NEXT16: Golden Krishna wants to kill interfaces
We're too obsessed by screens. Turn them off - and design for interface-free experiences and back pocket apps.
Warning: Liveblogging. Prone to error, inaccuracy and terrible crimes against grammar and syntax. Post will be updated over the next 48 hours.
Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is $0.99 to download.
“There’s an app for that.” Six words that have stifled creativity for a generation.
“No toilet paper. There’s an app for that.”
“Can’t sleep. There’s an app for that.”
And so many more. Headlines with a brand.
A toaster in the 1940s was designed to be aerodynamic – because the 40s were the age of streamlined planes and trains. By the end of that decade we were designing buildings like cruise ships because we were obsessed with them. Today, 3D TV begats 3D toothpaste. ALL toothpaste is 3D. Sunglasses advertise “HD Vision” – like normal vision isn’t.
More and more young people are choosing to study things to do with technology. There’s less and less interest in industrial and graphic design, and more in interaction design.
The low tech bar
We often do something unfortunate when we set out to solve a problem in tech: we set a low bar.
How do we design a better car? Cars have already changed our cities and our lives. How have we changed that? We’ve slapped a screen in them. Who needs eyes on the road? Scrollbars in your cars centre console? Amazing.
Trash bins in London now have LCD screens – to tell you that it’s raining as you stand in the rain. Screens are just so futuristic.
User experience and user interface are not the same thing. User interface designer arrange elements on a screen. While user experience is empathising with the customer. It’s not about good screens, it’s about goo experiences. We’re making mistakes, because of bad metrics: clicks and addiction, rather than elegance and efficiency. Teenagers looks at screens for over seven hours a day, and adults looks at it form more then 8 hours. IN the US more then 1000 people get in car accidents because they’re looking at screens. Those screens mimic midday light – so they throw off our sleep cycle.
We’re creative when we’re bored – so if we distract ourselves all the time, we’re less creative.
The screenless world – and back pocket apps
There are good things about screens, sure. But just as people once dreamed of a paperless world, maybe we should now dream of a screenless world.
How do you get there? Embrace typical processes rather than screens. Many of us get 150 notifications a day. We’re suffering from Phantom Vibration Syndrome, where we think we feel our phone buzz.
Lockitron tried to solve the “lost keys” problem, by turning your phone ito your key. The UI was… fine. But how was the UX? You have to walk up to your door, get your phone out, wake it, unlock it, get to the home screen, find the app, load the app… So many steps for what used to be an easy process. So? Embrace typical processes. Add Bluetooth, and the user can open the door just by walking up to it. Screenless thinking. They raised $2.2m on Kickstarter for the second generation. Think of back pocket apps – that work without getting the phone out. Ginger.io gets useful health information when it sits in you back packet. Tado knows that when you leave the house, it doesn’t need to heat or cool it. Uber pays for your taxi ride without getting your phone out of your pocket.
Making the computer the servant again
IBM’s Deep Blue is a famous supercomputer – it was a chess champion. We put it in a museum. Today’s terrible computers are 100 gigaflops faster than that. But we’re still making our tech in a way that makes us serve computers. That’s the wrong way around.
x.ai sorts your calendar for you. Dashlane deals with your passwords. They are creating experiences for individuals. Digit looks at how you spend money, and then automatically starts pulling some of it aside into a savings account. It works, invisibly, in the background.
But what happens when invisible, background processes fail? Any good system should design for failure. Well, you’re just shifting the UI from the primary to the secondary experience. Petzl now has a reactive headlight that shifts based on what you’er looking at. It does have software for settings setting – but you don’t have to use it.
Will our children or grandchildren dress up as their grandparents by sticking a phone to their face, because it’s something they no longer do.