The best designed tools are the ones we don’t realize we’re using. The fork is an extension of a finger, the shovel an extension of the arm and hand. For decades, we’ve interacted with computers and phones with mice and keyboards, tools that remind us of the divide between the way humans and computers communicate. However, that is rapidly changing because of two core technologies: touch and voice.
Touch interaction has gone from an expensive, fickle novelty to urbane commonality via mobile phones. Apple has shipped about 100M touch enabled devices. Samsung has shipped 50M phones. Android is predicted to ship 55M devices this year.
Voice control is now pedestrian. Gone are the days of frustratingly yelling at MacSpeak after hours of training only for the software to misunderstand. Google announced last week that 25% of searches on Android devices are voice queries – impressive for a feature that didn’t exist last year.
Voice and touch enable users, young and old, to interact with highly sophisticated technologies because they simplify our mode of interactions. We interact with our friends and family through touch and voice every day. After all, what could be more natural? And therefore what better way to interact with computers?
As a result of these innovations in touch and voice, we’re rapidly approaching an era when we interact with computers in precisely the same way as humans. The next ten years will be the dawn of an era with ubiquitous, utilitarian computing where using the web is as natural as spearing asparagus with a fork.