quarta-feira, 19 de dezembro de 2007

Talk at the Game Developers Conference about gestural interactions

Gave a talk at the European GDC today in Lyon. It was called “5 lessons about tangible user interfaces” and addressed an overview of classic misconceptions concerning tangible user interfaces. It’s actually a modified version of an earlier talk I gave last year at Nokia Design in Los Angeles; I added few things I’ve done since then. It’s always interesting to give such a talk to different audiences; the way it it is received by industrial designers is totally different by game developers, fully different insights and discussions. The slides are here (.pdf, 9.8Mb):

Tangible interfaces hold lots of promises ranging from being more intuitive or realistic, being more appealing to users to enabling people to get some physical exercises in the process. User experience research about it shows that things are not so simple. This presentation discusses 5 misconceptions and why they are wrong. Each can be exemplified by arguments drawn from user studies, which are of importance for game designers:1. Inert objects do not lead to tangible interactions or how non-gestural interfaces such as TV remote control can be gestural2. Direct mapping between the physical movement and the interaction in the digital world is simple and intuitive or how direct mapping is not always efficient for players or accurately detected.3. physical interfaces offer a larger variety of control than standard controllers, and are more realistic and intuitive”: depending on the task, tangible interfaces actually do not necessarily lead to intuitiveness and ease of control.4. The starting point of designing TUI is to look at real-life counterparts… so let’s design guns for shooting games, a flute for musical games…: there are actually other alternative that are almost never investigated, taking the opposite direction of direct mapping.5. Tangible interfaces are ubiquitous and allows mobile/seamless interactions or how tangible interactions do not appear in a vacuum and lots of problems due to the context can happen.
The description of why these ideas are misconceptions lead to important implications and design lessons about how to go beyond current implementations in video games.
The conference was interesting, sometimes a bit too techno-centric for me, I will try to write something about my notes from the sessions I found relevant.


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