Over a decade after Mark Weiser’s publications on calm computing, we’re finally reaching a point where technological capability matches our desire for ubiquitous computing and so-called natural user interfaces. However, taking a lesson from artificial intelligence, just because we can create a system does not mean we are ready to design it.
The next frontier for calm computing is the idea of an “invisible interface.” Much of the interaction design community has been frantically trying to promote the idea that digital screens are becoming outdated and to establish preliminary “best practices.” Barring a few notable critiques, the discussions on invisible interfaces have thus far been mostly optimistic—perhaps too optimistic.
The arguments in favor of invisible interfaces are making a few key mistakes, namely:
In what follows, I elucidate these points through a discussion of Martin Heidegger’s analysis of technology and objects in the world, arriving at a new solution: transparent interface design.
The discourse around “invisible interfaces” has been mostly a binary discussion: either visible or invisible. But interfaces are not simply visible or invisible; like all other technological objects, they exist on a spectrum of