Kevin Cheng  

Minority Users

October 3rd, 2003 by Kevin Cheng :: see related comic

This week’s comic is rather tongue-in-cheek (as I suppose most of our strips by definition are). The movie in question is also a little old but we weren’t around last year to make fun of it so we’re making up for lost time.

I actually think there are some very interesting and potentially useful applications to the interface used by Colin Farrell and Tom Cruise in Minority Report but when the movie was released last year, I grew pretty tired of my friends asking for my opinion on it as though it was the coolest interface since the mouse was invented. I couldn’t help but notice as I was watching the movie that there were several scenarios where the computer was literally performing “do what i think” levels of interaction, requiring a fair amount of suspension of disbelief. It’s a movie about the future, I’m willing to grant that, but when all your friends who think their HCI friend should love this movie on the grounds of a cool idea, I have to bring at least one foot back into the plane we call reality.

There is certainly room for gesture interfaces. Videogames, always more willing and able to experiment with new interfaces, have proven thus with simple gesture recognition with games like Para Para Paradise which have been particularly popular in Japan. The Eye Toy for the PlayStation 2 is another example of direct manipulation of a game through player motion. Will we see these applied to non-entertainment applications? Undoubtedly so. Are they the next big thing? Only if a number of other technologies, like eye tracking, support it sufficiently at an economical cost to the consumer … and even then, we’ve proven that you can build bad interfaces no matter what input device is being used.

5 Responses to “Minority Users”
Dilum wrote:

So the gestures were certainly part of the interface’s charm, but what really took the cake was the amount of display surface area. I remember wanting to work on this massive, high resolution video wall back in Princeton…

I think wonderful opportunities and challenges loom with the coming of high resolution, big screens — whether they come in the form of LCD/plasma, projection, smoke-screens or i-ink.

John wrote:

Hey, coming a little late to comment, but: the thing I really appreciate about the idea of such a gestural interface, is its tactility. It could be very much like working with a bunch of pieces of paper on a table top. Moving pieces of paper around easily, but then able to file them immediately into the computer, or cut and paste into some other document etc. It’s much easier to have direct contact with the information…well, maybe it could be more physically demanding. The tactility, though, seems to make it mentally easier for me. Just some thoughts. The reasons why books and real paper never completely disappear from the office.

Allison wrote:

Hey, you might want to check out the gestural, desk interface featured in The Island.

Allison wrote:

Actually, Code 46 also has an interactive user interface as well. (I watch a lot of movies.)

Jeff wrote:

Jason, from 37 signals bashes an actual minority report style demo at an airport.

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OK/Cancel is a comic strip collaboration co-written and co-illustrated by Kevin Cheng and Tom Chi. Our subject matter focuses on interfaces, good and bad and the people behind the industry of building interfaces - usability specialists, interaction designers, human-computer interaction (HCI) experts, industrial designers, etc. (Who Links Here) ?