Technology trends are moving toward every device being handsfree. At the start of the year, Google unveiled plans for developing voice command and hands free glass technology. Microsoft recently released a video where researchers showed developments they’ve made in gesture technology. More on those developments later in the blog, but that leads me to the main question. Where is web browsing headed and how will these changes impact website design?
Technology companies and developers are constantly competing to enable us to accomplish more while actually doing less. Here a couple of the different approaches tech giants are taking in web and product development.
Google’s hoping to offer speech recognition as a feature on its popular web browser. Google Chrome’s latest beta version added preliminary support for voice commands. In the near future, users should browse the web, compose emails or tweet thoughts by speaking. They’ll eliminate the need to touch your computer’s screen or mouse. The complications with this technology are pretty obvious. Voice recognition technology is not perfect and mistakes are inevitable. This technology won’t make all computers completely hands free because it makes mistakes, but the real-time transcription they’re displaying is fast. Many think this’ll be a timesaver because most people can speak faster than they type. However, unless improvements are made, you have to speak very slowly to be heard clearly by Google’s transcriber.
Augmented Reality Glasses
This week, the crowd at South by Southwest has been buzzing since Google revealed new details about its Google Glass technology. Google’s latest product, expected to be available for purchase by the end of the year, is described as an augmented-reality headset. This headset resembles a normal pair of glasses with thin glass lenses. Google’s describes it as being able to project images directly into a person’s eye. Google glass should feature apps, access to the web, a camera and voice recognition. The user will able to operate the glasses with voice commands. For example, if a user is in Oklahoma City and hungry, they could say “restaurants nearby” and they’d quickly see the restaurants around inside the glasses. Recently, Google announced that eventually Google Glass could feature prescription lenses. Essentially, if Google Glass catches on, people will wear their computer on their faces everywhere they go.
Microsoft wants to change how we interact with our computers in a very different way. If Microsoft researchers are successful, touchscreens will be a dying trend. Microsoft has been working to expand technology that is utilized in the Xbox Kinect. Kinect allows gamers to actively play through a sensor that reads body motion. Researchers have worked to harness this innovation to read more deliberate hand gestures, such as the movements of a closed fist. This development would allow users to motion a hand in front of a screen and those gestures would register as actual actions made on the computer.
The Impact on Web Design
There’s one really popular concept in web design right now. Developers keep talking about designing for the future. In the web of the future, all content will be expected to load instantly. Consumers today are less tolerable of delays than ever. Web content will have to be optimized to operate quickly or you’ll lose visitors. All the developments above should expedite Internet searching. Expect to design for evolving app needs and new platforms. Google Glass isn’t even released yet and they’ve already announced that Gmail, the New York Times, Path and Evernote all have functioning apps that will work with Project Glass.
In a decade, humans and the technology they’re using may be almost indistinguishable. Almost every facet of life will probably be available online. Traditional computer interfaces will disappear and become touchless objects embedded in a room. Users will expect web content to function seamlessly with each new device, whether it features voice recognition or gesture technology. Responsive web design and customer management systems will probably thrive as we understand them now, but continue to improve functionality as platforms and user expectations change.
What do you think about some of the new technology developments? Are they exciting or daunting innovations?