The Future is all Touchy-Feely

It was clear at SXSW that the audiences were engaged not only in what was being presented but also in their own touchy-feely activities. Mobile devices ruled whether they were iPhones, tablets, iPads, Androids or laptops. And the laptops were mostly MacBooks. Writing notes on a paper seemed decidedly prehistoric. Hashtags ruled with Twitter as the medium of choice for interaction with the presenters and community. Even the desktops provided at the information stations around the conference had touch interfaces.

If you believe in learning styles, it appeared to be a haven for those of the kinesthetic kind. The truth as I see it is that it's the new normal-touch as the mode to be engaged, to be in the moment from wherever you are.

At the session The Future of Touch User Interface Design presenters Amish Patel and Kay Hofmeester, discussed Touch as a language under development. To explain they took the audience through how languages of media develop:
  • In stage one when new technology is introduced it's at an experimental stage. It's basically a prototype
  • In stage two, we tend to copy or mimic the forms of an old language.
  • In stage three, a New Language is developed for the media
The presenters used examples of the development of film and the development of the computer mouse. Currently touch is at stage two where it is still emulating a computer mouse, a keyboard and scroll bars. It is depending on a single point of contact. They ask what is the new language? Shouldn't we turn the page and copy real life with multi-touch and multi-focus?

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