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Which clippings match 'Envision' 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
24 APRIL 2009

Design Thinking: a methodology that imbues the full spectrum of innovation activities with a human-centred design ethos

"Design thinking is ... a discipline that uses the designer's sensibility and methods to match people's needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity. Like [Thomas] Edison's painstaking innovation process, it often entails a great deal of perspiration. ...

Historically, design has been treated as a downstream step in the development process – the point where designers, who have played no earlier role in the substantive work of innovation, come along and put a beautiful wrapper around the idea. To be sure, this approach has stimulated market growth in many areas by making new products and technologies aesthetically attractive and therefore more desirable to consumers or by enhancing brand perception through smart, evocative advertising and communication strategies. During the latter half of the twentieth century design became an increasingly valuable competitive asset in, for example, the consumer electronics, automotive, and consumer packaged goods industries. But in most others it remained a late–stage add–on.

Now, however, rather than asking designers to make an already developed idea more attractive to consumers, companies are asking them to create ideas that better meet consumers' needs and desires. The former role is tactical, and results in limited value creation; the latter is strategic, and leads to dramatic new forms of value."

(Tim Brown, 2008, Harvard Business Review)

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TAGS

2008 • aesthetically attractive • applied researchbest practicebrand perceptionbusiness machine • business savvy • business sense • business world • communication strategiescompetitive advantageconsumer desireconsumer electronics • consumer packaged goods • consumerscreativity • customer value • design ideasdesign methodologydesign methodsdesign thinkingdesigners • designers sensibility • development process • dictation • direct observationdiscovery through design • discrete device • electric light bulb • electric power generation • electric power transmission • envisionevocative advertisingexperimental investigationgeneralistgenius • gifted tinkerers • Harvard Business Reviewhuman-centred designhumanisation of technologyIDEOimprovisationinnovation • innovation activities • innovation processintegrationinventioninventoriterative designlightbulblone genius • market growth • market opportunity • marketplace • Menlo Park • needs and desires • new forms of value • new productsnew technologies • parlour trick • phonograph • prescient • product differentiation • products are made • products are marketed • products are packaged • products are sold • products are supported • recording dictation • replaying dictation • research and development • research and development laboratory • strategic thinking • substantive work of innovation • team-based approach • technologically feasible • Thomas Edison • trial and error • twentieth century • viable business strategy • what people want

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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