The Feliciraptor will grow up in a world where the most important texture is smooth glass. The touchscreen is becoming ubiquitous and will be the form factor that my child will be using to interact with the technology around her.
She will play on tablets and phones, and possibly never know that books can come in paper as well. She will be accustomed to something happening whenever she presses what looks like a screen, it will have to move as she expects or it will seem broke. Just as my generation seems to have an intuitive sense of how a computer mouse works the touch interface will just work because that’s how it works.
All of the baby books I’ve seen come with different fabrics and textures to encourage tactile discovery, identifying whether this is a monkey or not based upon a piece of fur or velcro. It seems to be important that a child learns what is soft (side note: newborns really are so smooth and soft) and what is bumpy.
Yet they all seem to be missing the most important factor of touch for a new baby today.
Tactile feedback will not be important, a keyboard that clicks and has raised keys will seem strange and buttons will just be coloured squares. I see children today operating such devices (the rights and wrongs about this are surely a topic in it’s own right) and I’m amazed at how naturally they interact with them. I’ve even heard stories of toddlers trying to press TV’s and computer screens expecting the same behaviour.
I’ve seen it, on a number of occasions The Feliciraptor has prodded the TV to try and select something, and most of the families tellies have smudges where her grubby hands have been. Touch is no longer about what it feels like for this generation, touch is for doing something.