Gestural Interfaces: Cool, but not the future...

Dan Saffer at Kicker Studio has an excellent explanation for "Why you want (but won't like) a Minority-Report-style interface." Gestural interfaces have had "cool" factor since that movie featured them - and since then, can't seem to be mentioned without invoking its name. But "cool" and "useful" are two very different things - and gestural interfaces fail pretty badly at the latter. They're flaky, imprecise, have poor feedback, and after only a few minutes of use lead to an achy condition called "Gorilla Arm." I admit that they have some wonderful applications for gaming, but those are game-specific; for general computer interfaces, the existing tools we've had for years (mouse, trackpad, buttons everywhere) are just more efficient and useful. Gestural interfaces may be cool for now - but once that fades, we'll all be back to more efficient interactions. Save the gestural stuff for gaming!

4 comments:

Josh said...

Reminds me of speech recognition in the Nineties. Everyone though, "cool, this is the future," then realized that speech recognition (1) would never be more than 80% accurate and (2) was slower than typing in most cases, anyway.

Dave Gustafson said...

Exactly! Same buzz, same problems, and I'm predicting the same result.

Anthony said...

Yes, but the idea of the technology has obviously led to the current success of touch screen advances in phones and tablets.

Dave Gustafson said...

That's true. But let me try an analogy here: the space race advanced all kinds of technologies, but we don't have to blast off to enjoy Velcro!