Crestron's new WYSIWYG drag-and-drop UI editor makes creating beautiful, intuitive interfaces a snap
June 1, 2023 - Shortly after its inception more than 50 years ago, Crestron began its first forays into control systems. Long before tablets and mobile devices became the world's most ubiquitous user interfaces, Crestron had created a workable touch screen, a device that helped to trigger and run corporate presentations. Sure, those first black-and-white screens look clunky and inelegant today, but they laid the groundwork for technologies that would help make the company famous across the globe.
Today, the Crestron brand turns up on touch screens in boardrooms, classrooms, courtrooms — and on and on. It's a mark of excellence, reliability, and durability. It further represents a tradition of innovation unparalleled in the industry.
The latest step in that innovation: The Crestron Construct™ UI editing tool.
A Long Lineage of UI Solutions
Over the years, we've provided our design community with an ever-evolving series of tools to help them create the most intuitive and efficient user interfaces on Crestron touch screens. In the past, that had included Crestron VisionTools® software, Crestron VisionTools® for Windows® OS, and VT Pro-e® software. The pace of advancing technology that powered that software led to Crestron developing its original SmarTouch™ touch panel, which was followed by Isys, the Synapse™ image rendering algorithm, and most recently, Smart Graphics® software. As you're likely aware, the latter was built on Adobe Flash, which saw its final "end-of-life" phase-out begin in earnest in late 2020.
As a result, Crestron shifted its user interfaces to run the new industry standard, HTML5. With that shift came opportunity: Specifically, the chance to build a new, easy-to-use UI editing tool leveraging HTML5 that simplified deployment and maximized performance, backed by Crestron's decades of experience in the development of these tools.
Introducing the Crestron Construct UI Editing Tool
It's efficient and flexible — in fact, the end result is a dynamic user interface that can deploy to any size screen, shift from landscape to portrait mode, and allow the designer to easily rearrange controls and rapidly adjust colors. You can deploy your design once, then send it to any screen across your enterprise without changing the layout, guaranteeing a consistent user experience across an enterprise with minimal effort. That feature's especially useful if your client has a broad range of different Crestron touch screens across their organization varying in size, orientation, or image output.
The tool further offers multi-resolution support for touch panels and devices, and cross-OS compatibility to meet your needs, no matter if you prefer macOS® or PC operating systems. What's more, dealers can easily migrate existing projects from VT Pro-e® software to Crestron Construct — you won't lose work you've already done as you transition to an editing tool that's vastly easier to use.
A Future-Ready Design
This isn't a "set it and forget" solution, either. Crestron will be constantly expanding and updating our user interface portfolio to meet the needs of the industry and provide support for new — and even more dynamic — UI capabilities to Crestron devices across the spectrum of what we build. To that end, we've created a plug-in architecture that provides a platform for all future Crestron UI development tools.
Seamlessly integrating HTML5 is an initiative that runs through a broad range of our products — and the ease and efficiency of this tool will impact many of them. That includes a variety of products, including the TSW x70 series touch panels, the Crestron One™ mobile control app, XPanel, and several other legacy solutions, as well as upcoming new offerings, such as the TST-1080 wireless touch screen, and our next-generation digital graphic engine, the DGE-3200.
Solutions such as the Crestron Construct tool help our dealers deliver control devices that will drive a positive experience in meeting rooms where interactions with technology are fundamental to the experience. Ultimately, the Crestron Construct UI editing tool is another example of a concept we've taken to heart: control simplified. An interface should be just as easy to create as it is to operate — easy for the dealer, easy for the designer, and easy for those using Crestron solutions in their workplace every day.
By Ara Seferian, Group Product Manager, and Josh Carlson, Senior Product Marketing Manager