Don Norman: Designing For People

Nielsen Norman Group

Designing for Touch (Josh Clark)

Clark, J. (2015). Designing for Touch. New York: A Book Apart.

Josh Clark has written a magnificent book on the appropriate design for touch (gesture) systems. Highly recommended.

Too bad Tognazzini and I did not know about it when we wrote our piece about Apple's failures in this domain: we would have built upon his analyses.

This book is a welcome breath of fresh air: intelligent design principles, an overall refreshing philosophy for touch and gesture, and excellent examples and illustrations. 

Clark shows how to make this understandable and discoverable, philosophies that are violated by Apple and Google.  Moreover, Clark shows how to do it in ways that still maintain aesthetic purity -- although the nonsense of "flat" design has to go. WE don't need to revert to skeuomorphic designs, but we do need clues (signifiers) that help us know what is touchable or swipable and what isn't. And when a touch has been recognized by the system. And in what direction to do the swiping.

Read Clark.   Once again, Microsoft comes off as being the most informed about people's real needs (although their interface guidelines for Surface appear vacuous: nice words, but no useful principles or examples). (Google's new Material Design guidelines are excellent.)

Virtual reality: Here is the next arena that is in desperate need of Clark's wisdom: 

The design community is still trying to figure out what VR is good for besides the obvious use in games, second-life like social media, and education. But what we haven't figured out is how to use the genre for other things, such as storytelling or news-reporting, or ...  
And, relevant to Clark's book, we don't know how to control the experience. Yes, we can walk through space (tripping over the crap in our real apartments and offices), but that only takes care of simple navigation to alter point of view. How do we control the interactions? We can carry a game controller, but that is both artificial and limiting. VR cries out for a gestural language. And it better be one that is standard, or every single author will invent their own idiosyncratic schemes (and every company will patent all the good and obvious gestures - if they haven't already done so).

I look forward to Josh Clark's book on the topic.