refreshing alternatives?

29 Apr 2005 - 3:39pm
9 years ago
1 reply
619 reads
kjnarey
2004

Just to share in a little musing. Sorry if you've seen/commented on them
before.
This navigational mapping paradigm may well become more prevalent in high
volume data displays.

http://www.visualthesaurus.com

....and whilst the following is completely different in the majority of
aspects it's an interesting use of flash...

http://www.thephaeton.co.uk/universe/index.php

I'm fond of the 3D plane usage in this, although I felt like I lost the
narrative and content context as a result. Thoughts?

Kevin

Comments

2 May 2005 - 9:14am
Petteri Hiisilä
2004

kjnarey wrote:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant
> quoted material.]
> Just to share in a little musing. Sorry if you've seen/commented
> on them before.
> This navigational mapping paradigm may well become more prevalent
> in high volume data displays.
>
> http://www.visualthesaurus.com

I've found http://www.liveplasma.com/ to be a great way to explore new
bands. Try it if you haven't yet.

> ....and whilst the following is completely different in the
> majority of aspects it's an interesting use of flash...
>
> http://www.thephaeton.co.uk/universe/index.php
>
> I'm fond of the 3D plane usage in this, although I felt like I
> lost the narrative and content context as a result. Thoughts?

The concept works well for the campaign, I believe. And the Phaeton is a
nice car, if I just could afford one :)

But I'm lost with the navigation. Actually way too lost to use it. I
ended up pressing zoom until I hit the bottom and didn't want to figure
out what other threads are left.

The interface is based on the same idea as the Zoom interface in Raskin
Center:

http://rchi.raskincenter.org/aboutarchy/img/zoomdemo.swf

Beware, that's eight megabytes. But it works quite fast with my gaming
PC. I'd love to see Yahoo implemented like that!

Back to Phaeton site:

For explorability's sake zoom&pan buttons may be visible, but it would
make sense to co-support the same navigation as all the 3D computer
games have had since the beginning of time: mouse point, keyboard to
move. In this case moving forward = zoom. They should include both
cursor keys and the standard other keys for movement:

W
A D
S

A or left = left
D or right = right
W or up = zoom in
S or down = zoom out

That would work with the Phaeton site. The left side of the keyboard is
more ergonomic for those folks who are comfortable with computer gaming.

If the Y axis is needed too, then W and S should go up and down, and
mouse wheel would zoom in/out. Mouse cursor is free to point and select.

Now whatever the user tries, it always works in a more or less familiar
or intuitive way.

Actually I do sometimes "hide" alternative navigation or activation keys
to my designs. If the user could try the alternative B, because he is
accustomed to it in another environment, it "just works too". For many
problems there are two good solutions. When the alternative comes almost
free with the default solution, I write it in the spec. It doesn't hurt
anyone, but will help someone. The case above is a prime example.

It's a known secret, that some CPU chip designers hide little smiling
faces or other micro-messages on the silicon. Do you folks do similar
things? Any secret key combinations on software that we all use?!?

Best,
Petteri

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