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Evolving interactions

They way we interact with technology is changing. We’re evolving from unnatural keyboard-and-screen or finger-on-glass interactions to true multi-modal interactions, with users moving fluidly between interaction styles based on their context or preferences.

Part of our Seismic Shifts series

Time to talk interactions

Interaction through speech burst onto the scene with tools like Siri, Cortana and Hey, Google. These interfaces have reached into homes with devices like Amazon’s Echo. Building conversational and natural language user interfaces presents new challenges but obvious benefits. The Echo in particular had to rethink many interactions because it purposefully omitted a screen, forcing all-verbal interaction. 

The conversational trend is not just limited to voice. Messaging apps have come to dominate both phones and workplaces, and we’re seeing conversations with other humans being supplemented by chats with “intelligence”. As these platforms improve, they understand more conversational context, making interactions more lifelike and therefore more compelling.

Discover how conversation changes how we think about about how we interact with tech and the interfaces we need.

New ways to interact

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are becoming common. Headsets such as the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Microsoft HoloLens provide entry into a high-definition immersive experience, without users needing to break the bank.

These new forms of interaction challenge some of our notions about how we accomplish routine tasks in the post-digital world. If we want to book cinema tickets or a taxi, we don’t need an app—our digital assistant can do it directly.


We must evolve our thinking—and our capabilities—beyond the keyboard and the screen. Mixed reality will become the norm.

We might alternatively rely on a system of intelligent, connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices to understand our behaviour and preferences, and automate routine tasks, such as ordering our morning latte, or replacing worn out gym shoes.

For organisations, this presents a challenge of how to project their brand, when their customers might never interact with them directly. How will you deliver a personal service when you don’t see your customers directly?

What is a computer?

AR, VR and voice are just the start. Already companies such as Facebook are exploring the possibilities of thought-based interfaces; BMW is investigating holograms. These examples are just the start. As we move away from the notion that a computer is something with a screen and a keyboard, it’s only natural that the way we interact with it will change.

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