Interface Origami

Juan Sanchez describes his approach to prototyping gestural interfaces with paper:

[A]s a designer I find it’s important to remove myself from that [digital] space and explore solutions that can originate in physical space.

John Pavlus observes:

By physically modeling the interface in paper, Sanchez quickly found ways to expand upon its core ideas. His “accordion” and “fold and peel” gestures intuitively exploit the affordances implied by (but not included with) Clear’s pinch-to-open and pinch-to-close commands. A designer putting a Clear-like gestural interface together digitally would have to come up with these extra ideas out of thin air, which could lead to a grab bag of interesting but disconnected gestures. Toying around with a paper model, on the other hand, lets new gestures reveal themselves organically and stay intuitively related. After all, if your paper model is folded into segments that smoosh down into an accordion-like stack, they probably shouldn’t swipe left and right like Scrabble tiles at the same time. If it doesn’t make sense in physical reality, why should it act that way in your app?