Journal: News & Comment

Friday, June 23, 2006
# 10:29:00 AM:

BumpTop and new user interactions

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Tony pointed me to this video of BumpTop, a prototype pen-based user interface from the University of Toronto that, as he put it, could be "taking the desktop metaphor too far."

I'm not so sure. The mouse-icon-desktop metaphor we use on computers now has changed little since the first Lisa and Macintosh computers nearly 25 years ago. Apple Computer and others investigated the concept of piles of icons (hello? Bruce Tognazzini, famous interface design expert? how about a putting a date on your web page from 2000?) in the '80s and '90s, but abandoned it. BumpTop tries again.

It might indeed be taking the realism a little far, but I think the spatial concepts could help make UI interaction more efficient now that computing horsepower can handle it. Whether it could work well with a mouse rather than a pen is another question. But it would be fun to try out, and I'd like to see whether any of these concepts make their way into everyday computing in the next decade.

(Cross posted to the Navarik blog.)


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