The Magic of UI Physics

Sean McDirmid

High-fidelity physics enhances user interfaces with realism that more closely engage users. However, indirect control of UI objects through physical forces interferes with direct control of the user experience, which limits the use of physics in productivity UIs. This paper demonstrates how UI physics should and can be enhanced with magic that violates physically consistent reasoning to allow for control over the user experience. We have found that magical forces such as teleportation, telekinesis, morphing, and lucky shots can be implemented in a straightforward way via a UI physics engine that supports direct constraints on positions. We demonstrate the compatibility of magic and high-fidelity physics by applying such a physics engine to a UI case study.