July 22, 2010


This is my 100th post (jay!). I was wondering what to use it for, but now I think it will just confirm me as a TED fanboy.

Is it just me or are we going through a wave of alternative input devices ? First we were waving a WiiMote, then we were going multitouch on everything, then we've got camera's following our every movement, and now we can think about something and it just happens... Things are going crazy.

This has some implications though. If you're a developer your apps are going to get more complicated, and so is your coding. I mean, how do you really program for these kinds of devices ? Simple frame-based interfaces are not going to cut it anymore. And simple onClick handlers will no longer be enough. I hope that the creators of these devices understand that. The device itself is just half the story. Making it usable by everyday programmers is another.

But even beyond the developer's troubles lies this: people are going to be much more sensitive to computer responsiveness, or really its lack thereof. I recently noticed that when I get into a state of flow the slightest interface hickup can throw me off. Simple example: typing and the computer not being able to keep up with your input because it's too busy doing something else. Or typing in an input box and then some other app takes focus and suddenly you have to start switching back and restart. (This is a major annoyance to me. Really, if a user is typing in something don't shift focus away from that !!!) Now think what will happen when our control becomes ever more complex, more finegrained and more subtle. Consider what happens when you have all these devices working hard to blur the line between you and your computer and your computer can't follow you fast enough... I think this is frustration waiting to happen.

And that's were I think this technology will stand or fall. If it can truly make itself invisible then it will score. But if it gets in your way for any noticeable amount of time you'll start hating your pc again.

Well, I guess my 100th post was not just another look-at-this-cool-ted-talk. :-)

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