Zooming Interfaces

I really like the idea of Zooming Interfaces. I think they provide a better solution to having multiple documents/objects on the screen than the current overlapping-window pattern. The demo linked above has some pretty severe limitations, but even so I found it easier and more enjoyable to explore than a web site with a comparable number of documents on separate pages.

For a slightly wilder example, try Dasher, a keyboard replacement based on zooming letters. (The Java applet did not work for me on Firefox 1.5.0.6 on Windows.)

1 thought on “Zooming Interfaces”

  1. I agree. I really like the concept of zooming interfaces. However, the introduction to the first demo states that you would normally use right/left click to zoom in and out. How would that translate for the world of Mac (unless you purchase the 2-button mouse)?

    Also, it seems very easy to get lost navigating in and out all over the page. Makes me a little dizzy almost. Granted, it’s much faster than waiting for a new window to open, and much better than those times when you find out the link WON’T open. You can be certain the information will be there with zooming interfaces. But, it still strikes me as an idea that’s not quite finished yet. What if each document (or pic, or piece of data, or new page, etc) had it’s OWN zoom option? Instead of the entire page moving forward, what if each individual part zoomed in/out when clicked on, while the rest of the page stayed stationary? For instance: Let’s say there’s a page of pictures. You could click on one picture to zoom in, but the rest would remain the same size behind it; until you zoomed in on them.

    As for the Dasher concept. I think that’s brilliant. I especially appreciate that the program learns the common words of the user as it goes. After working for several years with people of all different disabilities, I’ve come to understand the necessity of something like this for people who have great things to say, but don’t have the luxury of easy communication.
    I don’t quite understand the idea of the multiple colors behind the words/letters. But I suppose everyone remembers their letters differently. And I have heard that some people associate different letters with different colors. That’s merely a guess though.
    All in all, as stated in the Dasher explanation, I can imagine that the program probablly really is “just like learning to drive a car”. Which isn’t bad at all. It could be learned quickly and easily, and to the benefit of many, many people.

    Thoughts?

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