Sunday, February 13, 2005


the input bottleneck

If you want to do anything more ambitions than point at menus on a small gadget, you generally face problems. Some interesting interviews in the January Laptop magazine explore how we'll break through the input bottleneck. Dave Blakely at Ideo says:
"If I were to name one thing that will really benefit users, it's natural language processing. Faster chips and improved software will help your phone understand what you are saying and all these problems with navigating through complex menus on tiny screens will disappear."

I've heard people hyping NLP a while. It has improved, but it still seems a long ways from consumer-ready.

Hartmut Esslinger of Frog Design seems to agree with me, but suggests something equally unrealistic:
"Voice is a problem. I think ultimately it will be gestures. If you look at how we communicate, each healthy person talks with the hands. I think gesture will be a big point, to direct and play with the hands. That's one piece that's coming."
From what I've seen coming from the eminent HCI labs, which are lavishing money to research gesture-based interfaces, I don't see any solutions that will be ready for mobile consumer devices in the near future.

I'm not an expert on the latest in these areas, so maybe I'll be surprised.

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