Magical Interfaces

There have been several discussions about devices like Google Glass, MYO and LEAP. While the advances in wearable technologies and gestural controls are exciting the conversation naturally turns towards a question of how these new devices are valuable. Being able to change songs with the flick of my hand is very cool and sparks the imagination as to what the possibilities are for these new devices. This brings the following quote to mind:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Arthur C. Clarke

The magic of these devices becomes real when we apply a conversational interface that not only allows us to interact in a natural way, but also learns and adapts to the user. Data has become an invisible computer and the conversational interfaces allow us as the users to comfortably manipulate this data. The newest wireless devices capture the imagination and the design of the user experiences allow for magic.

Pandora, only requires a ubiquitous login and I can enjoy personalized music where ever I go. From my phone, to my car, to my desk Pandora continues to learn about what I want to listen to based on what I choose to tell Pandora about my musical taste. The devices used to access Pandora really become secondary, because the value attributed to Pandora comes from the musical experience this service provides. The personal value is not that Pandora provides music, but that this service has my music. So now we see that not only the data, but the personalization of the data is what surfaces the magic of Pandora as a music service.

Seeing people use well designed interfaces has allowed me to witness the magic in action. The visceral reaction that let me know the experience became a part of their life. It wasn’t because they were using the latest device on the market. They truly felt the experience was speaking to them as an individual and like Pandora the personalization of the experience was the value. The magic became real.

About Frank Duran

Frank Duran is a designer for a Fortune 500, financial services company. With over a decade of experience, he approaches design from an "anything is possible" perspective. Frank's agile inspired pragmatism favors efficiency and communication. When he is not spending time with his family Frank is usually thinking about his next creative project.

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