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Nov 2006

Interfaces of the Future

In February, New York University researcher Jeff Han revealed his latest prototype of a system he calls “interface-free”. It’s a screen where the user can directly manipulate objects. To see a video of how it works, click here.

Does a system like this mean the end of our profession is near? Actually, I think the opposite is true! The interface may not be visible, but the interaction continues to exist, which means even greater interface design challenges. Usability experts will always be in demand; their skills will be needed to help plan the behaviour, limits, actions and reactions of interactive systems.

Extrapolating current interaction constraints will raise a number of significant challenges and lead us to study users’ characteristics and abilities more closely.

Let’s do a quick exercise in “Futurology”: imagine a time in the not too distant future, when interface-free systems will be built into systems with Artificial Intelligence. How long would it take for such a system to lead us to our profession’s Nirvana? 😉

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