Designing Organic User Interfaces
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With the emergence of flexible display technologies, graphical user interfaces will no longer be limited to flat surfaces. As such, it will become necessary for interface designers to move beyond flat display designs, contextualizing interaction in an object’s physical shape. Grounded in early explorations of Organic User Interfaces (OUIs), this thesis examines the evolving relationship between industrial and interaction design and argues that not only what, but how we design is changing. To understand how to better design OUIs, we report on an empirical study of pointing behavior that shows how Fitts’ law can model movement time on an extremely convex surface. We also show that touch sensing technology can be repurposed for the OUI design process by making it possible to tape, draw, or paint touch sensing directly on a physical prototype. We then discuss how supporting sketching, a fundamental activity of many design fields, is increasingly critical for the interactive three-dimensional forms in OUI and that a ‘hypercontextualized’ approach to their design can reduce the drawbacks met when everyday objects become interactive. Finally, we discuss that when interactive hardware is seamlessly melded into an object’s shape, the ‘computer’ disappears. When designing OUIs, it is better seen as a basic material, like the clay, foam core, or plastics used by an industrial designer, and one that happens to have interactive potential.