I aim to shape products, interfaces and services that mediate meaningful dialogues between people, systems and their environments within everyday life.

Nov
11
2011

Bret Victor’s Rant of the Future of Interaction Design

As a reaction to Microsoft’s recent future vision video, software engineer (and a former concept designer at Apple) Bret Victor wrote a fantastic post entitled “A Brief Rant On The Future Of Interaction Design.”

Victor rants that this future vision is not visionary at all. It focuses too much on screen interaction, which is is not that much different from our experience with our current devices. Case in point, look at all these ‘future’ interactions in Microsoft’s concept:

Each one of these scenes involves a flat screen. Yet, Victor also points out (and passionately so) that each interaction touchpoint involves the use of… hands! As humans, we have not only our fingers but our hands, arms and entire bodies that enable us to manipulate and interact with the natural world and to understand the tactile feedback we receive in return. So why should we be limited to finger pointing on a screen?

He illustrates the many ways in which we can use our hands to manipulate things that we could not possibly express via screen-based interactions:

Rather than limiting people to finger tapping/swiping, we should be inspired by our own human capabilities to design and enable a richer and more expressive interaction with our future tools.

Despite how it appears to the culture at large, technology doesn’t just happen. It doesn’t emerge spontaneously, like mold on cheese. Revolutionary technology comes out of long research, and research is performed and funded by inspired people.

And this is my plea — be inspired by the untapped potential of human capabilities. Don’t just extrapolate yesterday’s technology and then cram people into it. [...] Pictures Under Glass is old news. Let’s start using our hands.

Victor ends with a question that nicely sums up his entire point:

With an entire body at your command, do you seriously think the Future Of Interaction should be a single finger?

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  1. Roman

    Julian James September 12th, 2011 3:56 am There does seem to be a lot of atrlcie bashing on Smashing at the moment. Thanks Jeff.

    Feb 09, 2012 @ 2:20 am

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