Sweeeet…Apple’s new iPod.

The most interesting thing to me is the method of interaction. On the front on the iPod, there is a jog dial which affords continuous interaction (bear with me, I’m making up terminology here).

To navigate around the iPod’s menu system, you roll the dial with your thumb. It looks like rolling it clockwise moves the menu down, while rolling the dial counter-clockwise moves the menu up. Selecting an item is done with a large button in the center of the jog dial. You can see how it’s done in this iPod commercial.

Here’s my definition of continuous interaction: A single fluid human motion which achieves the same result as multiple discreet interactions.

For example: while reading a long web page, you could either scroll by dragging the scroll bar (continuous interaction) or you could press the down arrow over and over and over and over (discreet interaction).

Including an interface for continuous interaction in your product seems like an easy way to improve a user’s experience with your product – if for no ther reason than discreet interactions are tedious.

My mobile phone suffers from overly discreet interaction. It takes way too many clicks to get anything done.

Obviously, this isn’t a new idea, but is it new terminology? Please post your thoughts.