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Multi-touch Solution

October 16th, 2009

After watching Jeff Han’s presentation at TED, I am pretty sure that multi-touch is the next UI step after GUI. There have always been questions, however–most specifically, how do you match hand positions with the screen? This question has been most relevant currently to tablets, specifically the rumored Mac tablet: how do you position the thing? With desktop computers, the question would be even more relevant, seeing as how it would be tiring at least to hold your hands up against the thing. In Han’s demonstration, he had a screen tilted at an angle starting at waist-high while he stood–or he stood in front of a wall screen. Neither of these, however, is suitable for a desktop configuration with a user sitting at a desk.

The video below, I think, answers half the problem: the screen would not be multi-touch–instead, you’d have a multi-touch pad under your hands, probably a large pad in front of a keyboard. (I still like the idea of a multi-touch keyboard, despite tactile issues, which might mean that the touch-pad could have a video element, even if a simple one.) This general solution overcomes the major problems of hand/arm positioning and not blocking your view of the screen with your hands.

After that, the presentation, called 10/GUI, suggests a UI design–but that’s where I get off the train. The linear nature of the UI laid out in the video has it’s good points, but I see one major bad point: it is way too restrictive as to how things can be laid out. It’s like forcing someone to organize their desk in a specific fashion. This is a solution, but only for people who like it. It claims to solve the problem of the scattered, messy Desktop–but a lot of people like that scattered, messy Desktop. It’s like having an anally retentive person making you follow their rules all the time. I lived with someone like that, briefly, and it was unbearable. Still, you might find this aesthetically pleasing:

See? It’s kind of like having your entire OS forced into a tabbed browser window. A little bit more flexible than that, but not much. Me, I’m going to wait and see what Apple comes up with.

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  1. Troy
    October 17th, 2009 at 14:26 | #1

    10 UI is very similar to the xbox 360’s original “blade” UI.

    If we do go touch on the desktop, QWERTY must die.

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