The Performance Beacon

The web performance, analytics, and optimization blog

“Minority Report” Defining Today’s User Interface

Think back to Steven Spielberg’s 2002 classic, “Minority Report”, the movie that explored the future of human/machine interface in 2054. It was both cool and exciting, and it was also years away from reality. Or was it? Here we are, now ten years removed, and some of these concepts, gesture-based applications (everywhere), hovering gestures (Apple patent), 3D navigation (everywhere), and voice (Siri), are very much real.

John Underkoffler is the UI designer who built the technology for Minority Report and in real life, too. His 15-minute TED presentation is well worth watching.

From logistics and supply chain to financial services, new applications evolve every single day to leverage advancements in man and machine user interfaces. In many cases there is simply no other option than to rapidly wade through the enormous amounts of data these applications generate in search of the actionable intelligence.

One of these Big Data issues occurs while performance testing web and mobile applications. These applications simulate millions of people around the globe hitting a web site or mobile application to provide predictive analysis as to where performance bottlenecks may occur. In doing so, they generate terabytes of performance-related, real-time data. Analysis of this data is extremely difficult using traditional, one-dimensional test tools because problems are often buried amongst layers and layers of data.

Over the past few years, companies such as Splunk and SOASTA have emerged because their multi-dimensional capabilities enable testers to see several pieces of performance data on the same timeline and in a single view. These kinds of user interfaces allow for real-time resolution to problems such as performance for a growing number of leading companies.

Of course new problems arise as these problems are solved. The next generation will surely struggle with delivery of a stable user experience when application UIs are gesture-based, voice-based or even 3D. I will leave that question for another day. The bottom line is this: Minority Report has arrived. Is your team ready?


Tom Lounibos

About the Author

Tom Lounibos

As CEO of SOASTA, Tom brings more than 30 years of experience building early stage software companies, leading two companies to successful IPOs. Tom is a regular speaker at both cloud and testing events, and has become a leading advocate in using the cloud to empower individuals and accelerate changes in how applications are built, tested and deployed. Most recently, Tom served as President and CEO of Kenamea. Prior to Kenamea, he was CEO of Dorado Corp., a financial services software provider. Previous to Dorado, he was EVP of Sagent Technology through its 1999 IPO, entrepreneur-in-residence at Crosspoint Venture Partners, and held executive positions at Digitalk Corp., Knowledgeware (KWI) and Encore Financial Services. Tom also serves on several boards in the Silicon Valley.