How many times a day would you say you check your smartphone? Be honest. For the average person, it's 150 times a day. And most of those interactions happen in less than a second.
Today, as the first reviews of the Apple Watch rolled in, we got a look at how Apple plans to banish your phone to your pocket and communicate instead through micro-bursts of text. To succeed, it needs to do this with perfect clarity, brevity, and incredible speed. The success or failure of a whole new generation of devices depends how easy it is to read at a glance.
Fortunately, a small, vocal contingent of scientists are already studying how design affects legibility—and their research is shaping the future of interface design, and building the tech to make glances as useful as possible.
The Type Doctors
Dr. Nadine Chahine is a type designer at the foundry Monotype who focuses on the science of legibility. Dr. Bryan Reimer is a scientist at MIT's AgeLab who researches distracted driving and the impact of in-car interfaces on drivers.
Together, they're writing the book on how our eyes read when we're distracted by the world around us. "There literally is the need to develop a new textbook here," Reimer told me, after he and Chahine gave a talk in March entitled At a Glance: How Does Type Impact Your Daily Life?. "Companies have to come together and support science-infused design."