I was reading a post on the Trends blog about The Smell of Success Grows Stronger and rethinking a related post I did a few weeks back about using more of our senses in application interfaces.
With the analysis described in the Trends post stating smell taps right into the limbic system, I can see a day when systems could move beyond the simple “beeps and bongs” and error dialogs that try to alert us -- those message that we are all too likely to just “click through” and ignore. Applications could release smells to both alert us to problems as well as reinforce continued effort when things appear to be going well. Scent could move beyond the domain of marketing. This would give a whole new meaning to stating an “application stinks”.
The article states:
“Because a scent can connect people with an event, person or thing, it can be a powerful tool for creating a mode. The challenge is that it’s an imprecise tool. Since people associate smells with different things.”
The interface would need to be customizable to the user’s culture and expectations, but this technique may focus attention in a way that would be difficult to ignore.