Interface innovations are happening almost every day now. Interfaces are what allow humans to touch and control technology.
Effective user interfaces make complex systems and technologies possible. In an article titled, “35 Interface Innovations that Rocked Our World,” Xerox compiles a list of interface improvements that changed the way we interact with the world around us. Here are a few of our favorites.
The iPod Click Wheel
The iPod’s inventive click wheel combined functionality and simplicity. Not only did the iPod let people carry thousands of songs in their pockets, it presented a brand new way to interact with a portable device. The feature reinvigorated interest in portable music players and set a higher standard in product design.
The QWERTY Keyboard
Early typewriters would malfunction when you typed two adjacent letters in succession. In the 1870s, a newspaper editor in Milwaukee found the solution. He noted the most commonly used letters and created a layout that spaced them apart. The result was the QWERTY keyboard that is still used today.
The Search Engine
Prior to big engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, Sir Tim Berners-Lee used to index the World Wide Web by hand. As it grew to comprise millions of links, search engines were developed. Early search engines were clogged with clutter such as news stories, images, and links. Google was the first of its kind to strip the page of everything but the search bar and a few buttons, pioneering the universal search features of the Internet.
The Seven-Segment Display
Before full color and HD displays, digital LED screens used to consist of simple bars. The seven-segment display was simple, elegant, and powerful, capable of presenting all ten numbers and 6 letters (A, b, C, d, E, F) in the space of a single character.