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SXSW: The Future of Gestures and Interface Design

Jeff Huggins

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As SXSW Interactive 2014 comes to a close, Intouchers who attended share their impressions from the most notable sessions. See the full series of SXSW blog posts here.

I saw: A session named “Exploring the Role of Gestures in Interface Design” that discussed the way we interact with computer devices, especially smart phones and tablets. The gestures we use today such as, tap, swipe, pinch to zoom, etc., are credited to Myron W. Krueger. Krueger is an American computer artist who developed these gestures in 1983. The presenters discussed the need for standardization across devices from different manufactures so people can use any device they run into. Devices should work as people expect them to work.

The session went beyond touch screens and discussed products such as Leap Motion and the Myo Armband. With these devices, users make gestures in three-dimensional space (think Iron Man and The Minority Report). A much larger challenge than a flat surface.

I thought: The issues with computer interfaces are only going to get worse since touch screens are showing up everywhere. They are on your appliances and in your cars. If manufacturers don’t start working together and adopting standards for gesture-based interfaces, we will all have a very difficult time moving from device to device. It’s bad enough now to swipe up to scroll up on an Apple device, then move the scroll wheel on a PC down to scroll the screen up.

What now: We took a look at some of the new technologies coming out for touch screens. Curved and flexible are here now and will soon be very common. Fujitsu just announced a touch screen that uses micro vibrations to give the user a feeling of texture as you move across the screen. Very cool stuff on the horizon, but we need standards for use.

 

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