Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Non-Euclidean Browser UI

Category: Browsers, UI

The video above by Ron Brinkmann is his mockup of a non-euclidean browser UI which looks a touch like the magnifying glass tool on the iPhone, and aims to give you your data in a readable way, while still showing the larger context:

The reason why I think an interface like this can be superior in many ways is that it allows you to specify an area of interest where you get full, detailed information yet you can still see the full document/page/object at the same time. Which means that one is able to avoid the zoom(in/out)-scroll-zoom(in/out)-scroll paradigm that you often get stuck in when using, for example, the iphone. In many ways it gives the user an analogue to the way peripheral vision works in the ‘real world’. You have an area of interest that you can focus on but then you’re also aware of the surroundings and glean information from that as well.

(The mockup I did above just shows a single point-of-interest but it’s certainly expandable to multiple points if you’ve got a touchscreen or other such device. And there’s all sort of little refinements you’d want to implement if you really wanted to make it swank – drag&drop from one place to another might want to keep the source area zoomed but also follow the dragged object with a zoom-region until you get to the appropriate destination. This all gets even sexier once eye-tracking becomes more available – the area you’re looking at would bubble up to full resolution but you’d still be able to quickly scan the entire page and re-target the area of interest. Somebody get busy on this, okay?)

In his post, Ron then shows other subtle examples, such as mapping this to peripheral vision.

Posted by Dion Almaer at 6:16 am

2.7 rating from 42 votes


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nice idea, video almost freaked me out though.

…are your hands really that steady?


Comment by indiehead — October 15, 2008

Sorry to play the party pooper, but if one wants to sell old wine in new skins[1] then the skins should better be at least somewhat new. Apart from maybe doing some research on the subject and giving credit to the people who deserve it before showing off, the “author” e. g. could address some of the problems with nonlinear magnification, i. e. the distortion at the edges of the focus area.


[1] I did a concept design employing, amongst other things, nonlinear contextual magnification back in college several years ago – and even then the idea was not exactly new.

Comment by brsma — October 20, 2008

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