Magic UX is exactly what it sounds like: Magical technology.
The concept, developed by U.K.-based consultants and design studio Special Projects, rethinks one of the biggest pain points with smartphone interfaces today: Multitasking and dragging and dropping between apps. For example, imagine you need to copy a web image into a Google Doc on your phone. First you press the image to pull up the contextual menu. Then click “copy.” Then flick the browser window aside to see your other apps. Then scroll through those apps to find Docs. Then click on it. Then navigate to where you want your image. Then pull up another contextual menu. Then, finally, click “paste.” Finally, you’re done.
It’s not an efficient or particularly well-designed series of interactions. Magic UX, on the other hand, leverages our biological talent for handling objects in physical space. It allows you to place your apps in real space around you using augmented reality. See how it works below:
That means I can “pin” my web browser to a space on my left and my Google Docs to its right. Moving the phone from one physical space to the other will automatically switch applications. I can actually see the app floating in front of me and once my phone is near it, it “magnetically” fits to my screen. It’s as if my smartphone is actually a portal into a desktop covered in different notebooks–which move with me as I go.
The same UX can apply to other use cases. If you’re confirming a date with friend, you can skip going back and forth between your conversation and your calendar and just move the phone between the message app space and the calendar app space. According to Magic UX’s developers, you can also “pin” different layouts to specific locations in your life. So if you’re at a cafe or your work desk, your virtual “workspace” will adapt to context.
Sadly, Magic UX is just a concept–but here’s hoping that one day a little magic dust will end up reaching the old-fashioned mobile operating systems of today.