Tuesday, December 16, 2008

pp. 16-19, Deciding When to Use a Gesture-Based System, Post 2

<-- Use table of contents at left for searching Book Club comments
b. Gestural Interfaces are Appropriate for
i. More Natural Interactions
ii. Less Cumbersome or Hardware
iii. More Flexibility
iv. More Nuance v. More Fun


More Natural Interactions

There’s a difference between perception and quality.


Last night, I was having dinner with a master mechanic from Boeing, He said something interesting that seems relevant:


“Today, fabrication is done to unimaginable tolerances,
but that doesn’t mean it is of higher quality.


Prior to CNC machining,
I could actually make higher quality parts
because mechanical feedback from my lathe
let me really understand the material
and how the parts would fit together.”


This speaks to what I call “The Fallacy of Computation”.

GUI’s high-precisoin interface has removed the subtlety from our interactions. Quality comes from those minute, unmeasurable, subtle decisions we make.


How can your interface bring back that feeling of quality?


Less Cumbersome or Visible Hardware

This is a great point…and it’s why kiosks have ended up being driven by touch screens, but it ignores a whole range of new productivity applications that will use artifacts.

The reality is that many of these artifacts may need to be “throw-aways”.

I think Surface’s main play is likely to be in Quick Serve Retail, for just this reason. Until DI systems can easily read UPC tags, physical computing will be limited to smart systems can print custom optical tags on all items in the system…

It would be perfectly easy to imagine printing trays, hamburger wrappers and the like.


More Flexibility

This is an oft-missed insight in business.

The key to killer interactions has nothing to do with the capability of the hardware or the device. They are just enabling factors.


Runaway tech products radically decrease the complexity of their customers lives.

Flexibility is key piece of this puzzle.
The iphone SDK/OS uses multitouch to put 90% of the features/apps users want less than 3 clicks away from any other feature. When Apple started its iPhone business, they approached Verizon Wireless first, not AT&T.

Verizon looked at the iphone’s featureset/cost relative to HTC and RIM…and told Steve Jobs to buzz off.


People may buy on features, but they stay for convenience.

Nuance and Fun

Ah, nuance and fun. I believe this is what actually differentiates products, but it's oh, so hard to sell up the chain of command.

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