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Which clippings match 'Human Needs' keyword pg.1 of 1
30 APRIL 2012

Pictures Under Glass: sacrificing tactile richness

"As it happens, designing Future Interfaces For The Future used to be my line of work. I had the opportunity to design with real working prototypes, not green screens and After Effects, so there certainly are some interactions in the video which I'm a little skeptical of, given that I've actually tried them and the animators presumably haven't. But that's not my problem with the video.

My problem is the opposite, really – this vision, from an interaction perspective, is not visionary. It's a timid increment from the status quo, and the status quo, from an interaction perspective, is actually rather terrible. ...

I'm going to talk about that neglected third factor, human capabilities. What people can do. Because if a tool isn't designed to be used by a person, it can't be a very good tool, right? ...

Do you see what everyone is interacting with? The central component of this Interactive Future? It's there in every photo! That's right! – HANDS. And that's great! I think hands are fantastic! Hands do two things. They are two utterly amazing things, and you rely on them every moment of the day, and most Future Interaction Concepts completely ignore both of them. Hands feel things, and hands manipulate things.

Go ahead and pick up a book. Open it up to some page. Notice how you know where you are in the book by the distribution of weight in each hand, and the thickness of the page stacks between your fingers. Turn a page, and notice how you would know if you grabbed two pages together, by how they would slip apart when you rub them against each other.

Go ahead and pick up a glass of water. Take a sip. Notice how you know how much water is left, by how the weight shifts in response to you tipping it.

Almost every object in the world offers this sort of feedback. It's so taken for granted that we're usually not even aware of it. Take a moment to pick up the objects around you. Use them as you normally would, and sense their tactile response – their texture, pliability, temperature; their distribution of weight; their edges, curves, and ridges; how they respond in your hand as you use them.

There's a reason that our fingertips have some of the densest areas of nerve endings on the body. This is how we experience the world close–up. This is how our tools talk to us. The sense of touch is essential to everything that humans have called 'work' for millions of years.

Now, take out your favorite Magical And Revolutionary Technology Device. Use it for a bit. What did you feel? Did it feel glassy? Did it have no connection whatsoever with the task you were performing?

I call this technology Pictures Under Glass. Pictures Under Glass sacrifice all the tactile richness of working with our hands, offering instead a hokey visual facade."

(Bret Victor, 8 November 2011)

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
18 JANUARY 2005

Architecture of Change: Design Adjusts to the Age of Flux

"The Architecture of Change is a paradigm shift that embraces the transience in today's culture and life in an age that worships change. We are the most news–centric generation ever, ruled by flux and mobility. Process is as important as the continually morphing goals. We are beset with styles, trends and other forces of change. A new means to help sustain our adaptability in the built world is rapidly emerging and can be termed The Architecture of Change. It frees us from buildings and environments that are bland boxes made of immutable materials and mute walls. It enables us to design with more emotion, and deliver experiences driven by content and meaning."
(Richard Foy, 15 October 2004, Design Intelligence)

TAGS

activityadaptabilityarchitecture • architecture of change • bland boxes • buildings and environmentsbuilt environment • built world • change • changing styles • choreographing social experience • communication as message • communication mediumconstant change • containment • content and meaning • continually morphing goalscultural ideascultural traditionscultural values • design vernacular • digital technologiesdurability • durable materials • dwellingexperience • flux and mobility • focus on people • forces of change • human needs • immutable materials • information sharingluminosity • memorialise our enterprises • messagingmutable • mute walls • news • news-centric generation • paradigm shiftpermanence • perpetuate myths • refreshable information • shelter • staging lived experience • transiencetransparencyuser experience design (UX)
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