An amazing nextgen user experience from Microsoft Research! Microsoft Surface.
Popular Mechanics has a hands on Video. Check it out! In the video they take a picture with a digital camera, place the camera on the table, manipulate the picture and then drag the picture onto another portable device. All through natural human interaction with the device, instead of forcing the user to learn the interface of a program.
This video demonstrates perfectly a good user experience design. Just because our program needs 3 variables as an input, does not mean we should put three dropdown boxes on a screen and force a user to give us those variables. We should always hide the underlying plumbing and let users interact with software in a natural way. Each of those devices required variables as input, the user sent them – it just happened naturally without them realizing.
Give it a few years and we will see technology like this inside the home. Maybe then my wife can move pictures off the camera without needing me. =)
Update: News.com has an article on the “Milan” Surface table PC project. Check it out here.
Update: Ars Technica has a nice writeup on the hardware used inside the Surface table. Article found here .