We’ve been very agile while creating Blocker and it’s been an exciting project to say the least. We’re now nearing the final stretch as we prepare to launch the first version of the app aand are testing while polishing the user experience of the app. In this post I’m sharing a design update we’re making to the zoom feature for when users toggle to different focal lengths once they’ve chosen their camera and lens.

For those who aren’t too familiar with focal lengths, here is a good explanation on how they work. In summary, it is the zoom on a camera, the lower the focal length, the wider the angle of the shot and vice versa (the higher the number, the narrower and shorter the frame). It’s also important to note that the difference between focal units in the lower ranges (e.g. between 9 mm and 10 mm) are very noticeable whereas in the higher ranges the same difference (e.g. between 200 mm and 201 mm) is almost impossible to tell unless you closely comparing the two shots side-by-side.

My aim is to create a slick zoom slider that feels good to scroll through and is easy to use. It needs to be precise, quick and have the full range of focal lengths on the spectrum. So the idea is to put a long belt on an underlying layer and only show the portion of the range that you’re on. If you’ve spent some time browsing through Instagram stories, Snapchat filters or even your iOS Photos app, you get the idea. I like this interaction because of its fluidity in getting through a long range of content whilst it’s potential to preserve its accuracy when you need to stop on a dime or toggle incremental values.

This design also enables us to create an easy way for filmmakers to save their lens sets in Blocker so they can jump through various focal lengths quickly without manually zooming to them. We imagine this to be a useful feature for pro users who frequently have a set of lenses they work with on their projects. If a filmmaker carries a 16 mm, a 35 mm, a 50 mm, and a 90 mm lens, they can save those focal lengths to their profile and quickly switch between the frames in the same scene.

lens set design

The small dots indicate the saved focal lengths and users toggle to them using the [+] and [-] buttons on either side of the zoom.

You can also see that the space between each unit gets shorter as the focal length increases, mimicking an actual zoom lens.

We’ll be implementing this change into the app shortly which you’re welcome to test by joining the beta program here.

Check back soon for more updates on other features.

Rafai (“Rah-fye”) is a UX designer, making mixed reality apps easier to use. When he’s not ideating and constructing user flows, you can find him scoring screamers on soccer fields across LA. 😎