What A Toaster Teaches You About The Future Of User Interfaces

The current model of good interaction design has run its course. Users have come to expect the rich, fluid, high-bitrate presentation and the direct manipulation and gestural interface control, as enabled by the latest generation of smartphones and tablets. For devices whose economics can support the internal parts cost required to deliver it, this style of interaction is simply table stakes. But while all product interactions need to be thoughtfully designed, rich screen-based interactions may not be the best direction. In fact, they are often just plain wrong.

Personalities and behaviors require us to rethink the meaning of good interaction design.

Even when it comes to the most sophisticated forms of technology, personality, behavior, and emotions often have more of an impact on a user than screen-based interactions. Body language is tremendously compelling; we pick up on it faster and trust it more implicitly than any other language. In one of my current projects, a robot that interacts intensively with people, our team has come to understand that people’s ability to read the status and intent of the robot at a distance and on the fly is far more important than the screen-focused interactions that the technology supports.

In lower-tech products, where rich screen-based interaction is not economically viable, thoughtful design of personality and behavior can be the critical differentiator that captures both market share and a price premium.

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32 Innovations That Will Change Your Tomorrow

32 Innovations That Will Change Your Tomorrow

Digital Future

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These are two photo manipulations done in Photoshop. Series is called Digital Future.