Really great article on how the Ink & Switch team built a power user interface & app as part of exploring how tablets could be used by creative professionals, since for now they still tend to be used for “social media on the sofa”:
One possibility is that tablet apps are mostly designed as scaled-up smartphone apps. And phone apps are designed for consumers: optimized for zero learning curve rather than power or flexibility.
Watch a creative professional using a tool like Photoshop, AutoCAD, vim, or Excel and see how quickly and confidently they can make complex changes to a document. What would it take to create a fast and precise tool like this on a tablet?
They have a number of things they did to challenge how mobile apps are designed, this one resonated, titled “Read the Manual”:
Consumer app development assumes that users must immediately understand how to use the app with little to no instruction.
But creative professionals are different. We are okay with investing some time learning a tool if that investment pays off in power, flexibility, and expressiveness using the tool later on. Again think of packages like Photoshop, vim, AutoCAD, and Excel.
I very much like this type of exploration. I think the next 2B middle class Internet users are only going to use mobile devices, so I think it’s important we can do everything from the devices we currently call smartphones & tablets — rather than just social media consumption.
Ink & Switch is an interesting organization (I know some of the team). From their home page:
We are a privately-funded industrial research lab working on computing for creators.
Computers can aid humans in our most noble endeavors: art, science, thinking, creativity. But today’s dominant computing platforms increasingly work against us.
We’re working on this problem. Sometimes we publish or open-source our experiments.