Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Why "new" ways of interaction?
Jonathan Brill, of Point & Do, has several video clips that explain the basics of multi-touch and gesture interaction. He is currently leading a book study of Dan Saffer's "Designing Gestural Interfaces" and is one of a small (and growing) group of people who are looking at ways technology can support human interaction and activities in a more natural, enjoyable, and intuitive manner.
"Mouse-based thinking simply doesn't work here....WIMP best practices slow users down, confuse them, and make multi-touch applications difficult to learn...a new class of applications....make it easier for groups of users to interact with complex information.
In the video clip below, Brill discusses the need to escape from the WIMP mindset. (Windows, Icons, Mouse & Point, the current way most people interact with computers and related devices.)
Here is a transcript of key points from the video:
"It has been 25 years since the first rich multi-touch system was publicly shown. That's a lot of research for a shocking lack of progress. By contrast, 25 years after the demo of the mouse, GUI (graphical user interface)had evolved into Windows, MS Office, Mosaic, Lan, and the Apple Newton, the basis for today's business productivity tools."
"The mouse was successful because early engineers developed a simple, clear interaction framework that everyone could follow. It was called WIMP: Windows, Icons, Menus, & Pointers. WIMP worked. It was cool, and it increased usability and solved key technology issues of the day:"
- Windows were a way to manage content on small displays
- Icons were a space-efficient way to point and click on commands
- Menus hid irrelevant content
- Pointers visually tracked mouse interaction
"Multi-touch needs an analogue to WIMP that makes it easy to use, across platforms. At Point & Do, we think we've found it. It is what we call PATA:
Lighting, focus, and depth, simplified searching and effecting hyperlinked content
Using animation to subtly demonstrate what applications do and how to use them is a better solution than using icons. Animations makes apps easier to learn.
Back in the days of floppy disks, objects helped us organize our content. This limitation was forced by arcane technology, but it did have one huge advantage. We used our spatial memory to help us navigate content. Things will help us organize content and manipulate controllers across a growing variety of devices.
Auras will help us track what we are tracking and when an interaction has been successful."
Here are a few more videos from Jonathan Brill:
Multi-touch Design Techniques Part 1 of 3
Multi-touch Design Techniques Part 2 of 3
"Surface and Tangible Computing, and the "Small" Matter of People and Design" (pdf) -Bill Buxton, ISSCC 2008
Designing for Interaction -Dan Saffer
The Computer for the 21st Century Mark Weiser, Scientific American, 09, 1991
(Note: I read this article when I was on a plane from Charlotte to Detroit, years ago, and never forgot about it. If you are just beginning to learn about HCI or ubiquitous/pervasive computing, or off-the desktop interaction design or application development, it is well worth the read!)