How we interact with the physical parts of products is becoming more important as UX research and design moves from display-only to display+physical interaction. Physical interaction and tactility have a way of revealing and amplifying the underpinnings of screen-centric UX, for both good and bad. Hardware design should complement and support screen-centric design: well done; it’s seamless and wonderful, at its worst, it’s onerous and utterly crappy.
I’ll talk about how physical interaction design – the stuff you touch – should influence “traditional” (screen-based) product development strategy. I’ll include, as examples, several hardware-included design programs with great, integrated UX, and some where it fell off the rails. I’ll also suggest ways to approach hardware design, tactility, and physical interaction components in UX design.