The hardware team had drawn some lines on the concept drawings with a potential to add sensors underneath but software was not thought at that stage. When there was a sudden change in the deadlines, I was asked to find the right software solution.
The shape on the concepts somehow resembled the old shortcut feature on MacOS 9 where the apps were being launched through a bar. I decided to explore a similar feature.
The touch area could potentially be bigger, -even full screen- to make interaction easier. I moved forward by creating high fidelity wireframes to test some ideas.
Design and prototyping:
I also kickstarted discussions with the development team and requested a proof of concept with what I had at that time. With each iteration we increased quality on the UX and UI.
Our research team in New York made some user testing regarding the interaction and the results were promising. All users in the test understood the touch area and tapped into the desired location to launch features in the short cut menu.
The most important thing for having Active Edge was to give easy access to barcode scanning as it was the most commonly used feature on TC51 and TC56. The average time spent launching the scanner decreased 1.2 seconds on average compared to launching it from an app, a significant increase on efficiency.