I was interested in this article by Ars Technica, about designers who are tackling UI design for Microsofts surface. They are find that there are ‘learned’ behaviours in how people expect to use this tech, and not all existing UI elements necessarily apply.
When the number of different touch table vendors that are proliferating the exhibition market are starting to reach a saturation point, as they will…soon. Its worth remembering that the tech maybe cool but it’s irrelevant if the UI design isn’t intuitive.
Remember the iPhone is a success despite (as I was reminded on TUAW) it only just getting a slew of features, that most people would expect with the most basic of phones.
The iPhone when it first launched was feature poor but experience rich, the easiest way to get anyone impressed with the iPhone OS in the early days was just to show them the ‘pinch’ on a photo and wipe to another one, or rather and much more importantly, to tell hem how to pinch and slide. This would usually initiate smiles as the UI would respond in a believable way.
The iPhone OS was offering a new kind of user experience and one that has initiated a new paradigm in interaction language, which is starting to propagate into other touch UI’s such as Microsoft’s Surface. Naturally I am delighted that Apple has the lead in this standard from a fanboy perspective, but the thing that still remains surprising is how getting the gesture right is fundamentally more important than the tech behind it.