Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 27th May 2010 22:47 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces Now this is an interesting article, written by Lukas Mathis. He makes the interesting case that the gesture-based interface, as seen on the iPad and many modern smartphones, is actually more akin to the command line interface than the graphical one. He also offers a number of solutions for that pesky problem of gestures being anything but discoverable.
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Memorization
by WorknMan on Thu 27th May 2010 23:40 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

He argues that this non-obviousness inherent to current gesture-based interfaces means they once again centre around memorisation instead of recognition.


Ha, not hardly. Though certainly not perfect, something like an iPad is still a hell of a lot more intuitive than a CLI, assuming you're approaching both for the very first time. I mean, don't get me wrong... the command-line does have its strengths, but 'discover-ability' is not one of them.

I will agree that a gesture-based interface isn't going to replace a keyboard and mouse for getting real work done anytime soon, but they're sure handy to have around when you're kicked back on the couch and want to browse the web, or whatever ;)

Edited 2010-05-27 23:43 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Memorization
by joshv on Thu 27th May 2010 23:58 in reply to "Memorization"
joshv Member since:
2006-03-18

"help" typed at any command line is reasonably good at directing you in the right direction. Perhaps we need a question-mark gesture that displays a list of gestures with directions.

Reply Parent Score: 10

RE[2]: Memorization
by vodoomoth on Fri 28th May 2010 11:48 in reply to "RE: Memorization"
vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30

Great idea! and there's no irony involved.

You should have patented the gesture before telling us about it. I'm sure it would have been granted.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Memorization
by galvanash on Fri 28th May 2010 00:47 in reply to "Memorization"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Everything you say here is true, but none of it invalidates the point of the article, namely that gesture based UIs require memorization instead of recognition.

That said, nothing in the linked article is particularly insightful either - this is a very well known issue and predates the multi-touch interface as Apple implements it by many years...

Apple did not fix this problem - it is rather inherent to the interface paradigm. What they did manage to do, however, was promote application interfaces which by design are limited to 3 obvious and simple control behaviors, i.e. touch to click, drag to scroll, and pinch to zoom. And they mostly stick with these.

Most applications do not attempt to go beyond these 3 mechanisms for their primary control mechanics. Some implement extended gestures, but usually only, as the article suggests, for shortcuts that are not required for basic interaction with the application.

As the applications get more complex the inherent problems with gesture based interfaces become more obvious. Another post here mentioned the possibility of a "help" gesture. This is probably a very good idea for those applications with UI paradigms which simply cannot cope with being limited to the 3 basic gestures.

I would also suggest that such applications are trying to fit a square peg in a round hole so to speak. What I mean by that is some of them will certainly become popular for what they can do as a tool, but it will be in spite of their bad UI, not because of it. The more popular applications in the appstore tend to stick to the basics and simply come up with new ways to utilize them.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Memorization
by WorknMan on Fri 28th May 2010 05:31 in reply to "RE: Memorization"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

What they did manage to do, however, was promote application interfaces which by design are limited to 3 obvious and simple control behaviors, i.e. touch to click, drag to scroll, and pinch to zoom. And they mostly stick with these.


Well, and you also hold down on stuff, like moving things around the home screen, and copy/pasting text. So technically, that's 4 ;) And to me, that seems ok, given the limited scope of the touch interfaces. One thing I really miss though is tooltips. Sometimes, I wish I could just hover my finger over a button or some other icon to see what it does. No such luck though ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Memorization
by sultanqasim on Fri 28th May 2010 00:52 in reply to "Memorization"
sultanqasim Member since:
2006-10-28

Ha, not hardly. Though certainly not perfect, something like an iPad is still a hell of a lot more intuitive than a CLI, assuming you're approaching both for the very first time.


That's because it uses a mix of GUI and gestures. The GUI part of the UI is very easy to understand.

Still gestures are much easier than command lines. No exact spellings of commands to remember, just a basic idea on the gesture is usually all you need to know. No command syntax to memorize either. man pages are very helpful for that though.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Memorization
by Gone fishing on Fri 28th May 2010 05:30 in reply to "RE: Memorization"
Gone fishing Member since:
2006-02-22

Nice article, yes gestures are simpler than the command-line but also much less powerful. When comparing power to simplicity ratio they would look similar.

Exact spellings in the command-line make it difficult - true - but we also have tab auto complete and the ability to scroll through recent commands.

I'm beginning to have the opinion that the increase of features in IT devices to make the easier to use, in fact, often makes them more complex and difficult to use.

Oh damn I sounding like a power of the command-line. bore

Reply Parent Score: 5