Economist article on new user interface directions


There’s an article in this weeks Economist focused on how difficult technology is to use, and some new directions for user interfaces that may go some way to making them simpler. In addition to some of the usual suspects (Apple’s iPhone and the Minority Report UI) it gives the Microsoft Cambridge lab some decent mention, as well as emphasizing .

One quote from Ken Wood points out our investments within the Research division on user interfaces:
“Part of the problem is that programmers have traditionally had more power than designers. Programmers put in place the myriad features they want; interface designers then struggle to wrap them all up in a product that is simple to use. The results, all too often, are clunky interfaces. But the balance of power may now be shifting to the designers. Ken Wood, deputy director of Microsoft’s research laboratory in Cambridge, England, says his company is putting greater emphasis on interface design. Three years ago, he says, none of his lab’s budget was earmarked for pure HCI research. Today, a quarter of the lab’s budget goes on it.”

Another mentions the HCI 2020 event that we held earlier in Seville:
“What comes next? In March this year Microsoft assembled a group of HCI experts to discuss this question at a conference near Seville called HCI 2020. Andrew Herbert, managing director of Microsoft’s Cambridge laboratory, told attendees that interface simplification is vital if the computing world is to be opened up to new consumers such as the elderly, children and people with little computer experience.”