This Super-Clean Smart Screen Puts a Newspaper on Your Wall
Sometimes no user interface is the best user interface
There’s something special about the layout of a print-edition newspaper. A news website has infinite vertical scrolling space, but a printed front page is fixed to the same size every day. This constraint creates a very particular aesthetic and — if done well — a sense of typographic balance.
I wanted to preserve this analog feeling and infuse it with the possibilities of smart home technology. That’s why I made Paper, a radically simple prototype that does exactly one thing: show today’s front page on a large e-paper display.
Sometimes no user interface is the best user interface. This project, even more so than Accent previously, was created in the tradition of calm technology. Paper easily blends into the background, because its screen doesn’t emit any light and the content changes quietly when no one is looking. The display is wall-mounted at eye height, and the nightly front-page update happens automatically, so the only user interaction is simply standing there and looking at it.
I’ve been using different versions of this prototype for about two and a half years now, and I usually read it while getting ready in the morning. It definitely and literally passes the toothbrush test for me.
Sometimes no user interface is the best user interface.
This project is not affiliated with the New York Times. While the concept isn’t tied to any particular publication, I picked the New York Times because it has an iconic print front page with an attractive headline typeface and is published in machine-readable high quality.
The latest prototype of Paper, shown in these pictures, combines a few ideas that I found to be important: For the print layout to shine, I used a display about as large as the unfolded actual paper. I also wanted it to lie as flat as possible against the wall and blend into the interior of my apartment. I didn’t want to add a large bezel, which would make it look like…