Mobile Device and Wearable Vendors are Struggling with User Interface Complexity

Oyster Bay, New York - 21 Oct 2014

​The dominance of touchscreen user interfaces will reduce over the next 5 years as more sensors are introduced to mainstream products and entirely new product form-factors emerge, enabling and necessitating new user interfaces like voice, gesture, eye-tracking, and neural. ABI Research’s recent report examines popular user interface (UI) methods as well as the natural sensory technologies transitioning from research labs into future product solutions.

“Touch got mobile device usability to where it is today, but touch will become one of many interfaces for future devices as well as for new and future markets,” says Senior Practice Director Jeff Orr. “The really exciting opportunity arrives when multiple user interfaces are blended together for entirely new experiences.”

Across 11 unique features from wireless connectivity to embedded sensors, ABI Research found that hand and facial gesture recognition will experience the greatest growth in future smartphone and tablet shipments with a CAGR of 30% and 43% respectively from 2014 to 2019. The range of applications for gesture recognition span user attentiveness to device navigation control. The impact of UI innovation in mobile devices will be felt across a wide range of CE applications, including the car and in the home.

As mobile applications integrate more technology, the UI must be kept simple enough to be intuitive. “Packing a mobile device with sensors goes little beyond being a novelty,” adds Orr. “Complexity contradicts good UI design and a critical mass of engaging mobile applications are required for mainstream adoption.” This balancing act is best observed in today’s automobiles where myriad of subsystems are working with the driver to arrive at a destination safely with a minimal amount of learning curve.

Key components have also evolved from single-function elements into multi-sensor, single-chip packages. This has not only benefited the handheld form-factor, but been the premise for the leading commercially available wearable devices. As multiple sensors and gadgets work real-time to collect data from an individual and the surrounding environment, the potential for complexity arises once again with each person looking to have their own personalized experience.

The Mobile Device User Interface Innovation study examines current user interfaces for computing systems and mobile devices, analyzes new functionality available for interface development, and considers the impact of mobile device innovation on adjacent and emerging market applications. The study is based on recurring analysis of Mobile Device Feature Attach Rate and Penetration Market Data.

These findings are part of ABI Research’s Human-Machine Interfaces Market Research.

ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of trends in global connectivity and other emerging technologies. From offices in North America, Europe and Asia, ABI Research’s worldwide team of experts advises thousands of decision makers through 70+ research and advisory services. Est. 1990. For more information visit www.abiresearch.com, or call +1.516.624.2500.

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