Tangible Interfaces Are the WHAT’S NEXT After Touch Screens
Technology keeps surprising us in ways we can’t even imagine. Do you remember the first day you heard about phones that respond to touch? WOAH!! It was mind blowing. In the last two decades, Tangible User Interfaces have emerged as a new interface type that interlinks the digital and physical worlds. It has a potential to enhance the way in which people interact and leverage digital information and also builds a link between physical and digital world.
Significant developments have happened in UX too; from traditional web designs, to responsive and to progressive web apps. The world of interaction designs is booming and it also inspires researchers to get into how humans perceive the world around them that could impact the technology. Tangible interfaces are one of them, where a user’s physical movements are used to operate the devices used. Heat, Colour and Mindfulness are evolving to be the new deciding factors in tangible interfaces. Let’s talk more about it:
- How heat impacts our life… Other than the overheated laptops that give us nightmares. It was never part of any of the technologies that we use daily.
Recently a study was conducted to find out how heat produced by a human body can be used to improve the UX. The researchers developed a full-body heat mat to learn about how heat produced by different parts of user’s body affected their perception.
It opens up a new genre of “slow and reflective” interaction design that puts the emphasis on subtle ambient interactions rather than, say, external notifications or reminders.
- Colours trigger actions: While using a specific website or mobile app, we often feel ‘why this horrible color?’. It might have a great interface, but sometimes colours just give us headache; and sometimes colours are what attract us to that particular design.
Colour is a strong metaphor for design nowadays. Dark colours, high saturation etc tends draw our eyes, towards them.
Say for example, a combination of red and blue, the depth of the colors and print may be projected differently and it acts hard on our eyes- a process called Chromostereopsis.
Pay attention to the colors you use, because our brains tend to read much more meaning into each colour than you’d expect.
- Mindfulness, the new bestie of UX: Fast moving life has taken the engagement out of our activities. People nowadays do not care how much time it takes to operate. It’s more about the experience they get from it, this is called Embodied interaction. Designing objects that appear more fun and playful to users, boost engagement and results in rich user experiences. The human-computer interactions should not be limited to just a rectangular-flat touch screen. User interfaces that respond to how people interact with them, say like skin sensors, displays and actuators make more sense now.
Latest video games are something we can relate to, where you have to be physically active to play it rather than just using mouse or keyboard. Glass technology is another upcoming trend in the future of embodied interaction. Here, any plain glass can be turned into an interface to operate our mobile, and all other devices.
Tangible interface technology is currently in its infancy, but it could become an extremely powerful force in the future of user experience. It can influence UX beyond functionality and has the power to delight and can bring back the emotive element of interacting with computers.