Windows Handwriting Experiences

UX design, prototyping

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On Windows, there are two ways to input text using a pen—the Handwriting Panel and the Embedded Ink Control.

Goals

Allow users to more effectively input text with a pen. Reduce complexity in the experience without revoking existing functionality. Make handwriting input feel more intuitive and immediate.

Strategy

The Handwriting Panel had a long history and had undergone many redesigns. This time around, I simplified the number of buttons visible to the user by default, added an entrypoint for user education, and simplified the number of steps needed to commit text to a field. I also created a XAML prototype to test microinteractions before finalizing the design.

One of the biggest challenges was bridging the gap between design and engineering. After much trial and error, validation, and bug filing, I worked with engineering to achieve a polished experience.

An evolution of the Handwriting Panel, the Embedded Ink Control (EIC) was created to deliver a way to write directly into a text field. To inform the design for the EIC, I built XAML prototypes for user studies to determine a comfortable height for the writing surface.