Dom Norman’s article in Interactions Magazine and his conclusion: “Are natural user interfaces natural? No. But they will be useful” in a world where everyone is getting very touchy is brilliantly timed. Everyone is getting on the Tactile bandwagon, led by the touchscreen innovation of iPhone and iPad, Gestural interaction is everywhere. The principle is it removes a layer of abstraction. The results are speaking for themselves, but Norman makes the very good point that getting touchy-feely just for the sake of it isn’t useful, but using this form of interaction when it best supports the users and their goals, as with any other, is useful, and it gives designers another dimension to play with.
“Gesture and touch-based systems are already so well accepted that I continually see people making gestures to systems that do not understand them: tapping the screens of non-touch-sensitive displays, pinching and expanding the fingers or sliding the finger across the screen on systems that do not support these actions, and for that matter, waving hands in front of sinks that use old-fashioned handles, not infrared sensors, to dispense water.”
Yes, I have been guilty of all of the above! Off now to go and do some hand-waving.