Former Apple Inventor Offers New Slant on the Future of Interaction Design

  • Are touchscreens the ultimate expression for us to manipulate computing devices? (See the Microsoft video included in the post.)
  • In “A Brief Rant on the Future of Interactive Design,” former Apple human-interface inventor Bret Victor opts not to address human needs or technology, but what he sees as the “neglected third factor, human capabilities. What people can do. Because if a tool isn’t designed to be used by a person, it can’t be a very good tool, right?”
  • Victor sees our hands as the central component of our interactive future. If one looks at the range of expression and control for our hands, one realizes how much more is possible.
  • Victor describes touchscreens, for example, as “pictures under glass” which ignore the fact that our “hands feel things” and “manipulate things.” “Pictures Under Glass sacrifice all the tactile richness of working with our hands, offering instead a hokey visual facade,” he writes.
  • “Pictures Under Glass is an interaction paradigm of permanent numbness,” he adds. “It’s a Novocaine drip to the wrist. It denies our hands what they do best. And yet, it’s the star player in every Vision Of The Future.”
  • Victor doesn’t have a solution or a prediction for our interactive future, but suggests we start thinking differently in order to achieve it. “Pictures Under Glass is old news. Let’s start using our hands.”