretty comprehensive with plenty of scope for custom user configurations.

    Imho the biggest problem with these solutions is the lack of tactile feedback which physical buttons deliver. It's much easier to use a device with physical buttons, rotary and slider functions, because it's much easier to retain orientation without having to physically glance at the device.

    I guess one approach could be to create some sort of overlay which would provide so physical feedback to aid orientation?
     
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  6. WillAdams

    WillAdams Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    It's a cool idea, and I'd like to see it done well.

    One thing to consider which seems to help quite a bit is audio feedback --- it was remarkable how much it improved the ball scroller on the original Apple Magic Mouse.
     
  7. Lauscher

    Lauscher Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Thanks for the link, will definitely check that out to see how they handled certain things.
    Audio feedback? Very interesting suggestion.
     
  8. Azzart

    Azzart Late night illustrator Senior Member

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    works through wifi network.
    that's a big problem.
    Bluetooth or nothing. :D
     
  9. Lauscher

    Lauscher Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Just a quick update, the app got accepted as the topic of my bachelor thesis and I am currently conducting a survey on the shortcut usage of designers, especially when using a pen input device.

    It would be amazing if you could take the time to fill it out. Depending on your answers it shouldn’t take longer than 10-20 minutes. Also, if you know anyone else outside this forum who might be interested in the survey feel free to share it.

    Here’s the link to the survey:
    https://goo.gl/forms/JUcxzSumXCuqJrEd2

    Thanks in advance to anyone participating :)
     
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  10. WillAdams

    WillAdams Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Did the survey, but the problem is I don't so much want shortcuts, as modifier keys --- I need:

    - shift
    - alt
    - control (and Command)
    - tab
    - space

    These all have specific meanings in Freehand, and I need them to work efficiently.
     
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