Is mobile UI the future of UI?

First of all…. Hello bloggers, 🙂

It has been a while!

Today I wanted to talk about a topic we grapsec at a talk about mobileUI.

What is UI (user interface)? According to desktop research, a user interface is a space where interactions between humans and machines occur. To understand the future, we need to be able to reflect upon the actual situtation. A quick explorative research made me realize that a lot has been discussed around terms such as:

+ GUI (graphical user interface), meaning that the pixelated screen affords the action of tapping in order to complete / achieve an action. + TUI (tangible user interface), described by Ullmer and Ishii, is a computational system embracing physical-world modalities of interaction. Meaning that we use external objects (ex. cubes) as an input to control the interface behaviour. + MUI (multimodal user interface), which according to Oviatt and Cohen there is a need to embrace users’ natural behavior as the center of the human-computer interface. Designers can build complex systems and incorporate multimodal communication, such as voice control, in order to input rather than pointing. + EUI (embodied user interface), described as an interface that takes into consideration other elements that just a simple screen that can be manipulated with other actions than just a simple tap. Researchers from the Xerox Palo Alto Research Centre, study movements with the phone for users, such as flip, thumb, bend, crease, and not just tap.


I  believe that we, designers  – engineers – professors – students – etc., should be able to create new channels of affordances, such as control things with the voice or eye-gaze, changing and selecting options with body gestures in order to create a powerful flow of communication, rather than limit the users with atomic and static input. Interesting alternatives researched nowadays are near-field connectivity network, in which a human body is turned into a data transmission path between devices. With the help of a transmitter the human body works as a path where information flows to another device. For example in a company a person with a transmitter embedded in a phone or watch (part of the embodied technology), could open doors with just a simple touch, without the need of an identification card. Following this theory, any object that has conductive properties would automatically change the way we perceive physical objects and therefore their affordances.

Then I stop and stare, and when thinking about a futurist vision of the UI, I believe the pixelated device would lose it functionality and could be replaced by ourselves and the world, instead. In this way, we could open up many paths of the futuristic UI and UX, since it would create different meaningful experiences for the user itself. From my point of view, this will automatically lead to a new way of perceiving the body and environment. I believe that in the near future, any surface could act as an interface – as seen from a YouTube video, of a child knowing how to operate and iPad and expects that every surface is touchable, makes me believe that the children of the next generation will create an interactive channel between the world (surfaces) and humans in order to perform actions of the digital world.

Stay tuned,




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