Some bits about interaction
Complexity bias is a logical fallacy that leads us to give undue credence to complex concepts.
Faced with two competing hypotheses, we are likely to choose the most complex one. That’s usually the option with the most assumptions and regressions. As a result, when we need to solve a problem, we may ignore simple solutions — thinking “that will never work” — and instead favor complex ones.
To understand complexity bias, we need first to establish the meaning of three key terms associated with it: complexity, simplicity, and chaos.
Nice piece on the risks of being seduced by unnecessary complexity, especially in the broader context of language. It reminded me of an old essay by Italo Calvino, “L’antilingua”—literally: “the anti-language”—in which he comically shows the effects of replacing simple words with increasingly grotesque jargon. To paraphrase Calvino, the anti-language is the language of people who prefer saying “utilize” instead of “use”, people who are scared of showing familiarity with the subject of their talk. According to him, speaking the anti-language is a sign of being out of touch with life, and ultimately represents the death of language itself.via fs.blog
Nice video from Vox and 99% Invisible’s Roman Mars about biomimicry.
It reminds me of Bruno Munari’s analytical study of plants and fruits in his must read Design as Art, in which he meticulously describes and praises the essential features of natural objects as a source of inspiration:
This object [an orange, an almost perfect object where shape, function and use display total consistency] is made up of a series of modular containers shaped very much like the segments of an orange arranged in a circle around the vertical axis. Each container or section has its straight side flush with the axis and its curved side turned outwards. In this way the sum of their curved sides forms a globe, a rough sphere.
The key to the Mac therefore becomes that which the iPad/iPhone isn’t: an indirect input device. The keyboard and mouse/trackpad are what define the Mac. The operating system, the apps, the UX, are all oriented around the indirect input method. The iPhone’s capacitive touch brought about the direct input method, a third pivot in input methods (first was mouse, second trackpad/scroll wheel). Each pivot launched a new set of platforms and the Mac is the legacy of the second. (…)
The touchbar coupled to the other two inputs is a totally new way to interact with computing products. It’s not an “easy” interface as it’s not direct manipulation. It remains indirect, a defining characteristic of the second wave. Indirect inputs are powerful and lend themselves to muscle memory with practice. This is the way professional users become productive. The same way keyboard shortcuts are hard to learn but pay off with productivity, touchbar interactions are fiddly but will pay off with a two-handed interaction model. They are not something you “get” right away. They require practice and persistence for a delayed payoff. But, again, that effort is what professionals are accustomed to investing.
Horace Dediu perfectly nails the purpose of the Touch Bar: an indirect, context-aware input method that perfectly fits into the existing UI model, while enabling a whole new class of interactions.via asymco.com
Self-driving cars went viral again recently, when Tesla dropped a $2,500 software update on its customers that promised a new “autopilot” feature. The videos are fascinating to watch, mostly because of what’s not happening. There’s one, titled “Tesla Autopilot tried to kill me!” where a guy drives with his hands off the wheel for the first time. He hasn’t replaced driving with, say, watching a movie or relaxing—instead, he’s replaced the stress of driving with something worse. (…)
Somewhere in between where we stand now, annoyed at how much time we waste sitting in traffic, and the future, where we’re driven around by robots, there will be hundreds of new cars. Their success doesn’t simply depend on engineering. The success depends on whether we, the people, understand what some new button in our brand-new car can do. Can we guess how to use it, even if we’ve never used it before? Do we trust it? Getting this right isn’t about getting the technology right—the technology exists, as the Tesla example proved so horribly. The greater challenge lies in making these technologies into something we understand—and want to use.
Great piece about one of the most compelling questions around the advent of self-driving cars: how do we build trust in a machine?via fastcodesign.com
Although the actual implementation of the 3D Touch is somewhat problematic, the approach taken to the functionality assigned to this feature is the correct one: 3D Touch should be an enhancement to the user experience, not a requirement to achieving a user task. Indeed, so far, all the functionality provided by 3D Touch, whether in quick actions or peek-and-pop mode, is redundant: users who don’t have the latest iPhone or have trouble with the 3D Touch can still do their tasks without using it and achieve the same kinds of actions, albeit in a more roundabout way. This redundancy is the right solution to the problems that gestures pose: lack of affordance and memorability, as well as difficulty in performing them.
Great in-depth analysis of 3D Touch by Raluca Budiu, Nielsen Norman Group. Adding a whole new dimension of interaction can be a double-edged sword, but Apple seems to have nailed it by encouraging the adoption of microsession-oriented patterns focused on efficiency, like “Quick Actions” and “Peek and Pop”.via nngroup.com