An interface exploration for the Apple TV

Direct Manipulation

Remember what was great about the original iPhone? You could slide your finger across the slab of glass and the pixels below it would respond as naturally as technologically possible to your actions. You could pinch photos to zoom them and scroll lists like never before.

“You had me at scrolling”

If there’s one great thing about iOS’s UI (and there are many) it’s UIScrollView. It embodies the principles of natural, direct manipulation of objects on the screen with a very responsive and smart scroll experience and very natural-feeling inertia calculations, with bounces and everything.

The Remote

This new interface is to be driven by a new physical remote. This remote would have a large tracking surface, plus some other buttons that would aid navigation, like so:

The proposed remote next to its current incarnation for reference

The Prototype

This is an interaction demo, built for the iPhone and AirPlay, that aims to show how a remote like the one described above might behave while controlling an Apple TV. It’s not particularly pretty and doesn’t do stuff. It simulates some current Apple TV interface patterns to evaluate whether or not direct manipulation works better than discrete clicks. (I think it does.)

Addendum (Dec 21): A clarification

Some people have expressed confusion towards the difference between my proposal and what the Remote app does today. As I explained to Dave Mark on The Loop, this is, first and foremost, about how the Apple TV handles control events.



Product designer •

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store