January 9, 2007 Apple introduced the iPhone and thus introduced an entirely new user interface based on a multi-touch display and pioneering new software, letting users control the iPhone with just their fingers. Product and digital design has been profoundly effected since its introduction, user interface being the most effected to date. Beginning in early 2015 the Apple Watch promised another shift in this tide, potentially ushering in the next iteration of an advanced user interface. One of which, by the end of the year, we may all wonder how we lived without it.
User interface has become an every day experience for most all of us. Whether it’s on our smart phone or while surfing the net, the digital user interface has become an important part of our lives. Sometime subtle changes can be noted as more cosmetic than functional, but ultimately they are all geared toward a better experience. A unique design feature in many websites, known as parallax scrolling, not only improves the overall appearance of a site, but provides another, subtle layer to the experience of a site. The subtle, slower movement of an image while you scroll traditionally down a page allows designers to efficiently and effectively share with you a physical environment thus expanding a company’s personality past words and still images on a page.
This effect can be directly related back to that introduction of scrolling a page on the iPhone with a simple flick of your finger. That scrolling feature didn’t just move information over the screen, but did so with a direct relationship to how fast your finger moved while slowing to a stop once you lifted off the screen. The Apple Watch interface allows developers, once again, to potentially break through the norm and create even more simplified interfaces than we experience today. UI designers at Impekable have been busy dreaming up new app experiences that will delight wearers. Although an iPhone is still required for use, the instant ease of viewing a watch that’s on your wrist provides the user the ability to perhaps grab a table, order one of their usual drinks, pay for it using Apple Pay or my Starbucks card and get notified when their drink is ready – all without leaving the comfort of their table. And the interface will be ultra simple – clean, simple photos, a few specific selections and a slideshow-like consumer experience all within the face of a watch.
January 2007 offered a glimpse of what was possible with the ever growing interest in the graphical user interface (GUI) of the world we’ve come to know. Today we peak over the horizon at yet another growth-spurt of this same technology. What we experience on our wrists may also translate into that website you need to redesign or that social media program you’re about to launch. Tomorrow holds exciting possibilities, I can’t wait to see what becomes the norm in just a few short months.
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