Josh Clark - Buttons are a Hack

The New Rules of Designing for Touch - BD Conf, Sept 2011 (vimeo video)

Fingers and thumbs turn design conventions on their head. Touchscreen interfaces create ergonomic, contextual, and even emotional demands that are unfamiliar to desktop designers. Find out why our beloved desktop windows, buttons, and widgets are weak replacements for manipulating content directly, and learn practical principles for designing mobile interfaces that are both more fun and more intuitive. Along the way, discover why buttons are a hack, how to develop your gesture vocabulary, and why toys and toddlers provide eye-opening lessons in this new style of design.

My notes from the talk:

  • Fitt's Law
  • Let people be lazy
  • Step 1: Gestures as shortcuts for buttons
    • How to teach gestures?
    • How to find a uniform set of gestures?
  • Buttons are (visual) abstraction - they work in the distance - they are workarounds
  • Norman's new book: Living with complexity
    • Social understanding is not synchronized
    • UI conventions are social construction
  • Labels help, but better doesn't need them at all
    • Don't touch a button/label: Tap the content
  • Instructions at start of the app -> NO - no one wants to learn HOW to use before WHY to use ??
    • Nature itself doesn't have labels or instructions - but is an complex interface
  • embrace the UI metaphor you use
  • Play more video games to learn:
    • Coaching: time by time, don't overdo it, show feature hints when needed
    • Leveling up: Pause action, show how to use new feature, continue AFTER user SHOWS she has learned -> so divide your app into levels
    • Power ups: gestures are the keyboard shortcuts of touch, but they are hidden, so tell your users
  • Uzu (app): multitouch gestures: ten fingers - ten modes - no buttons or labels at all
  • no leadership yet for finding uniform set of gestures

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