Making The Game – Teil 2: Was ist ein Natural User Interface (NUI)

A Natural User Interface, or NUI is a user interfaces which allows you to interact directly with a device by typing, swiping or simple touch. But not just smartphone users know how to use this new type of interface, even at ticket machines and ATMs, this new technology is already widely used.
So far artificial input devices like mouse and keyboard were needed to operate a device. But now, through the use of Touch-Sensitive touch screens, just a simple touch of a finger is needed to achieve the same.
The well-known graphical user interface (GUI), which is mainly operated by moving the mouse has become obsolete by this new method of direct control. Since touching and operating of virtual objects is just as natural as with real objects a new kind of user interface had to be implemented.
While NUIs with Single-Touch technology, which means they have only one contact point, use the finger like a mouse replacement multitouch interfaces use gestures in addition to control the device. Therefore you must not click your way through a nested menue until you reach the appropriate option to enlarge for example a small written text or an image, but simply touch the object with two fingers and pull them apart. This is just one example how gesture-control simplifies the user experience.
The natural interface also has the advantage that even inexperienced users see similarities between actions of everyday life and interactions with virtual objects. So no additional know-how has to be acquired and existing knowledge can be used. This natural handling helps inexperienced and older people immense to use these devices in the right way.
Another advantage is that the needed training time is much shorter in a system with NUI than on a computer with a GUI. Until the 80s we needed months to familiarize with the Command Line Operation and master the computer. With the introduction of GUIs only weeks were needed to achieve the same result. The NUI reduces this duration again, so that the user only needs a few hours to be able to use the system in a proper way.
The Natural User Interface allows people therefore a much more natural interaction with the computer and expands the previously limited input possibilities of user interfaces.

Upcoming blog entries
Making the Game – Part 3: Technical basics
Making the Game – Part 4: Multi-Touch Framework (Adobe Flash / Air)
Making the Game – Part 5: Multi-touch devices and their limits


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