This is the archived SXSW 2012 schedule. Please see the current schedule here.

Busting the Myth: Natural Input Requires Learning

#sxsw #learnnui

Dan and Kay will bust a commonly held myth: that there is some Natural way of interacting with technology, and that simply by changing modality (touch, body tracking, etc) we will eliminate the need for a UI.

They will present examples from the creation of Surface, (Kay was Design Manager and Dan the UX Architect), including footage of real users interacting with disastrously failing prototypes. They will show how years of iterative design drove to the inescapable conclusion that input is a language, one which must be created by the designer, learned by the user, and taught with a new type of UI.

You will learn how an interface can be designed to teach an input language in a natural way. Drawing from product examples such as the Palm Pilot, iPhone, and Windows 8, they will demonstrate how to design and build products people love and which use new input technologies. You will learn about the creation of user interfaces which teach new input languages in a way that seems Natural.


Daniel Wigdor Asst Professor University of Toronto

Daniel Wigdor is an assistant professor of computer science and co-director of the Dynamic Graphics Project at the University of Toronto, and is also an affiliate of the School of Applied Science and Engineering at Harvard University. Before joining the faculty at U of T in 2011, Daniel was a researcher at Microsoft Research, the user experience architect of the Microsoft Surface, and a company-wide expert in Natural User Interfaces. Simultaneously, he served as an affiliate assistant professor in both the Department of Computer Science & Engineering and the Information School at the University of Washington. Prior to 2008, he was a fellow at the Initiative in Innovative Computing at Harvard University, and conducted research as part of the DiamondSpace project at Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs. He is also the co-founder of Iota Wireless, a startup dedicated to the commercialization of his research in mobile-phone gestural interaction.
Daniel is the co-author of Brave NUI World | Designing Natural User Interfaces for Touch and Gesture, the first practical book for the design of touch and gesture interfaces. He has also published dozens of other works as invited book chapters and papers in leading international publications and conferences, and is an author of over two dozen patents and pending patent applications. Further information, including publications and videos demonstrating some of his research, can be obtained from

Kay Hofmeester Sr Design Lead Microsoft

Kay Hofmeester is User Experience Lead on the Microsoft Xbox team, working on input languages for the next generation of Xbox, such as 3D gestures and speech. Until recently, Kay was responsible for the user experience of input languages for Windows 8, focusing on touch. He was also responsible for the Windows 8 app Store, the touch keyboard and other text input. Kay previously managed the Surface design team and worked on Windows Phone. Before joining Microsoft, Kay was Creative Director at and Design Manager for long-term European design research projects, focusing on future communication technologies.

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