Design the Future
January 19–20, 2016: Training
January 20–22, 2016: Conference
San Francisco, CA

Humanist interface: Aesthetics and usability

Eli Schiff (Consultant)
4:35pm Friday, 01/22/2016
The new fundamentals
Location: Southside Theater
Average rating: **...
(2.67, 6 ratings)

Eli Schiff explores what both designers and developers of all stripes can learn from forgotten principles of design that are today being so casually discarded. Why do we use visual signifiers to expose affordances or functionality? What historical tendencies underlie the impulse to reduce designs to the point of noncommunication? What roles do depth and metaphor play in helping users learn to understand interfaces?

Over the course of this talk, Eli explores the importance of ergonomics (e.g., Fitts’ Law: the ease with which users can locate and interact with objects, such as buttons and fields) and discusses the impact of the shift toward typographic interfaces and the difficulties that emerge from overreliance on text as opposed to other evocative graphical elements. In addition, he examines the roles color and contrast play in the user interface and the communication of indication of status through animation, static elements, and sound. Finally, Eli gets at the trouble caused by the shift toward ambiguous gesture-exclusive interfaces and uncovers what we lose by rejecting representational UIs.

Photo of Eli Schiff

Eli Schiff


Eli Schiff is a UX/UI designer and consultant, design critic, speaker, and author of the forthcoming Humanist Interface.