Wednesday, January 31, 2007

iPhone, Multi-Touch, and the “Death of the Button”

Multi-touch and the iPod may eliminate buttons ...

"In order to understand why interaction designers are so excited about the iPhone, we have to take a look at multi-touch technology.

What exactly is multi-touch?

Multi-touch is a human-computer interaction technique and the hardware devices that implement it. It is a kind of touch screen or touch tablet / touchpad that recognizes multiple simultaneous touch points, frequently including the pressure or degree of each independently, as well as position. This allows gestures and interaction with multiple fingers or hands, chording, and can provide rich interaction, including direct manipulation, through intuitive gestures.

FingerWorks produced a line of keyboards that incorporated multi-touch gestures. FingerWorks has since been purchased by Apple, who has incorporated the technology into its iPhone.

Multi-touch has at least a 25 year history, beginning in 1982, with pioneering work being done at the University of Toronto (multi-touch tablets) and Bell Labs (multi-touch screens).

Multi-Touch and the iPhone

Bruce Tognazzini says:

While the iPhone as a whole may be revolutionary, the individual elements forming the interface are not so new. Multi-touch gestural interfaces have been hanging around in the laboratory, screaming for release, for as long as the mouse hung around. I’ve been pushing multi-touch gestural for over 20 years myself, beginning while I was still at Apple, incredulous that everyone has been ignoring it. Apple stopped ignoring it.

What’s important is that, for the first time, so many great ideas and processes have been assembled in one device, iterated until they squeak, and made accessible to normal human beings. That’s the genius of Steve Jobs; that’s the genius of Apple."    (Continued via )    [Usability Resources]

The Multi-Touch Screen - Usability, User Interface Design

The Multi-Touch Screen

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