On my way home last night I was thinking about the current idea of user experience and the way I design. When I design I fall into the less is more category. A good example is the video player I designed for the new Disney.com earlier this year. I took an audit of the big video players out there – Vimeo, YouTube, Hulu – and started disecting from there. I weighed the pros and cons of each. Pixel by pixel I figured out the design decisions that were made, the what and the why. And then I took all of that knowledge and made something of my own.
I wanted to keep the options lean, so there are very few objects to interact with. You’ve got a play/pause button, a mute button, a full screen function, and a scrubber with the current and total times. The play button is large and set to the left, as most of the imagery in video previews tend to be placed in the center. This way we won’t cover Dory’s adorable fish face. There’s only a mute button, no volume controls. Most people control their volume with the keyboard anyhow. Full screen and a scrubber are pretty obvious. When you hover away from the scrubber you get a tiny, thin strip of play progress and that’s it. No more, no less.
The way I see it, interfaces are going to disappear. Look at a video game like Skyrim where almost 95% of the UI simply disappears. Look at an app like Clear which uses nothing but gestures to allow you to make lists. Even blue sky thinking like Google Glass has the right idea. The thought that we’re going to be trapped on a two dimensional screen is extremely short sighted. In the near future we’ll have the ability to control objects, environments and devices with our voice, our gestures and even our very presence. I imagine that our children will think it’s funny that we used to click on analog keyboards to express ourselves.
So while I continue to analyze my own design style, I try to keep an eye toward the future. I consciously keep my information well organized. I keep my type clean and easy to read. I think of both the young and the old. And I try to embrace changes when they come. Hopefully this will keep me on my toes for what the future holds.