User interfaces, when done well, are the unsung hero of product design. They’re the difference between a printer whose buttons you can figure out without even reading the instructions and one you want to throw across the room. Now, with the rise of personal computing, interfaces are more relevant than ever before, providing the crucial link between physical objects and the virtual world.
Fast Company’s Co.Design highlights some of the most spectacular and promising product designs of 2010, showcasing app favorite Flipboard alongside other notable user interfaces of FLUD and concept iPad app MetaMirror. It wouldn’t be a slideshow about good interface if Mozilla’s Seabird concept wasn’t in there, but two particular physical products, John’s Phone (Engadget review) and the Ref, shy away from our obsession with everything digital and return to the fundamental concepts of human communication, whether it be interpersonal or emotional feedback. We may often focus, and at times become overly engrossed in Apple’s product philosophies and culture, but we shouldn’t forget a world of innovation exists beyond Cupertino in numerous, brilliant ways.