Archive for the ‘innovation’ Category

Magic Ink


The ubiquity of frustrating, unhelpful software interfaces has motivated decades of research into “Human-Computer Interaction.” In this paper, I suggest that the long-standing focus on “interaction” may be misguided. For a majority subset of software, called “information software,” I argue that interactivity is actually a curse for users and a crutch for designers, and users’ goals can be better satisfied through other means.

#Information software design can be seen as the design of context-sensitive information graphics. I demonstrate the crucial role of information graphic design, and present three approaches to context-sensitivity, of which interactivity is the last resort. After discussing the cultural changes necessary for these design ideas to take root, I address their implementation. I outline a tool which may allow designers to create data-dependent graphics with no engineering assistance, and also outline a platform which may allow an unprecedented level of implicit context-sharing between independent programs. I conclude by asserting that the principles of information software design will become critical as technology improves.

#Although this paper presents a number of concrete design and engineering ideas, the larger intent is to introduce a “unified theory” of information software design, and provide inspiration and direction for progressive designers who suspect that the world of software isn’t as flat as they’ve been told.

Lots of good stuff here.

WinMobile 6.5’s honeycomb UI


Why Windows Mobile 6.5’s honeycomb menu is not just a “glorified grid”, rather, simple ingenuity

Several weeks ago, some pundits were quick to dismiss Windows Mobile 6.5’s honeycomb menu as a “glorified grid”, an Engadget editorial put it – “a sign that Microsoft has gone out of its way to avoid a grid”, but that’s what happens when misinformed “journalists” try to appear smart. The truth is, the honeycomb from a usability perspective is superior than traditional square grids for a touch interface. Here’s why.

Contrary to popular belief, the tip of human fingers is not squared, but in fact circle-shaped when depressed against a hard surface like a touchscreen. When you’re space-constrained as you are in something like the applications menu – where there’s a fine balance between how many icons can be displayed at one time and how easy it is to hit the icons, large circular hitareas makes it easier for users to touch the desired icons and avoid accidentally hitting nearby icons.

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How to kill Innovation