Zero UI

The notion of zero UI (user interface) is increasingly accepted as we move away from screens. The emergence of automatic and predictive technologies coupled with ever decreasing sizes mean that the next step could involve humans becoming the next UI[i]. Although the early iterations of Google Glass failed to take off, they are indicative of the drive for ever more accessible, augmented and ‘natural’ data and information retrieval and creation. With examples of making our skin the interface for computing, we are indeed on the verge of a long lasting and profound change.


Zero UI will expand beyond voice tech such as Alexa; first into chatbots and voice biometrics, and later in to face recognition technology, gesture control and haptic feedback[ii]. Haptic feedback is already evident in various guises; for example Google’s Project Soli makes ‘your hands the only interface you need,’ by using radar to detect fine movements[iii]. The impact will extend beyond the consumer sphere; the world of work could be upended- from office design and requirements to the skills needed for a range of job tasks.

Ultimately Zero UI is both a customer experience and data issue. Intrinsically this makes it a design issue and one that will need to account for interoperability between many systems in the future[iv]. Design thinking can help ensure that the focus remains on the consumer experience rather than the interface.

Zero UI can also help in both leveraging data and, perhaps more fundamentally, understanding user intent. The importance of the latter lies in the ability to then design and build personalized experiences that are not only relevant but able to anticipate user needs. Zero UI can also create new experiences that help connect the digital and physical worlds – providing a new medium for media, entertainment, commerce and a host of other industries[v].

For additional information on Zero UI and what it means for organisations, check out our free What’s Hot in Technology 2017 paper. In addition, the paper features a range of other technologies that are set to impact organisations in the coming year and beyond.







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