Buttons Are a Hack—Josh Clark

Josh Clark explains why we should be giving users ways to interact directly with content, instead of forcing them to use outdated metaphors carried over from the desktop world.

“We’ve only just scratched the surface of touchscreen interface design. Done right, touch allows us to create the illusion of working directly with content, instead of through the abstract metaphors of menus, buttons, tabs, and assorted “administrative debris” that we’ve adopted over the last 30 years of desktop interfaces.” Amen.

Duration: 48 minutes

Josh Clark on Twitter
Josh’s “Buttons Are a Hack” post
Webstock 2011

Martin Polley

Martin is an interaction designer and technical writer working at Intel in Haifa, Israel. Johnny TV dude.

2 comments on this article

  1. Maarten Meijer on

    Buttons, sliders, and all other forms of indirect manipulation reduce the required fine motor skills and hand eye coordination. Going back to direct manipulation via touch will thus raise the threshold of these fine motor skills, so maybe making interfaces more comprehensible, but less operable.

  2. Brandon on

    @Maarten: I’d have to agree; I always felt that touchscreen feels clumsy, but could never explain it the way you just did. In order for a touchscreen to NOT feel clumsy, seems like it would have to be quite a bit larger, thus reducing it’s functionality.