The environmentally-lit interface: A quantum leap forward

“Now that people are getting their first look at an environmentally-lit interface, I am often asked ‘do we really need this?'” Bob Burrough blogs eponymously. ‘Or “how is this actually useful?'”

“An environmentally-lit interface takes information from the environment around the device and uses it to render physically-accurate things on the screen,” Burrough writes. “It appears as if the lights around you are shining on the things on the screen. If the lighting in your room is bright, then the things on your screen are brightly lit. They can even take on complex characteristics like mother-of-pearl or opal.”

“Now, this doesn’t mean you have to hold a flashlight over your phone to read the web in bed. What it means is, designers are empowered to use the design language of the physical world to design their interfaces. Gloss, glitter, glow-in-the-dark, or any other visual quality may be used. In the case of reading a website in a darkened room, the web designer may apply elegant backlighting or glow-in-the-dark treatments to maintain legibility. This is far superior to today’s method of making your phone act like a spotlight that shines in your face… In this way, the environmentally-lit interface represents a quantum leap over current interface paradigms.”

Read more in the full article – recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: Who wouldn’t love to have this capability in iOS?

Steve Jobs would be all over this.


  1. Just Absolutely Fantastic.!
    I hope Apple buys/adopts this technology and runs with it !
    And i hope Sir/Lord/King Jony does not become yet another barrier on another great thing…..since this “somewhat’ could go against his dislike for skeuomorphism.

    It’s just great! Love it .
    Congrats Bob.. major major thumbs up !👍👍👍

    Tim get the check book out for your former engineer!

  2. And then 18 months after it comes in and we get bored with it and discover that using it eats up the battery life, we all go into Settings and turn it off. Just like we did with dynamic wallpaper and perspective zoom.

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