The “Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design” accomplished its purpose for me without a doubt: it was a huge wake-up call to the way in which we all have tunnel vision about what the future will look like in terms of technology. I truly never noticed – never even thought about – the fact that all of our devices – computers, tablets, phones, and more – are glassy screens controlled by swiping our fingers. In fact, when he stated the following I had no guess about the “two things” to which he might be referring: “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.”
Ohhhh, right, hands feel and manipulate things. On that note, I definitely agree with the author: we all need to rethink our vision about the future, and see how we can gradually incorporate more and more natural human capabilities into human-computer interaction. However, the “rant” also made me think more about current devices. We do feel with our hands the smooth edges of our phones and computers, we do use our sense of touch to locate the keys on the keyboard without even looking, we do manipulate things on screens in an intuitive way (e.g. zooming in or out by moving two fingers), and in my high school we could write on and touch with our fingers (and so much more) on the “smart boards” in our classrooms. For these reasons (in combination with the fact that screens are pretty, compact, sleek, etc.), I cannot help but think that screens in their own way are not so “unfeeling” or “unnatural” as the author makes them out to be. That is not to say I disagree with the fact that we should not limit ourselves and our technological research efforts to screens, but that it is possible that their ease, compactness, and intuitiveness means that there is something about them that might not go away as the Kodak black-and-white camera did.
In the follow-up article, the author addressed some feedback that he had received. I actually felt bad that he had to address the issues he did, considering that most of them were inapplicable (e.g. “What about voice?”) or simply… kind of stupid. He had a great answer to a piece of feedback of the latter kind asking, “Why didn’t you suggest any solutions?” His answer: “The solution isn’t known, and I didn’t think making stuff up would help.” Haha. 😛
Overall, I loved the author’s fun, laidback, down-to-earth writing style, and now that I know about his website I will be sure to spend time this semester looking through more of his articles.