Tag: User Interfaces

Good Ideas

Sometimes I feel like every time I come up with a good idea, I read about it somewhere else a week later. It least it’s nice to have some indication I’m not a raving lunatic. This time, A List Apart suggests Paper Prototyping, just what I was talking about a week ago.

LaTeX for the Rest of Us

I really like LaTeX. So much so that I bought a used copy of the original LaTeX “blue book” just so I could write a class file to print my freshman English papers in MLA format, which requires breaking most of the typesetting rules that make LaTeX output look so professional to begin with. But…

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Lodged Net

I just returned from a short vacation with a little business mixed in. On the third day of my trip, I realized I needed to check my email. My hotel had free in-room Ethernet connections, but I hadn’t thought to bring my laptop with me. No problem, I thought, since the hotel also had one…

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Down With Upper Case

Slashdot: War Declared on Caps Lock Key A good idea. And while we’re at it, let’s dump those silly Ctrl and Alt keys. Who uses them? F1 – F12 can certainly be abandoned, as well as that triumvirate of uselessness, Print Screen / Scroll Lock / Pause. Don’t get me started on Microsoft’s “Windows” and…

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Abstract Interfaces

Office 2003 uses a table of 1500 colors to render the user interface. That’s 1500 different colors designers have to choose for each color scheme. Overkill? Probably. But it says something about commercial software that sets it apart from most open-source software. Despite the greater theme/skin-ability of KDE, Gnome, and friends, open-source GUIs tend to…

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Finger-Painting on a Computer Screen

Another blog named Digital Digressions (nuts, and it looks like she used it first, too) points to a video demo of a touch screen with multiple contact points. This is the interface I want! Everything on the screen responds to touch. You can move things around, zoom or resize, stretch, pull, and “play” with objects…

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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…

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WriteRoom – Long Live the Console

Christian Neukirchen (A.K.A. Anarchaia) pointed out a Mac OS X app called WriteRoom (there’s a Windows twin called Dark Room). It’s a full-screen text editor with absolutely no word processing features. No bold, no italic, no paragraph formatting, just text. As the introduction says: Walk into WriteRoom and your busy computer life fades away. The…

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Consistently Inconsistent

Apple’s new Dashboard Widgets bother me. Not in a usability sense — they look quite useful, especially if they can be brought in and out of view quickly. What bothers me is that every widget looks completely different. Reading about user interfaces, the one clear mantra appears to be “consistency, consistency, consistency.” The Dashboard has…

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