META Neuro Interface Design

Augmented Reality is a major turning point in computing. For the first time, we can truly inhabit the interfaces we create, reaching out to use our tools and visualizing information around us. But in such a rich and immersive medium, there’s a fine line that separates an intuitive experience from a disorienting one. To help us understand the difference, we look to neuroscience to learn what the mind “wants” from its surroundings, and base our decisions on that insight.

We call this Neuro Interface Design, and it’s the product of years of research by a team of neuroscientists lead by Professor Stefano Baldassi, previously of Stanford. It begins with our master list of 10 fundamental principles, presenting the most relevant and effective ideas in a way that’s easily understood and applied. Each is accompanied by a summary of the relevant neuroscience and UX philosophy, as well as complete references to the underlying literature.

Every generation or two, a technology comes along that changes everything. One such moment came in the 1970’s, when researchers at Xerox PARC developed the modern GUI and made computers look approachable for the first time. A few decades later, mobile technology merged computing with our social lives, and transformed our entire culture. Now, in 2016, we’re on the verge of the next major shift with holograms and augmented reality (AR).

This is the ground floor. Your work will likely be the first volumetric, spatial application in its category and could influence developers far into the future. Take the original iPhone for example, with its revolutionary “pinch to zoom” gesture: this singular idea raised the bar for touch interfaces overnight, and its influence is felt to this day.

Even the subtlest ideas can make a historic impact.

That’s why we continually obsess over the details. Whether big or small, each feature should reduce the learning curve, increase clarity, and make the experience more delightful. AR envelops us in a way flat screens never did, as if we’re inhabiting the spaces we create. It’s our responsibility to make it a comfortable stay.

This is no simple task, however. We believe the insight needed to create such natural interfaces lies in a deeper understanding of the human mind, which is why we’ve assembled a team of neuroscientists, led by Professor Stefano Baldassi, previously of Stanford, to focus full-time on what we call
Neuro Interface Design.

This document is the result of that research. It begins with our master list of 10 fundamental principles, presenting the most relevant and effective ideas in a way that’s easily understood and applied. Each is accompanied by a summary of the relevant neuroscience and UX philosophy, as well as complete references to the underlying literature.

Most importantly, this is a collaborative process. We want you to share your feedback, ideas and experiences, and help us make this a living document that will continually evolve. It’s my hope that everyone reading this will be inspired to join our community of developers and help us define the next paradigm of computing together. Let’s get to it!

Summary of Principals