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3 observed trends to a modern UI — Turing test gone wrong!

Updated on January 22, 2016

UI design trends over time

Everyone talks about UI/UX and designing. But what really is this UI? Why is there so much fuss about it? What is this UI capable of delivering and what not?

The most common inference about UI is that it is everything that is designed into an information device with which a human may interact. In short, it is a medium of interaction between the machine and the user (human), an agent to convert machine language into understandable human language. But think about it, what if we did not have this middle agent? What if we could directly interact with the machine? Wouldn’t everything be simpler and quicker?

We have seen user interface being conversely used with user experience. But obviously, they mean two very different things. A user interface is a physical entity while user experience is abstract. It is experiential and practical aspect of the human-machine interaction. The feel, the comfort, and the cognitive ability of using the things in a specified order or flow —  all accounts to the user experience bit. We were intrigued by the way UI has been shaping up since ages and our team sorted out design trends classifying them into ages.

Talk, text, gesture — What next?

1. The talk age — Greater interaction, lesser information

It wasn’t long ago when phone calls were preferred over writing letters. Pick up, dial, connect and talk. User interface meant a device or a means for humans to interact.

2. The machine age — More information, more interaction

From voice calls to video calls to now text messages, the way the information has been passed on have been evolving. No one likes to talk these days. Few lately popular mobile applications like magic and operator are examples of these. People prefer machine rather than human to interact with. Surprisingly, the inverse of Turing test might be proven true now. For those of you who are wondering what this test is, it is a test of a machine’s ability, to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to or indistinguishable from that of a human. So instead of machines acting synonymous to the human behavior, it seems like humans act synonymous to the machine. This is where UI meant converting machine language to human and vice-versa.

Let’s talk about the other aspects of UI. What about fake UI? What about the times when our interfaces lie to us to shield us from what is really going on behind the scenes? The bugs and crashes don’t really convey what actually is happening. Alternatively, called as the Placebo UIs, these are the methods to cover up poor heuristics.

3. The time of Turing — Theory of unity

Gesture recognition, conversational and invisible apps have no interface to show. But does it mean no UI? For example Apple’s smart intelligent assistant Siri is a conversational app with high intelligence. It is a machine interacting with human without a physical interface. This also comes to redefine what UI really is. UI will not mean a physical entity that interacts with human.

In some time to come, we will probably not have to interact with the machine, covert machine language to understandable human language and vice-versa. You just have to think and the command reaches the machine. That will be the time, when no UI will mean the real UI. That is when the Turing test will prove true. When the ability of machine will match that of the human!


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