In this article I will discuss briefly the history of Digital Interfaces and how that brings us to the current state of Digital Interfaces, and what we can try to predict about future Digital Interfaces and the corresponding technology to come. Webopedia.com describes a User Interface as “The user interface is one of the most important parts of any program because it determines how easily you can make the program do what you want. A powerful program with a poorly designed user interface has little value. Graphical user interfaces (GUIs) that use windows, icons, and pop-up menus have become standard on personal computers.”
A short history of of user interfaces ranges from command-line/bash, to GUI (Graphical User Interfaces, to smartphone adaptation. Digital Interfaces are present in a large range of devices from touch screen tablets, computers, mobile phones, GPS systems, POS (point of sales) for inventory and sales management, and more. The history of Digital Interfaces corresponds with the history of consumer electronics and technology; from the earliest mp3 players to the most modern tablets we see today. All Digital Interfaces are powered by a computer and ultimately the current state of computing is what will drive the current state of Digital Interfaces. “Command-line interfaces (CLIs) evolved from batch monitors connected to the system console. Their interaction model was a series of request-response transactions, with requests expressed as textual commands in a specialized vocabulary. Latency was far lower than for batch systems, dropping from days or hours to seconds. Accordingly, command-line systems allowed the user to change his or her mind about later stages of the transaction in response to real-time or near-real-time feedback on earlier results. Software could be exploratory and interactive in ways not possible before. But these interfaces still placed a relatively heavy mnemonic load on the user, requiring a serious investment of effort and learning time to master.”
What is UI Design? “User Interface (UI) Design focuses on anticipating what users might need to do and ensuring that the interface has elements that are easy to access, understand, and use to facilitate those actions. UI brings together concepts from interaction design, visual design, and information architecture.” as stated on Usability.gov. Some current examples of Interface Design trends include; vibrant colors, flipping cards, interactive video, larger font designs, and touch gestures, to name just a few. Touch screen interfaces are becoming more and more popular with mobile and handheld devices for Interface Designs such as swipe, pinch, slide move etc. Better Interface Designs geared with the purpose of making usability more and more seamless, functional, and accessible, are being fleshed out by the day all over the world; per device and correlating with emerging technologies.
We know the current trends with emerging technology will set the consumer base of devices and so alas interfaces to come. Right now Virtual Reality is trending and emerging hard, as well as a giant push for more and more A.I., or Artificial Intelligence. “It seems that Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) will have a huge part to play. According to Vikrant Binjrajka of INADEV Corporation, “immersion will be the trifecta of brand loyalty”. He believes that “the future of UX/UI will be owned by those who allow users to completely immerse themselves in whatever experience they choose.”” as described and stated in an article by Emily Stevens titled ‘Top 5 UI Trends for 2018’ at usabilitygeek.com. So, based off what we know about emerging technology and predictions therein; that will set the base and need for adapting User Interfaces. Simple and easy to use will always be a priority. The future of gaming may also hold a huge role in the progression of effective interfaces. The importance of User and Digital Interfaces will only continue to grow more and more, with societies innovation, progression, consumption, and need for emerging technology, computing, and electronic devices.