What’s the Ideal Interface?

Every now and again, when I’m in the middle of creating an interface or writing about them, I wonder: what is the end goal? What is the ultimate reason why we’re creating these things and what would be the ideal interface?

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Every now and again, when I’m in the middle of creating an interface or writing about them, I wonder: what is the end goal? What is the ultimate reason why we’re creating these things and what would be the ideal interface? Where is all this going, and how will we know when we get there?

The answer, I think, revolves around communication. Obviously, interfaces are used to communicate with. Right now, we’re seeing the transition to Web 2.0, where interfaces are becoming remix hotspots, places where content from multiple stores of information are combined into something new and more useful. But we also have a bunch of personal interfaces such as email, chat, and the telephone.

Taking a bird’s eye view of all this, I think we’ll eventually be just like those aliens in AI, where they communicate by brain power only. In other words, interfaces will be so small and smart that we’ll actually build them right on top of our brains, or around our brains in such a way that we don’t need anything else for input or output but the thoughts that we have. That, I think, is the end goal.

Another movie that shows a glimpse of the evolution toward this is Minority Report. In it, the detectives use this amazing interface that relies on gestures and speech commands for input, and I didn’t really think much of it until I realized that that’s what my touchpad is. No moving parts, just gestures.

And the clincher for me was this article about a paralyzed man who actually sent an email by simply thinking about it.

Published: May 27th, 2005

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