Photo: via Brett Victor
Last week, Microsoft posted a dazzling video which showed future-people working, playing, and living in a world filled with touch screens.We were abundantly impressed by Microsoft’s “vision,” which seems like a logical extension of all the screens we touch and view every day.
He posted an epic rant on his website detailing everything wrong with a future inhabited by “Pictures Under Glass,” representations of real world items on touchscreens.
Considering he helped design the gestures and user interface of the iPad, his opinion is incredibly informed and worth reading. It’s also challenging, given the iPad is essentially a display for “Pictures Under Glass,” as Victor says.
- On a future of touch screens: “This vision, from an interaction perspective, is not visionary. It’s a timid increment from the status quo…”
- On touching tools: “Notice how you know where you are in the book by the distribution of weight in each hand, and the thickness of the page stacks between your fingers. Turn a page, and notice how you would know if you grabbed two pages together, by how they would slip apart when you rub them against each other…. There’s a reason that our fingertips have some of the densest areas of nerve endings on the body. This is how we experience the world close-up.”
- On iPad: “I call this technology Pictures Under Glass. Pictures Under Glass sacrifice all the tactile richness of working with our hands, offering instead a hokey visual facade.”
- “Pictures Under Glass is an interaction paradigm of permanent numbness. It’s a Novocaine drip to the wrist. It denies our hands what they do best. And yet, it’s the star player in every Vision Of The Future.”
- “What can you do with a Picture Under Glass? You can slide it… That’s pretty much all I can think of.”
Here’s the meat:
- “And this is my plea — be inspired by the untapped potential of human capabilities. Don’t just extrapolate yesterday’s technology and then cram people into it.”
- “Our hands feel things, and our hands manipulate things. Why aim for anything less than a dynamic medium that we can see, feel, and manipulate?”
- “With an entire body at your command, do you seriously think the Future Of Interaction should be a single finger?”