Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Call to Arms for Interaction Designers

New standards needed for new displays and input devices ...

"If you are anything like me, you’ve at one point or another admired the hell out of the group of interaction designers who, back in the 1960s and 70s, pretty much came up with the modern set of interaction paradigms that we’ve used ever since. Guys like Larry Tesler (cut-and-paste), Doug Engelbart (selecting, point and click, windows), and Tim Mott (the desktop metaphor).

We have a similar opportunity in front of us now, to define the interaction paradigms for the next several decades (at least) in the form of defining gestural and touch interactions.

We need to not only figure out common gestures and how they could work across a variety of devices and environments, but also how to prototype and document those gestures. Now that the Wii and iPhone have introduced more physical interactions to the public at large, it’s time to step up and start making an effort to define and document a common set of movements and motions that could be used for initiating actions across a variety of platforms.

Work has been done already, of course. Robert Cravotta has done a good job with this overview in EDN magazine, and Bill Buxton has started an impressive list of new input devices and technologies. But we need to help create this shift in input devices, not just follow along behind the technology. And if we wait, well, we’ll simply find individual companies (Apple, Microsoft, Perceptive Pixel, etc. etc.) creating their own standards (as is being done now). And while this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, one can easily imagine having to remember a crazy amount of movements and gestures for common actions. (”Wait, to turn on the lights do I tap the wall, or wave a hand? Is this an iRoom or MS Rume?”) We’ll get a lot of ad hoc solutions–some of which will be great, some not so much. Standards and a pattern library would help."    (Continued via adaptive path)    [Usability Resources]


Post a Comment

<< Home

<< Home