examples, this movement toward a
disappearing interface will create
new ways of thinking in interaction design. We will need to create
new methods, tools, and courses to
teach and design interactive artifacts. In line with this movement,
we will also see more thriving
cases of smart material inventions,
which will enhance the intuitiveness and naturality of interactions.
• The exploration of the effects
of interactive quality design will
be an important research subject.
Interactive quality design for most
natural physical feelings is one
possible research area. Based on
how we manipulate interactive
qualities, people can experience
feelings of certain things that
do not actually exist in reality.
Other than this, research on how
the operational feelings of digital
materials relate to their interactive qualities will be another
interesting topic. In addition, as
stated earlier, what these “pseudo
feelings” mean to people when
they start to experience them at a
young age will be another important issue to investigate.
• Treating interaction design
targets as if they are alive will
open up a new design space. In this
regard, the field of human-robot
interaction (HRI) will further evolve
and thrive even more in interac-
tion design. We already have the
example of Siri, which although not
a robot in the strictest sense, has
become quite successful. When we
think about robots, we do not par-
ticularly consider creating artificial
interfaces to interact with a robot.
The channels that allow us to
interact with a robot are the direct
parts of its body, as if its hands and
feet and eyes and ears were not
artificially attached to it and could
access or be accessed by outer ele-
ments. If I extend my view of what
we interact with from an artifact
to a new material, the recently pro-
posed concept by Ishii et al., radical
atoms [ 7], also resonates with the
direction I foresee here.
we should address this immediacy of access and the use and
manipulation of digital materials
in interactive design, instead of
continually focusing on interface
types and styles (although such
inventions will continue and are
necessary). Focusing on the core of
what we interact with rather than
the interfaces that mediate the
interaction is what matters. That
is what the concept of the disappearing interface is about, and that
would be the true nature of a natural user interface.
This research was supported by the
Basic Science Research Program
through the National Research
Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by
the Ministry of Education, Science, and
1. Löwgren, J. and Stolterman, E. Thoughtful
Interaction Design: A Design Perspective on
Information Technology. The MIT Press, 2004.
2. Norman, D. A. Natural user interfaces are not
natural. interactions 17, 3 (May + June 2010), 6-10.
3. Norman, D. A. The Design of Everyday Things.
4. Negroponte, N. Being Digital. Hodder and
5. Lim, Y-k., Stolterman, E., Jung, H., and
Donaldson, J. Interaction gestalt and the design of
aesthetic interactions. Proc. of the 2007 Conference
on Designing Pleasurable Products and Interfaces
(Helsinki, Finland). 2007, 239-254.
6. Lim, Y-k., Lee, S-s., and Kim, D. Interactivity attributes for expression-oriented interaction design.
International Journal of Design 5, 3 (December
7. Ishii, H., Lakatos, D., Bonanni, L., and Labrune,
J-B. Radical atoms: Beyond tangible bits, toward
transformable materials. interactions 19, 1 (January
+ February 2012), 38-51.
Digital materials are what overcome or ignore physical constraints. This is the secret of
digital material. Thus far, we have
enabled the overcoming of physical
constraints with the use of formalized interfaces. However, we now
touch and manipulate digital materials directly. The secret of digital
materials is realized when this fingertip touching of the digital material becomes possible. To maximize
the benefits of this secret, I believe
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Youn-kyung Lim is an associate
professor in the Department of
Industrial Design at KAIST in
South Korea. Her current research
focuses on experience-centered
design and the aesthetics of inter-
action, as well as prototyping in interaction design,
especially for discovery-driven creativity.
September + October 2012
© 2012 ACM 1072-5520/12/09 $15.00