Zooming User Interface

From Academic Kids

A Zooming User Interface or ญญญZUI is a graphic environment and a radical but fairly evolutionary outgrowth of the graphical user interface, or GUI.

In zooming user interfaces, directories and programs are not displayed within windows, but are placed instead (in vectorial form, as vector graphics) directly on an infinite virtual desktop. Users navigate through the virtual space by panning left to right and up and down, as when one uses a video camera, and by zooming into objects of interest, as when one uses the zoom function in a video camera. At one point in the zooming process, an object of interest can look like a small speck, at another point it can look like a thumbnail of a page of text, and at still another point it can look like a normal size page, or a magnification of such a page.

The longest running effort at a ZUI has been over the Pad++ project started by Ken Perlin and Ben Bederson (http://www.cs.umd.edu/~bederson) at New York University and continued at University of New Mexico. After Pad++, Bederson developed Jazz and later Piccolo (http://www.cs.umd.edu/hcil/piccolo) at the University of Maryland, College Park, which is still actively being developed in Java and C#. More recent ZUI efforts include Archy by Jef Raskin, and the simple ZUI in the Squeak Smalltalk programming environment and language. Squeak is open source software.

The ZUI is the new interface paradigm which is receiving the most attention and effort in the contest to come up with a flexible and realistic successor to the traditional windowing GUI. However, since the total amount of investment in building a successor to the present GUI is rather small, the effort in developing ZUIs is proportionately modest. Each year, hundreds of millions of Dollars and Euros are spent on making small changes to existing GUIs (in desktop format or within Web delivery), while far less is spent on significantly new interfaces, and even less is spent developing ZUIs.

External links

  • Pad++ (http://www.cs.umd.edu/hcil/pad++/)
  • Piccolo (http://www.cs.umd.edu/hcil/piccolo/index.shtml)
  • Flash ZUI (http://www.2GoTo.com) Uses content from independent servers.
  • Relevare (http://www.relevare.com) A notably elegant implementation for web navigation.
  • Squeak.org (http://squeak.org/)
  • Squeakland.org (http://squeakland.org/)
  • Tactile3D (http://www.tactile3d.com/)
  • Archy (http://rchi.raskincenter.org/aboutrchi/index.php) The Raskin Center's Humane Interface
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