Zoomii: Google Maps -like interaction in a bookstore

1 Jul 2008 - 1:24pm
6 years ago
13 replies
946 reads
Petteri Hiisilä
2004

I just stumbled upon something pretty impressing:

Zoomii's bookstore uses a Google Maps -like interaction design pattern
to display Amazon's books in an impossibly big bookshelf that can be
zoomed in and out. You can fly to any shelf and pick a book. It works
inside a browser without plugins.

It's made by an individual called Chris Thiessen and funded by his
spouse. It's his "attempt to bring online as much of the real
bookstore experience as possible". To me his early attempt qualifies
as indistinguishable from magic.

http://zoomii.com/

What do you think?

- Petteri

--
Petteri Hiisilä
palvelumuotoilija /
Senior Interaction Designer
iXDesign / +358505050123 /
petteri.hiisila at ixdesign.fi

"In this island, everything happens for a reason."
- John Locke, LOST

Comments

1 Jul 2008 - 2:35pm
M S
2006

That's very interesting idea, I think.
Very nice implementation as well.

However it misses most important part of bookstore experience --
ability to go through pages, take a look at different sections and so
on (which is understandable because of all copyright stuff and so on).

Anyway, good food for thoughs.

Thank you Petteri!

--
Maxim

1 Jul 2008 - 2:38pm
ELISABETH HUBERT
2007

Overall I think it's a really cool idea. The shelf experience was so
similar to real life that I actually tried to flip through the books
like you can in a bookstore! It did take me a couple of seconds to
figure out how to navigate around to different section and how to
zoom into sections, but overall I like it!

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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2 Jul 2008 - 5:20pm
Alain D. M. G. ...
2003

I wonder where they get the book cover image. It's illegal in North
America (tnings might be different in the Bahamas or Luxemburg) to make
a wholesale grab of the ones that appears on Amazon pages and integrate
them within an interface.

That's how library service companies like Syndetics make money! They
make their own separate scan of the book cover (of a book they have in
legal ownership) and sell that thumbnail or big thumbnail (they have
different sizes) image to libraries which have more advanced on-line
catalogs that can integrate any image to the bibiographic record.

What would be really innovative and useful would be to have a denser
zooming interface like that, for a virtual bookstore or a virtual
library. It would be denser by showing scans of the spine of the real
books or book covers. Books in a library often have bland indistict
spines because the librarians take of the book cover, when it's a
hradbound book, or they might even add a new binding to a paprerback
book, thus erasing its colorful identoty. Showing a scan of the spine
of a hardbound book's removable cover or of the original colorful spine

of a paperboack or softback would give a distinct image (different
typefaces for title and author in additon to color) and it would make
for an extremely denser presentation than the cover dispay.

--- Petteri Hiisilä <petteri.hiisila at ixdesign.fi> a écrit :

> I just stumbled upon something pretty impressing:
>
> Zoomii's bookstore uses a Google Maps -like interaction design
> pattern
> to display Amazon's books in an impossibly big bookshelf that can be
>
> zoomed in and out. You can fly to any shelf and pick a book. It works
>
> inside a browser without plugins.
>
> It's made by an individual called Chris Thiessen and funded by his
> spouse. It's his "attempt to bring online as much of the real
> bookstore experience as possible". To me his early attempt qualifies
>
> as indistinguishable from magic.
>
> http://zoomii.com/
>
> What do you think?
>
> - Petteri
>
> --
> Petteri Hiisilä
> palvelumuotoilija /
> Senior Interaction Designer
> iXDesign / +358505050123 /
> petteri.hiisila at ixdesign.fi
>
> "In this island, everything happens for a reason."
> - John Locke, LOST
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

Découvrez les photos les plus intéressantes du jour.
http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days/

2 Jul 2008 - 9:25pm
Mark Canlas
2003

Parts of it I like, parts of it I don't like. At first I thought this was
all Flash. I don't think it is, so that's pleasantly surprising what you can
still achieve without it. On the other hand, while it may not be directly
the fault of the author, though still counts against him, the graphical
performance of everything just seems sort of drab. I prioritize
responsiveness and frame rate over all aspects in interactive designs, and I
find this one lacking because of that.

Also, it seems very reminiscent of Google Maps, with its grid-based
progressive JPEGs, which I find horribly primitive in their current
incarnation. I once had an art teacher tell me, when you make a
presentation, try to hide from the audience how your project is made. And
here, when the images are loading, all I can think of is "grid-based
progressive JPEGs", and it really sucks. I think a simple improvement to
that, for both Zoomii and Google, would be a parabolic/accelerated opacity
change from the less-detailed image to the more-detailed image. That would
give it a less jarring visual experience.

Otherwise, pretty cool idea.

On Tue, Jul 1, 2008 at 2:24 PM, Petteri Hiisilä <petteri.hiisila at ixdesign.fi>
wrote:

> I just stumbled upon something pretty impressing:
>
> Zoomii's bookstore uses a Google Maps -like interaction design pattern to
> display Amazon's books in an impossibly big bookshelf that can be zoomed in
> and out. You can fly to any shelf and pick a book. It works inside a browser
> without plugins.
>
> It's made by an individual called Chris Thiessen and funded by his spouse.
> It's his "attempt to bring online as much of the real bookstore experience
> as possible". To me his early attempt qualifies as indistinguishable from
> magic.
>
> http://zoomii.com/
>
> What do you think?
>
> - Petteri
>
> --
> Petteri Hiisilä
> palvelumuotoilija /
> Senior Interaction Designer
> iXDesign / +358505050123 /
> petteri.hiisila at ixdesign.fi
>
> "In this island, everything happens for a reason."
> - John Locke, LOST
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

3 Jul 2008 - 11:19am
James Nick Sears
2007

The brilliant thing about Google Maps for maps is that the infinite
drag and scroll technique is being used to display data that is
inherently 2 dimensional and infinite (if you consider flattened
projections and wrapping around the Earth, of course), so the
interface is a nearly optimal portal into the data that you want to
see.

On the other hand, there is nothing about a set of books other than
preexisting solutions based upon the limitations of the old physical
media (books on booksheves) that suggests a two dimensional layout.
It's simulating the reality of books in a bookstore, but it's
simulating something that ultimately is a non-ideality and an artifact
of physical books and shelves which has nothing to do with the
underlying information (what books are available that I might want to
read).

I think an "attempt to bring online as much of the real bookstore
experience as possible" is a flawed concept before the pencil ever
hits the paper. I don't want all of the real bookstore experience
online. I want a different experience that best leverages the
capabilities of being online. Are you going to make me wait in line
for 20 minutes to check out? Have a smelly homeless dude sleeping at
the end of the 3rd shelf of Mysteries/Thrillers? Not have half the
books I want? Make me slap on one of those Nike iPod pedometer gizmos
and simulate a walk to the store? Don't get me wrong, I love real
bookstores. But online bookstores have a lot of advantages, and of
course shortcomings as well. Trying to shoehorn a 100% real bookstore
experience into a web browser would mean maintaining all the
shortcomings of a brick and mortar bookstore and then topping that off
with all the shortcomings of an online store. Amazon is successful
not because it's a brick and mortar bookstore simulator but because it
offers an experience that strives to be better than a real bookstore.
In some areas it succeeds and in some it fails, but it leverages its
resources to create advantages over brick and mortar where possible.

Don't get me wrong, zoomii is kinda cool and I could see perhaps using
it to try to recreate the experience of aimlessly browsing through a
bookstore when I don't know what I want to read, but I fail to see how
it's anything other than less usable and less informative than a well
presented list of books (not to say I don't think there ever will be a
better browsing interface than a list, I just don't think this is it).
In other words, in my opinion, it's 99% eye candy.

-n.

On Tue, Jul 1, 2008 at 2:24 PM, Petteri Hiisilä
<petteri.hiisila at ixdesign.fi> wrote:
> I just stumbled upon something pretty impressing:
>
> Zoomii's bookstore uses a Google Maps -like interaction design pattern to
> display Amazon's books in an impossibly big bookshelf that can be zoomed in
> and out. You can fly to any shelf and pick a book. It works inside a browser
> without plugins.
>
> It's made by an individual called Chris Thiessen and funded by his spouse.
> It's his "attempt to bring online as much of the real bookstore experience
> as possible". To me his early attempt qualifies as indistinguishable from
> magic.
>
> http://zoomii.com/
>
> What do you think?
>
> - Petteri
>
> --
> Petteri Hiisilä
> palvelumuotoilija /
> Senior Interaction Designer
> iXDesign / +358505050123 /
> petteri.hiisila at ixdesign.fi
>
> "In this island, everything happens for a reason."
> - John Locke, LOST
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

3 Jul 2008 - 11:39am
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

Are the responses to this site just further proof that interaction designers
can't be happy with anything?

The learning curve is low, the experience is rich. It's enjoyable,
interesting, and engaging. It offers a search method so you can still find
books not showing, and even offers an easy way to jump to Amazon and get out
of the metaphoric space.

Sure, there are issues with smoothness and such, but it's not bad by any
means—it is a web browser, after all. And you know, learning the interface
is an enjoyable part of the experience in this case. Considering the
technical limitations of the modern PC and browser, this is a really great
piece of work.

I've probably seen 200 different experimental sites for displaying and
navigating the Amazon catalog, and this is by far one of the best.

-r-

3 Jul 2008 - 11:59am
James Nick Sears
2007

On Thu, Jul 3, 2008 at 12:39 PM, Robert Hoekman Jr <robert at rhjr.net> wrote:
> Are the responses to this site just further proof that interaction designers
> can't be happy with anything?

Of course. That's the first tenet of IxD, is it not? If users don't
like something, the problem clearly lies with the users.

Oh wait. Maybe I got that backwards.

-n.

7 Jul 2008 - 8:28am
Danny Hope
2008

On Tue, Jul 1, 2008 at 7:24 PM, Petteri Hiisilä <petteri.hiisila at ixdesign.fi>
wrote:

> I just stumbled upon something pretty impressing:
>
> Zoomii's bookstore uses a Google Maps -like interaction design pattern to
> display Amazon's books in an impossibly big bookshelf that can be zoomed in
> and out. You can fly to any shelf and pick a book. It works inside a browser
> without plugins.
>
> It's made by an individual called Chris Thiessen and funded by his spouse.
> It's his "attempt to bring online as much of the real bookstore experience
> as possible". To me his early attempt qualifies as indistinguishable from
> magic.
>
> http://zoomii.com/
>
> What do you think?

Rather than showing book details in a pop-up, it should be possible to
simply zoom closer for this information.

--

Regards,
Danny Hope
http://hobointernet.com
+44 (0)845 230 3760

7 Jul 2008 - 9:38am
Kristopher Kinlen
2008

The back button works with this site... brilliant! *clink*

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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11 Jul 2008 - 1:06pm
Torey Maerz
2008

So it was neat to use but would I use it to buy my next
book...probably not. I would rather see related books together or
other things like recommendations or comments which I feel Amazon
does very well hence I will go there instead.

If I could see "my bookshelf" and then get recommendations based on
that there is some value...but would probably rather have that in an
easier to consume list or something that I dont have to click a
million times to scroll around.

Forget the business idea...As far as the interaction, I think the
click and drag functionality is flawed. There is not enough "open"
area to click on when I want to move. A better interaction (since it
is moused based anyway) is probably to move around based on mouse
movement.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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11 Jul 2008 - 1:54pm
Peyush Agarwal
2007

Maybe this has already been articulated, but the whole concept of 'browsing' a store for a book site seems flawed to me. I can't remember the last time I browsed a bookstore looking to stumble on an interesting book (I love books, bookstores, and the general ambiance, however browsing a bookstore is a recreational activity for me, not a practical one). Usually I approach buying books as a goal-oriented task. I know what I want, or what kind of book I want, and so forth. Amazon's book-bundling, other similar books, reader feedback etc. are far more useful to me than the novelty of 'moving' digitally from shelf to shelf.

Sorry to say, it seems like a solution solving a problem I don't think I (or most book-buying people) have.

-Peyush

<So it was neat to use but would I use it to buy my next
book...probably not. I would rather see related books together or
other things like recommendations or comments which I feel Amazon
does very well hence I will go there instead.>

11 Jul 2008 - 2:19pm
Jeremy White
2008

About half the time I spend in a book store, even if I came for
something specific, I'm just browsing and hoping to come across
something good.

I liked how the back button allowed me to retrace my steps until I
realized my steps were pretty short. "Click click click click click
click click..."
Good alternative when you're just browsing. I've never done that
online before.

This won't replace going to bookstore to browse,
thjavascript:checkForm()
Post to Listough, because I can't flip through the pages.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=30949

13 Jul 2008 - 1:34am
jeclark
2008

This is a neat idea which has been better implemented (schematic.com),
but I don't believe it will revolutionize the online shopping
industry any time soon. Though searches on Amazon or half.com can
always give you a few lemons, the traditional text-based interface
lends itself to a quick scan. I was intimidated as soon as I entered
the site! Did I need to go through *every* shelf just to find what I
want? What were all of the categories they presented? Novel idea, but
made me think way too long on how to find what I was interested in.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=30949

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