Spike Jonze's Her, despite its bizarrity and familiar tropes, has always been a pleasure for me to watch. Joaquin Phoenix killed his role as the reserved Theodore, not surprisingly given Phoenix's great talent.
However, this movie is from 2013 and coming upon four years of age at this point; old and out of public consciousness but not near senile enough to regain traction from critics and joe-schmoes alike. There is a reason, though, why this movie has introduced itself among my daydreams consistently for the past few years. Not chief among them was the narrative regarding Samantha; but, this essay is not going to concern itself with that aspect because it was already significant enough for me to write a couple words concerning it almost two years ago. There, I made a prediction regarding the future of Apple's Siri on the desktop, emulating the film's experience with Samantha. It looks like Apple has finally decided to do exactly that.
Enough doting on AI and its pleasant, ephemeral female voices. I want to discuss Her's design; the interest and enthusiasm for writing about this topic has kept me foaming at the mouth for weeks now. The UIs look and feel so natural, not only to Theodore and his compatriots, but also to the audience's piercing gaze. Especially striking are the various extensions of the common desktop metaphor, popularized way back in 1984 with the introduction of the Macintosh. The film's graphic designer, Geoff McFetridge, chose a distinctively handmade aesthetic for the film's interfaces. For example, take a peek at Theo's letter-authoring machine, the entire design looks almost like Grandma's craft table .
 An inviting interface provides heaps more affordanceThe key to the film's UI success is best illustrated by McFetridge himself: “I like the idea that you feel the thing you're looking at, someone made that, there's some authorship to it.” This design language elevates not only the computer's aesthetic, but also its accessibility, to an entirely different level. This approach of his is one step in the right direction, towards a very haptic sense of human-computer interaction. McFetridge attempted in the movie to illustrate the potential of haptic design by redefining for the viewer what a common desktop could look like. Unfortunately, he went no further and stuck with the common visual-audio paradigm. I would've been beyond impressed if Theodore were able to more easily touch the machine, whereby his senses would find more stimulation beyond the norm.
 A more defined view of the OS's minimal windowing systemIn addition, with more choices for accessibility (Samantha's voice, for example), the interface must be designed to facilitate the intended interaction. Unfortunately, since today's desktops are centered entirely around sight, it makes primarily audio navigation a bit clunky. Despite the existence of invaluable screen readers such as JAWS, the computing experience for the blind is sorely lacken. Now, take into account both the deaf and blind, then we arrive at a difficult crossroads. Though there are braille displays whom the aforementioned group could greatly benefit from, they are still pigeonholed by operating systems which behave on a visual-first paradigm. I can only dream of the computers of the far future where sight, sound, and touch (maybe smell too?) are all involved equally in creating a symbiotic human-computer interface.