[ExI] The Field of HCI

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Sat Feb 2 14:44:04 UTC 2013

On 02/02/2013 13:16, BillK wrote:
> I find it interesting that Norman doesn't much like the latest fad for
> 'gestural' interfaces. I also find the idea of waving my hands about
> instead of pressing a button to be a step backwards.

Yes, he has a point. When gestures are no longer direct manipulation of 
the objects or commonly understood invocations of their powers (like 
pressing a button) they are just as hopeless and mysterious as keyboard 
shortcuts. Which are not necessarily *bad*, but shouldn't be the core 
for how your software works.

I like using StrokeIt to control my Windows programs - it is so 
convenient to navigate the browser using mouse movements rather than 
going over to the menu, a button or the keyboard, but the set of 
gestures I use is small and super-common (go back, forward, close tab) 
so it is easy to learn it.

Another interesting design pattern is Skeumorphism: making something 
look like an everyday object, which should give you a hint of what it is 
supposed to do. Except that often they just become mysterious because 
the metaphor is weak or aged (who has a trashcan on your desktop? what 
does the bird sitting on the branch icon do? what the heck is a tape 

>   Just because the
> new touch sensitive screens allow you to do new things doesn't mean
> that you should do them.
This goes for all design. Just because you can do it doesn't mean it is 
good. If you are the first to do it, you will at least reap some 
interest, but it is still no guarantee of quality.

Anders Sandberg,
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford Martin School
Faculty of Philosophy
Oxford University

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