The mouse vs the finger

We had mastered the language of cursors as well as point, click and scroll. The desktop and laptop environments co-existed in peace.

In 2007, the iPhone came out. And iPads in 2010. It changed the way we interacted with screens. The finger was far more convenient than the mouse.

Indians have known that for centuries. We eat with our hands. We touch our food before we taste it. Hot, cold, liquid, solid. The heat of chilies lingers. Food is first person active, not passive voice. Spoons and forks are antiseptic, not organic.

What’s the connection between food and design? There’s a different awakening when you touch design. When it moves under your fingers. Rearranging itself under solid glass.

That’s the difference between print and digital design.

Print is like Plaster of Paris, until you cast it. As it dries into a layout, change is impossible until you break and recast it.

Digital works by adapting. Typefaces stretch and settle. Images expand or contract. The device edges dictate the boundaries. A designer has to work out all possible combinations. It’s a lot more work designing how the ‘fluidity’ should happen. Rectangles do not flow into squares. Pictures don’t resize themselves without instructions.

What did we end up doing? We stuck two worlds together and pretended they worked fine. They don’t.

We have to explore the possibilities of fluid design. We can define how it will work in different environments. It won’t be an exact match. That’s not possible.

And when we go deeper, charts, tables and infographics have to adapt as well. You can’t design for one fixed environment and pretend the others don’t exist.

We’ve taken some tentative steps and see immense possibilities. We invite you to begin a conversation.

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Editor-in-Chief: Ritika Chandhok | Published by: KONE Elevator India Private Limited | Editorial Office: Ideascape Communications Pvt. Ltd.