Interaction layers are a mighty headache for developers who know them from the back of their hands. We regular folk only can grade how good of a job their interface maximizes use of those features by achieving or failing to do what we want to do with them. If an app has a ton of features available, you’d probably not want to see all of them in list form — you’d want a cleaner, simpler look that you can put your fingers on and manipulate properly.
Apple has tried adding feature access using the pressure-sensitive 3D Touch. The Pocketnow jury thinks it’s flopped. So, what will Microsoft try if it does decide to make hay out of a recent patent application detailing a “multiple stage shy user interface”?
Well, instead of a hard press, you’d get extended feature access through a hover or approach over the touch screen, using the same sort of “3D Touch” sensors. For example, if you’re watching a movie, you can hover or approach the pause button and then move your finger left and right to scrub through the video, frame by frame. Hit the forward button and you have new options for different speeds of fast forward or for skipping to the next chapter.
Developing how and when everything kicks in will be a challenge, but maybe we’ll be more inclined to hover rather than to stab our way to more options sooner or later or never. It all depends on Microsoft and whether or not we see this patent licensed on a phone we’ll want to use.