Zero UI and our screen-less future
We are so attached to our screens – the glowing rectangle in the corner of the room, on our kitchen tables, by our bedside, and in our pockets – that they have come to redefine so much of what it is to be human. It’s hard to imagine a world not dominated by screens, but that may well be where we are heading.
Zero UI refers to a paradigm where our movements, voice, glances, and even thoughts can all cause systems to respond to us through our environment. At its extreme, Zero UI implies a screen-less, invisible user interface where natural gestures trigger interactions, as if the user was communicating to another person. The replacement of these monolithic screen-based devices by ambient technology that surrounds and immerses us is being driven by Living Services. In the end, this could be a very good thing because social interactions could become more natural again – and not as obviously mediated by devices. Our attention could again return to the people sitting across the dining table, instead of those half a continent away.
Yesterday at the SOLID Conference in San Francisco, Andy Goodman presented this concept in a workshop that explored the contexts, scenarios, and uses of Zero UI, what it means to design and build these services and also what it will mean to live alongside or even “inside” them. Zero UI will not be limited to personal devices but will extend to homes, entire cities, even environments and ecosystems, and as a result have a massive impact on society as a whole.