Natural User Interface (NUI), is one of the favorite flavors du jour in certain interaction design and user experience circles. The term signals a change from the Graphical User Interface (GUI), that has been prevalent since the early 1980s. In many ways, that is good - not that the GUI is going to go away (any more than the QWERTY keyboard) - but progress does, as they say, progress. And just because there was a great idea that took hold, does not mean that that is all that there is.
But beyond the name, what is this new thing? The answer depends on who you ask. Ask enough people, and you will see that it can mean anything – which means that it might mean nothing. According to Bill Buxton, the many views means that there is a lot of diverse conversations accompanying them, and he sees that as healthy. Complacency is rarely a worthy aspiration for design. But out of the collective conversations one would hope that there is some convergence, insight or growth.
The purpose of Bill’s talk is to throw his own thoughts into the fray. Taking his cue from the term itself, he’ll start like a good naturalist, and strip the term bare, and build from there. Starting with diving into the essence of the term natural.