Apple is about to introduce exciting new updates to the iPhone OS, but before that happens, I want to take a moment to call out an impressive UI innovation associated with the newest iPod Shuffle. No, not the proprietary headphones or Voice Over. The innovation I’m referring to is the Guided Tour video on their website.

It starts out like many other Guided Tours available on the Apple website. A suspiciously polished-looking “store employee” stands in front of a white background and steps you through all of the wonderful features; not much different than every other product video on

Shuffle Guided Tour

But then the video gets interesting. The new Shuffle’s headset uses click, double-click and click-and-hold to issue commands like play, pause, forward, back, etc. to the buttonless device. Enter the design challenge (for the video producers): How do you visually demonstrate a tactile interface?


Like a ripple in a pond, a green ring emanates from the point of click. What about double-click?


Two ripples. Notice how the intensity of the rings dissipates over distance and time. Now the topper. What about click and hold?


Cool, huh? The thickness of the ring elegantly indicates the duration that the button needs to be held down. It’s almost as if there’s an invisible sheet of plastic that gets flexed and relaxed.

This video is yet another example of Apple’s end-to-end commitment to user experience. Even their instructional videos are innovative. Well done, Apple.

Watch the iPod Shuffle Guided Tour