My friend Lindsey sent me this link earlier on today. It’s a video exploring a future user experience concept, developed by Adaptive Path for Mozilla Labs.
Jill looks at the New York Times website
In the video Jill, the principal user, makes use of a number of futuristic interface devices to:
- Interact with a friend while browsing
- Extract and manipulate data sets from within websites
- Navigate through a vast collection of bookmarks using a 3D interface
- Migrate her browsing experience seamlessly from desktop to mobile devices
It’s a bit like MacOS X
I initially found myself wondering, is the future really going to look so much like Mac OS X? But looking past the visual treatment, there are some strong concepts here. I particularly like the ability to extract and manipulate data from web pages, the near-removal of the browser interface, and the utilisation of the 3D interface to convey the age of bookmarks.
That said, not everyone agrees with me – I’ve had a few conversations today about these ideas and there isn’t really a consensus among the people I’ve been talking to.
The Z-axis is used to convey the age of a bookmark
Is 3D ever really going to enter the mainstream as a means of web navigation? I’ve always been quite sceptical, to be honest. It comes down to incentive – if there’s a serious benefit to be had from learning unfamiliar and complex interfaces, then people will do it. People learnt how to use Myspace, after all!
So, what would have to happen to make us want to learn new, complicated, 3D web interfaces?
Well, the web (along with our own slice of it; our bookmarks, our browsing histories, our social networks etc) is on its way to becoming unmanageably large. Past a certain point, there may be a real benefit in migrating to more sophisticated – but more complex – interfaces.
The standard methods of searching and browsing may still be usable, but woefully inefficient; like running a modern computer with only a command line interface and no GUI. Achievable, but insane.
The web is growing exponentially – its size in five or ten years’ time could present us with unique problems and challenges. Some of the ideas in this concept video shed some light on how we might solve them. But what are those problems and challenges going to be? I’m probably more interested in them than I am in the solutions.