There’s a reason your computer’s home screen is often referred to as its desktop. The user interface is designed to emulate a physical desk covered in documents and tools. That analogy doesn’t work quite as well with a smartphone’s tiny screen, but this concept UI that switches apps automatically as you physically move your phone around your desk is potentially a great solution—or just ridiculous. We can’t decide which.
Magic UX was created by Special Projects, a London-based design studio, to address and potentially solve the challenges of smartphones becoming as powerful and capable as full-sized computers, but still limited by a tiny screen that needs to be able to fit in your pocket. You can have three or four tasks open at the same time on your laptop, all sharing the same screen, but that’s just not going to happen on your smartphone.
What Magic UX does is reimagine your smartphone’s screen as a window into a larger workspace. Various apps can be pinned to different areas of the virtual desk, and the phone’s UI will automatically switch between them as the device is moved to those specific areas. Having to physically move your phone around may not sound easier than swiping your finger through a stack of open apps, but the potential appeal of Magic UX is how it makes common desktop functions—like dragging items between apps—possible on a mobile device.
As the video demonstrates, dragging a photo from a gallery of thumbnails into an email is as easy as tapping and holding it with a single finger, moving the phone to the email app, and then releasing. Is it the perfect solution to all the limitation of mobile apps like iOS and Android? Probably not. But it could certainly help make your smartphone a little less frustrating when trying to use it as more than just a way to crush candy.