the future of user experience

the world of design and user experience (UX) is shifting along with the world of mobile applications and TV.

in the beginning we had a punch card 🙂 yes, one of those old funky and full of holes punch card. that was the way information was conveyed to the computer. the design drastically evolved to the terminal and what a revolution that was. finally was can SEE what the computer can and we can layer it up with tools. like the command line. quickly the operating system that quickly evolved allowed applications like the terminal to browse files (ls -l anyone?) and much more.

it was apple that came up with the next best thing (they tend to do that…) when they came up with a graphical user interface (GUI) and the windows system, which bill gates and microsoft copied shamelessly (or at least that what is written). that part of history probably most of you can remember. widows 3.11 rocked big time and with the shift of personal computer and IBM we all got to experience the bliss for the low cost required to allow massive growth. apple came out with yet another cool idea – the mouse: a way for us to interact with the screen and the content presented on it. no more keyboard commands that were reserved for the dorky nerdy geeky ones. now we can all interact with the computer in a fashionable way – an extension of our arm that seeps into the computer.

this was huge – and with the availability of an SDK to program applications, every tom, dick and harry were hard at work decoding the win32 API and developing lots and lots of apps for the masses. from music applications to games and file editors. the rest is history my friends.

until the iphone came along and introduced the multi touch to the world. granted – they were not the first to do so, but they were the ones to implement it in a natural way (and i am using the word natural for a reason here…) that we can all interact with. no more mouse ladies and gents. no more a device that will click on the data and we circle it around the screen to get where we want to and interact with it via one/two or 3 buttons.

this new user experience is called “natural user interface” which basically means the content which we see IS the interface. think about it for a second: on your iphone/ipad/android – the photo application you use… you touch the photo, swipe it around, left or right, up or down. double tap it, pinch and rotate and more. the content IS the interface and the experience becomes a better personal experience.

which brings us to the title of this post – the future 🙂 the future is already here and it is called “first person interface”. in a first person interface the INPUT is based on WHERE you are and WHAT and WHO is NEAR you. this is so important to understand – it begs repetition: i “first person interface” the input is based on where you are and what and who is near you.

let’s take an example: take layer. when you launch the app on your mobile device it knows where you, and by capturing the environment with the camera it layers information to your choice onto the screen. pretty sweet 🙂 and there are other great players in that evolving market so check out this list for the iphone.

the new mobile devices (slate and phones) allows access to the following information:
1. location (GPS/WiFi/Cell tower)
2. orientation (compass)
3. position and motion (accelerometer)
4. audio (microphone/speakers)
5. device to device (bluetooth)
6. multitouch (up to 10 simultaneous ones for the iphone OS)
7. push notification (for apple devices)

so to sum it up – the new user experience is the “first person interface” where we navigate the space around us by using our mobile devices, the application augments the reality by layering the real world with data, and we interact with nearby objects (museums, coffee shops etc) and people (twitter friends, family, etc)

more exciting ways to experience the world and interact with it are coming our way, so i’ll wrap it up with a video.

– plug your guitar into your iPhone and rock out!

AmpliTube iRig is just one of those ideas that can make people buy an iPhone. not often do i get to see apps for mobile that can serve as game changers and this is – in my humble opinion – is. as a life long big fan of music, i both play and compose music, and let me tell you: owning equipment is not something i enjoy. in fact, i do not have an amp for my guitar because i can’t be bothered to carry it around… let alone have multiple effects, pedals and what have you.

AmpliTube iRig may have solved this problem by creating a digital instrument encapsulated in an app, that holds various effects and amps, and it runs on your iphone. to make things sweet, you purchase what they labeled the iRig: a small device that allows you to plug in your guitar to the iphone, and then have the wet sound routed out to your headset or home stereo system (wet means sound with the effect and/or amplification applied to it).

how fantastic is that? for a fraction of the cost you now have minimized your setup to the iphone and the iRig. i love it!

some questions before the video:
1. what about latency? it is fair to assume it is not an issue, otherwise the app would fail and there is no room to create it from the get go.
2. how quality is the quality of the sound? yet to be seen (or heard). as far as the audio samples on their website – it sounds freaking awesome and top notch.
3. where is the competition? seriously, hats off for the vision and innovation of this company.
4. what’s missing? battery power that will have the iphone last longer than several hours of playing around. maybe it will run better on the iPad 🙂

video time: