The Design of Software (CLOSED)

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Have you seen this? (desktop-style UI)

We all know how the OSX toolbar grows depending on what you're hovering over.

Why can't user interfaces be designed like that?  What if the UI looks like a bird's eye view of an application, with all statuses indicators and inputs present (obviously menus & tabs would still be in your app, but they'd be flattened a bit).  When the user activates a text-box (via click or keyboard), that part of the frame grows to become clearer and a more significant part of the screen.  When a status indicator changes, that part of the frame grows to make it and it's relevant settings/or related statuses more apparent.

Now, I fully expect most of you to dismiss this with 'too much in one screen...', 'confusing to the user', 'need to have a Google-iPod UI', etc.  But consider that this would replicate people's actual interaction with papers on their (physical) desk top.

I think the most reasonable argument against this would be the complexity required to code it.  If I had a product, I'd sure consider implementing this.

I'm not smart enough to be the first to think of this. Who has seen an example of this?
Schragge Send private email
Thursday, February 02, 2006
 
 
Because that attribute sucks?

http://www.asktog.com/columns/044top10docksucks.html

In my opinion, such an interface feature is disorienting.
somebody else
Thursday, February 02, 2006
 
 
I think Windows Vista does that.
Skip
Thursday, February 02, 2006
 
 
Google had a little sample page up for a while, that worked like the Mac toolbar. It just had links to the various Google services.

I don't know if your idea would be good for everybody, but it might be an interesting product. Like, instead of a virtual desktop program where you switch between multiple pages, just shrink the whole desktop so it fits on your screen. Then when you click on one part of the screen (or maybe just move your mouse there), that part becomes larger (and the rest of the screen gets squashed into the remaining area).
JW
Thursday, February 02, 2006
 
 
One of the first things I do when I get my hands on a Mac is to turn that feature off.
clcr
Thursday, February 02, 2006
 
 
I'm with the others. Dock magnification is quite annoying, disorienting, and more of a novelty than anything. I could never imagine a whole interface magnifying - it'd be totally unusable.
Grayson Stebbins Send private email
Thursday, February 02, 2006
 
 
The DotNetBar UI component for .NET WinForms apps has a control that behaves exactly like the OS X dock. I'm not sure how anyone is using it, but thought that you might like to know about it. They have a downloadable demo.

As to text boxes and everything else magnifying, I think it would be harder to navigate because when one thing gets bigger it has to cover or move the others, which makes for a moving target.
--Josh Send private email
Thursday, February 02, 2006
 
 
Kyralessa Send private email
Thursday, February 02, 2006
 
 
Not quite the same thing but also interesting:

http://research.microsoft.com/news/monthlyfeature/datelens.aspx
Kyralessa Send private email
Thursday, February 02, 2006
 
 
Replicate people's actual interaction with papers on their physical desk top?  What, do you have magic paper?  My pieces of paper stay the same size.  I mean, I can certainly reorder my papers, but you are talking about toolbars growing, not being able to move them about.  :)
Chris in Edmonton Send private email
Thursday, February 02, 2006
 
 
I agree that feature is among the most annoying things I have ever seen.
Scott
Thursday, February 02, 2006
 
 
I like the OS X dock, but I too agree that applying the same principle to the toolbar (the strip across the top of your screen) would be a bad idea.

In the case of the dock, I'm doing one of two things only: launching a program or opening a previously closed window; and I can easily see which is which by its icon. It's a similar idea to having the Windows task bar minimizing/maximizing when you move the mouse pointer to the edge of your desktop.

In the case of a toolbar, I'm looking for a very specific command in a crowd of commands, and it better well be where I expect it to be.
TheDavid
Thursday, February 02, 2006
 
 
"When the user activates a text-box (via click or keyboard), that part of the frame grows to become clearer and a more significant part of the screen... Who has seen an example of this?"

It sounds similar to Jef Raskin ideas about Zooming Interface:

http://rchi.raskincenter.org/index.php?title=ZUI_Specification
http://jef.raskincenter.org/humane_interface/summary_of_thi.html
Peter Send private email
Friday, February 03, 2006
 
 
If I understand OP correctly, this is not similar to Raskin's zooming. In Raskin's UI zooming is never without a click from the user. Simply hoovering over something does not zoom, pan, etc.

Just my interpretation.
Karel Thönissen Send private email
Friday, February 03, 2006
 
 
Fixed link to USPTO:

http://tinyurl.com/7g3wd
Martin Karlsson Send private email
Friday, February 03, 2006
 
 
http://www.seadragon.net/

Take a look at their demo - what if you applied this technology to a toolbar?  (Stuff gets bigger and more in-focus / better resolution as you move over it)

FWIW, Microsoft is rumored to be buying these guys.

http://scobleizer.wordpress.com/2006/01/28/microsoft-buys-seadragon/
D. Lambert Send private email
Friday, February 03, 2006
 
 
My company http://www.idelix.com develops technologies along the lines of what you are describing. The general category of technologies is described as "detail-in-context viewing and interaction" and there has been a lot of research in the area, particularly in the last 10-15 years. If you want to find papers on the topic do searches for Sheelagh Carpendale or Carl Gutwin, both university professors who have been working on it recently.
Garth Shoemaker Send private email
Friday, February 10, 2006
 
 

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