The Future Of User Interfaces

It’s reassuring but also frustrating when something similar to what you were striving for many moons ago, is realised a few years later and receives the recognition you wanted at the time (..even if the new project is probably executed far better than you might have or the technology made easy to do at the time!).

I’m refferring to Blooms new app “Planetary” which visualises your music collection as a solar system. All very pretty it is too.

Patrick Moore eat your heart out. Click the image to go to a video of this UI.

This probably sounds rather odd (read more here on Read Write Web’s Data Visulisation article) but I agree with @ricmacnz that this will become normal to you sooner than you realise.

Back in 2007 I tried at Rummble to create an interactive 3D timeline to interrogate your social network for personally filtered content relevant to you and combined it with location based data and a personalised rating for that content demonstrated by the colour of the object. It even showed you how far away in your network the content came from.

The Rummble "Lifestream". Think Facebook Newsfeed on steroids. I previewed this briefly at Mike Butchers NMA Event in 2007. Filtering, personalisation, social streams - no one had any idea what I was going on about.Jason Calacanis said it was rubbish.

This was not only a distraction from our core proposition (albeit a really cool one!) but far too early to market.  The topics listed above are now all hot: personalisation, your social graph, feeds, taste graph and now: visualisation of that data in an interesting way.

The moral here is of course 1) focus and 2) make sure you’re not too early in the market (unless you’re like Color and can afford a runway of 3-4 years to hone your sofware while the market catches up).

Back to UI

Representations of your data in new, less clunky, less human ways are enevitable. This will be fuelled by the amount of content we are expected to wade through. When the next-generation Google finally appears (I’m less confident that I was that Facebook will crack the social search issue) it will be because a company finds a way to properly filter all this stuff.

It may be that re-imagined UI’s, moving away from the traditional lists -or omnipresent news & activity feeds- are needed in order to display that technology in a meaningful way.

A quick search will no doubt reveal posts far more detailed in their discussion and some fascinating pilot projects; but my point is only that don’t expect your mobile device of the future to be the lists and menu paradigm of today.

See you amongst the stars.


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