I know that beautiful details in design play an important role in establishing trust and also engage the audience into an experience. Both these are integral to persuade a thinking human brain.  Today’s Murch reading gave me a much deeper insight into the importance of those beautiful details in design. In his reading he says:

Not only is the rate of blinking significant, but so is the actual instant of the blink itself. Start a conversation with somebody and watch when they blink. I believe you will find that your listener will blink at the precise moment he or she “gets” the idea of what you are saying, not an instant earlier or later.


This phrase from Murch speaks volumes about the nature of interaction design and the role of the “interaction” itself. Basically, according to his argument you would not blink when your brain is actively “engaged in the moment”, or when your brain is anxious. When you interact with machines via interfaces, there is an uncertainty of what will happen. Specially when trying out something relatively new. So if we hold Murch’s argument true for a moment, what it means is that at the precise moment of the interaction – when we look for the button, when we click on the button, when new screen appears, etc. All those instantaneous almost-invisible moments are the precise moments when we won’t blink. We will however blink as the interaction completes, because now our eyes have seen what just happened and our brains have signaled the body that your world is a better place now. So at some level an anxiety is over at that precise moment, and that is the moment of the cut.

Since we won’t blink at the precise moments of during-the-interaction, and since our mind is completely engaged in the activity at that precise moment, the beauty of that very activity is what is going to influence our mind, body and soul. The experience delivered during these moments will probably make a huge difference in overall success of the product. This is not only true for interactive products, but also otherwise I believe. The joy we get wearing a Nike probably has to do with the moments we spend with the shoe not blinking.

I assume Steve Jobs knew this (among many more reasons) and hence used to dictate immaculate interactions in all the products released under his flagship. Success of Flipboard and Instagram can also be explained thus. And I guess this might be a strong reason for why there is an emphasis on instant-boot devices (one of the three main design criteria, second being the battery life) for computing devices of future. More that the beauty of the interface, task flows, etc. it is the transitions that will make you blink.


My two cents. Eager to know your thoughts.