Magic Leap: Create


Lead Visual UI/UX Designer: I was responsible for leading the visual design of Create’s UI and helping to define best practices, core principles, and interactions of our UX. I worked collaboratively across the whole production process to ensure designs met the expectations of stakeholders and users through playtests.


"Create" was a flagship experience shipped on the Magic Leap One device. The project was a physics-based sandbox game that illustrated the potential of our emerging platform. One of the main drivers of Create was to demonstrate best practices and spatial design considerations to developers.


UI/UX, 3D modeling, Interaction design, Concept design, Motion design, XR design


Auggie Award Winner 2019 - Best Game
Patent number: D0879811 - Display panel or portion thereof with a transitional mixed reality graphical user interface
Patent number: D892133 - Display panel or portion thereof with graphical user interface


Welcome to "Create"

Step into a delightfully weird new world of colorful characters, art, and physics. Because Magic Leap One understands the world around you, physical and digital barriers dissolve and a new dynamic landscape manifests in your room.

Guiding Principles 

  • Intuitive: Create is a broadly accessible experience. Intuitive interactions and recognizable content allow you to venture into spatial computing in your own space, on your own terms.
  • Explorative: Learn how Magic Leap One works through Create, and explore spatial computing in a way that can't help but make you smile.
  • Educational: Create provides a clear look at how a multitude of features work on Magic Leap One, from character AI to UI interactions, room meshing to 6DoF controls.

Iteration: 2D

I started initial explorations using 2D UI paradigms. We quickly decided as a team that we wanted to take advantage of the 3D nature of our developing platform and push the limits of our visual and interaction design.

The focus of the iterations to follow 2D:

  • Spatial UI, skeuomorphic design
  • Form following function, industrial design principles
  • Account for various object types, consider scalability

Iteration: "Diorama" 

I wanted to present objects in an interesting way, provoking curiosity through an invitation for users not only to grab objects but to appreciate their details before setting them loose in their space. Through user testing and system constraints, particularly a clipping plane being enforced, we decided as a team to move away from this direction. 


  • Constantly evolving hardware/software changing requirements 
  • Clipping plane implementation, leading to UX difficulties when viewing items within arms reach 
  • Moving away from intuitive interaction because of hardware constraints
  • Browsing when platform scales to dozens of items

Iteration: "Modular"

I experimented with a robust, modular interface with extractable components coupled with a raycast interaction. 

While this was fun, it transformed the experience into a pro-tool instead of the accessible product we were trying to build. As a team we ultimately decided to simplify to the bare minimum, favoring the content over a complex interface.


Iteration: "Lightbox"

Ultimately the team landed on the idea of shelves contained inside a frame, where form followed function. We validated this concept through playtesting to ensure the design met the user's mental model for how the interaction should work. This metaphor let us pose all the objects as if they were part of a collectible display shelf which users could simply scroll through to quickly access. It also elevated the perception of the game objects visually by displaying them as trophies. 


  • An impossible yet familiar object 
  • Matched users mental model 
  • Scroll based browsing was intuitive

Create 1.0

This was the final GUI for the first release of Create. Thorough user testing informed the scale, body-centric placement, final form, iconography, and interaction.


  • Patented System
  • Visual feedback & shader support on object states
  • Reduced user errors with reinforcing interactions
  • Hover states + animation  
  • Gauge system indicating “cost” of each object to keep framerate high

Create 1.1

The latest version of the Create GUI took a more minimal approach based on user feedback. I simplified the form and recreated a portal metaphor for the scrolling action. The background used a transparent shader as to not obscure the real world behind the menu.


  • “Spatial Locator” that indicates object placement in regards to world space, user position and other digital objects
  • Minimal UI, focusing the experience on content in the scene
  • Affordances for grabbing and menu translation/rotation

Inputs & Interactions

The Controller was the main input for Create because it required the least amount of physical effort from the user and offered a wide range of features that we could leverage to amplify our interactions.


  • Gaze Control: Limited range of motion and strenuous in the long term
  • Gesture Control: Novel, but extremely physically demanding and lacking haptic feedback

Affrodances & Placement

The menu is tethered to the user with an invisible leash following body-centric constraints. This allows the menu to always be nearby for easy and quick content extraction. 


  • “Pinning” affordance for walls and planar surfaces
  • Rules around how the menu would follow the user 
  • Max/min limits to account for our clipping plane and focal lengths

Meshing & Onboarding

The meshing process was crucial to the Create experience. The physics-based nature relied heavily on the user giving the world cameras enough information to understand the space and map it properly. 


  • Box based system around the user’s position 
  • Waypoint UI and progress bars  
  • Wayfinding system focusing on FOV
  • Contextual tooltips on the controller

Color Picker: Design Details & Developer Praise

“Dear anyone learning about design for #VR #AR or #MR: this simplistic, easy to use 3D color picker is clearing my skin, watering my crops, and kissing me goodnight on the forehead. Take ALL the notes.”

“I think the best part of this color picker is that it gives the user 27 different options, but it organizes them in such a wonderful way that you don't have to be an artist or understand color theory or color charts in order to pick what you like.”



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