“Sometimes I play with it”

I’m going to start this one with a question:
What do you want from a user interface?

Now I can bet you have either thought to yourself you want:

  • An interface that looks nice
  • An interface that is easy to navigate
  • An interface that is fast to navigate

None of which are wrong answers – Each person will look for a different experience from an interface suited to their uses and needs for it.

But how about how it feels?

Following on from my article on the future of mobile technologies I have read about the new “Paper smartphones”  that take user interfaces to the next level of gesture control with you physically manipulating the form of the screen to have the phone respond. A novel idea if I ever saw one.

But am I the only person that will sit clicking buttons or turning a knob just because I like the feel of it?
Of course I am not – These are what we call “Intrinsic Motivators” in the design world – Parts that encourage you to touch or “play” with a device.
Drawing on my geek knowledge here – I can help but think of “Star Trek”

Bare with me here

The controls of the "Delta Flyer"

In a time where they seem to use touch technology as we have it now in every aspect of life – A new space ship is designed – and at the helm what do you

expect to see? Thats right, an epeleptics nightmare of flashing buttons and different colourful icons. How riveting. Except in this instance the pilot helping design the craft (Co-design in the 30th century?! Sneaky!) opts for the more…Conventional controls. Not because they are faster or more reliable, indeed its acctually the latter, but so that the pilot can feel a connection with the craft.

I’d say the same for any device. Yeah new multi touch functionality is cool and very space age. But sometimes, just sometimes, I just want to play with some clicky buttons


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