UIEtips: Developing a Designer’s Sense of Touch

Jared Spool

January 4th, 2012

Players of the Nintendo DS game known as Legend of Zelda – Phantom Hourglass may come across a difficult puzzle involving a lit candle. To complete the puzzle, they need to tell the game to extinguish the candle, however, there’s no tool in the game for putting out the flame. They’ll be stuck until they learn the secret: they must blow into the game unit’s microphone to “blow out” the flame. The game’s software will show the candle extinguished upon detecting the microphone’s noise burst.

Hidden interactions often frustrate users, as can be seen in any number of the online forums where game players get stuck with puzzles like this one. It’s even worse for non-game applications, where users aren’t interested in solving challenges, instead focused on getting their work done.

Gesture-based interfaces, like those we see in the growing world of touch interactions are often included without any visual clues for the users. How are users supposed to know they can take advantage of them?

In today’s UIEtips, I share some of the discussion Josh Clark, author of Tapworthy, and I had around this topic. We explore what the new world of touch gestures brings to designers, and how they have to be prepared for the demands of this new technology. Josh and I got into several important issues about how designers need to develop a new sense of touch, as it were.

Read the article, Developing a Designer’s Sense of Touch.

Next Thursday, you’ll want to join us for Josh’s new UIE Virtual Seminar, Buttons Are A Hack: The New Rules of Designing for Touch. Josh will show you how touch takes us beyond the desktop metaphor and buttons, and what you need to know to design for that journey. You don’t want to miss this!

One Response to “UIEtips: Developing a Designer’s Sense of Touch”

  1. Steve Says:

    Good article but it’s skeuomorphism not skeumorphism

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