Salient design factors for kinetic user interfaces
In a recent issue of Communications of the ACM, Designing kinetic interactions for organic user interfaces, Parkes, Poupyrev and Ishii reflects on the notion of "kinetic user interface":
"Kinetic interaction design forms part of the larger framework of Organic User Interfaces (OUI) discussed in the articles in this special section: interfaces that can have any shape or form. We define Kinetic Organic Interfaces (KOIs) as organic user interfaces that employ physical kinetic motion to embody and communicate information to people. Shape-changing inherently involves some form of motion since any body transformation can be represented as motion of its parts. Thus kinetic interaction and kinetic design are key components of the OUI concept. With KOIs, the entire real world, rather then a small computer screen, becomes the design environment for future interaction designers."
They also discuss "salient design parameters and research" issues to consider when utilizing kinetic motion in interaction design:
"Form and Materiality. In order to recognize and comprehend motion, it must be embodied in a material form. Hence, a crucial and little-understood design parameter is how properties of materials and forms affect motion perception and control. (...) Understanding the material affordances, their interaction with the user and other objects, environmental light and sound is crucial in designing kinetic interactions.
Kinetic Memory and Temporality. While computational control allows actuated systems to provide real-time physical feedback, it also offers the capability to record, replay, and manipulate kinetic data as if it were any other kind of computational data. We refer to such data as kinetic memory (...) for example, objects can fast-forward or slow down motion sequences, move backward or forward in time; or the objects can "memorize" their shape history and share them with other objects.
Repeatability and Exactness. We can easily distinguish artificial motion because of its exact repeatability. In designing kinetic interactions, repeatable exactness is the simplest form of control state, and in many behaviors it is easily identifiable.
Granularity and Emergence. If this principle of dissecting form and mechanics into single elements—kinetic phrases—is combined with contemporary digital control structures, new materials, and actuators, it becomes possible to imagine a system where a kinetic behavior could be designed both concretely and formally."
Why do I blog this? working recently on tangible UI project in which sensors can be put on everyday objects, the ideas expressed in that paper are relevant to what sort of design parameters should be taken into account (and serves as design constraints).