NUI… so much more than “invisible UI”

The world is full of haters. Yep, some people just like to criticize. We came across a blog post recently that took quite a negative view on NUI design and quite honestly mis-represented, or perhaps under-represented the true breadth and power of the innovative design movement we love so well.

You can read the original blog post here, but more important, here’s our excellent rebuttal in defense of NUI design. Get it right, people!

What a great opportunity to start a meaningful dialog about what’s most important and relevent in the NUI movement. Many valid points are made here, in particular, the importance of putting culture in the foreground and designing understandable devices, but I also feel that this post perhaps overly focuses on the semantics of words like “invisible” and “disappear”, which seems to have led to the dwelling on what I feel are ultimately some less salient points.

In my opinion, invisible UI is not the same as No UI or even dumbed-down UI. At Kicker, we use this term (and it’s just a term) to describe what happens to UI that’s rooted in embodied cognition. We believe that the design community has gone just about as far as it can go with the chrome-based approach, and it’s time to back up a few steps for the purpose of envisioning a more dynamic model. Think about how devices were built in the past. Machines were built to work with the operator’s body.

At Kicker, we design not to make frustrating, unsuable, sterile interfaces, but to do the exact opposite. We believe that “objects designed for controlling physical matter are designed to relate to, and interact, with the human body.“ When we talk about invisible design, we’re talking about the notion that pops up at the very end of this blog post… that design should receed into the background because it’s so easy to understand. For more info on Kicker’s brand of NUI, read this.