The future of User Interface (UI) Design: Part 1.

Vong Lee 03/21/12 - 3:00 pm

As one of the digital thought leaders at Brogan & Partners, I was excited to attend this year’s SXSW conference and see where the future of digital design was heading. Often, I feel like the “usability police” and for years I have been making sure our web sites, rich media and social media designs where intuitive so the user knows where to click and what they’ll get. But with Touch UI gaining momentum, it begs the question: Is Touch UI the Click UI killer? After all, video killed the radio star…

During my week of Interactive sessions at SXSW, I realized that the focus of conventional Click UI was pretty much obsolete. If anything, it was only mentioned in passing. And I also didn’t hear the word “usability” mentioned at all. It was all about the touch or gesture experience.

I joke that my kids don’t know what a mouse is, but it’s true. Their first experience and exposure to computers were a laptop, iPhone, and iPad. None of these devices uses a mouse or has to be clicked. We do have desktop computers around, but it’s avoided because there’s a feeling of entrapment compare to our mobile devices. Our expectations of how we experience the web has gone way beyond just the conventional and intuitive navigations.

Whether we believe conventional Click UI is a passing phase or not, it is paramount to consider the visual interface as part of the brand. As designers, we’ll need to build an easy and memorable experience for our users. And to stay on top of our competitors, those experiences will need to be unique. This is what Nike Myers described in his “The Visual Interface Is Now Your Brand” session at SXSW. Where do you think the user interface is heading?

Here’s a little taste of things to come when the visual is the interface.

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