Ideas and Communication

Features which are there in word, excel andpowerpointeditor are available everywhere.. So if you are writing me en email through safari, you can still send me rich formats.. you don’t need to open any application to write CV quality letters. And adding more features to the system is not installing application.. In other words, to add a different capability to the system, we don’t need to write a specialized application, with its specialized command structure, but rather leverage the commands that already exist and add any news ones that might be required. its just adding one more command to the system. Say for example, our computers don’t have application to keep windows on top.. either we can install some software to do that.. or what this guy is saying “OS is powerful enough to give this feature. Add this as a command and user will just press “Ctrl + Alt + T” to keep the windows on top.
Zooming will also be the inherent part of our system. The hardware and software will be capable of handling such features. What problem is highlighted in above paragraph is “understanding how can zooming be used for more than just viewing pictures! It’s a challenging question.. few solution can be making interface such that zooming takes you to certain areas which otherwise will not be accessible. But one thing we must realize.. zooming in and out is fun only for the first half and hour.. then it becomes cumbersome. So design should be such that system zooms in for more data.. not the user.
You might have seen “geek” who neverteldto use mouse.. specially those who are working withlinux.. for everything they will open theirconcoles.. and type in command there.. WhatJefis saying here is. Archy was designed to be addictive. It grows onto you. Especially when you realize that you are saving a lot of time and the system is giving you much higher degree of control.. In general Control means lot of commands, which would mean cluttered menu icons. Archy was language based. So if you remember the commands, you can take those icons away. But here comes the problem, how can I expect a normal user to remember those commands. Here we wish to solve this problem by giving the user minimal set of features through menus and icons and other set is either hidden oracceblethrough Ubiquity kind of system. To understand what I mean by Ubiquity, you need to go through this link http://labs.mozilla.com/2008/08/introducing-ubiquity/ I would suggest installing latestfirefoxand have a bit of understanding how it works
Here is an example.. a research found out that we all have a reading pattern of “F” We glance through the text from left to right and then quickly move down on the left edge to see what else is interesting. So, would that mean, if I keep interesting links on the left side of the page, there is a higher chance that user might actually go through it? The study suggested yes. Now this result came from the statistical analysis of movement of eyes of people while they are reading text. This is Quantitative analysis.
One more example would be to figure out what is the minimum dimension of icon which a user can click using his fingers. This is also experiment based. And a very important study for us. So, do you really think that those people who are developing applications foriphoneare actually doing these studies and experiment before they make anything? My guess would be, they are not. And this is whatAzais saying. People who are designing application are not figuring out human psychology and information theory to design user interfaces.
I don’t know what he told you. But this is what I told him. Our system is going to be a mix of GUI andLUI(language user interface) Now we don’t expect user to learn the language commands, so we want to introduce a tool which will help him either learn, or present “options” to do a task. Again here, the idea of ubiquity comes to my mind. Suppose I want to stop the wireless on my device and I have not given any physical key. The command user will think is simple “Stop Wireless” Ubiquity (now on we will call this system GEN) can take inputs in the form of text. So when we type Stop on Ubiquity (GEN) it suggests you with the available options. And as soon as we type W in the box, GEN (ubiquity) will suggest options starting with W and there we go.
Now GEN has to be intelligent enough to understand that if a user is going through the same process for a task for a number of times, the way of achieving that task should be made easier. Solution? What about wireless now coming on top of the ‘W’ list. Or what about giving it a finger gesture which user can choose? Now here comes what we discussed in the earlier box. Doing experiments (Quantitative analysis) to understand what suits the user (human psychology) better.
People have done a lot of research in figuring out better ways of visualizing the information. But none of the new platform is being accepted by the general mass.. and still we are stuck with the normal page views.
There is something interesting here. Every patent has a life. We don’t own patents for long. In general all the patents which were there with big companies like MS, Adobe, Apple have been outdated. And there are better ways to implement same ideas. We patent the way of accomplishing that idea, not the ideas itself. Its like making the cure for AIDS. We cannot patent the idea that there can be a cure for AIDS. There are lot of open source application which without getting into the patent issues have come up with either same or better solution.. GIMP is a goodlinuxphoto editing software example. Its available for windows as well now.
Open source wave is going to help us a lot. Nearly everything has (in some cases better) its clone in Linux which is completely open. But what we need to do here is focus in what should be given to user as minimal set (though rich) of features. And then force our programmers to enable them.
“bloatware???
Bloatware is a software which is packed with excessive controls and consumes a lot of space.. WindowsXPis a perfect example. You remember the ideal office I was talking about in my presentation.. that’sbloadware.. you have every control with you, but you don’t know what to do with it.
Do you really think the features which MS office or Excel provide needs special software? Think how is the text managed when you see title bars, task bars, when you get error screens, when you get notifications for updates. Everything is already built into the system. But. Not enabled. Just to sell one more software. Now if you keep doing that, you are increasing redundancy. Increased memory space (2-3softwaresfor what is already built in OS), more time consuming (since now each software developer has to come up with neverUIfor his software, menus, ways of interacting with OS, etc).
What would the other system which we are designing would do? It would reduce the redundancy, reduce the memory space consumed, increase usability and reliability. Agreed?
I think we cannot do away with the menus. But for now, we can hide them. If you have downloaded and usingTextFlowsoftware, they have a very cool alternative of menu bar. But yes they do have menu, its just different. Its only accessible when you need it. And that what I think is important.
The problem of adoption is the solution itself. If the solution we provide is in the endcomples, andun-intuitive, people are not going to adopt. By separating ourselves from saying we are making computers, we take away the user’s expectancy of giving a windowsXPas OS. WhichEEEPC does. But does it really solve the problem of mobility?
What is mobility? For us mobility is being able to use it anywhere, and everywhere. For as long as we want. Our hardware gives us this feature. It can run for days, not hours. And we believe in the form-factor we are providing is a better solution for mobility clause. You cannot use laptops when you are standing. We want Adam to be used as a notepad. As a book. You can read the novel, which you might have written. We don’t want you to go out to laptops and PC to do editing of that same novel. You might be travelling in metro reading and figuring out, oops.. there is an error, you edit it right there. If you wait till you go back home, half the ideas will be lost.
Its a huge challenge for the established players to bring changes for which they need to re-adjust. Re-adjusting is risky, costly and leads to unknown futures. Quite understandable. And if you prevent these changes, that’s called monopoly. This is what is going on since long time. How many players were there in 2005 for editing documents? MS Word, that’s it. Its changing. We are not the only one who is going to change it. There are others. But we don’t know who is destined to succeed in achieving. And hence yes it’s a risk, but a risk if gets paid off, there is quite a possibility that our discussions are mentioned in history.
May beRaskinis talking about us. If you search theinternet, you wont find people working on this exact concept. Cos its difficult. Even we wont apply this concept to the fullest. There will be applications on ADAM. Raskin’s system is monopolistic. With which I don’t agree. Windows 7 is out and so is newer Mac OS X. Have you seen any soft of integration of applications with them? No. Why not? Same reason. It will take out the profit that are making using other applications likeiworks.
For us what is more important is bring in the change. Telling people that what they were using since long wasn’t exactly the way they should have been. We will tell them that the concept of OS was flawed. But in our case, intuitiveness is the main solution for adoption. Intuitiveness is just the conformity from the user’s perspective that the device has more potential than what he thought before. Other word for intuitiveness would be assumptions. If users have right assumptions for ADAM, we will get what we are seeking.
Following is the conversation between 2 of our friends while doing some research on Interface.
It’s a conversation, and parts of it, so expect break in flow of ideas and unexpected topics being discussed.
Features which are there in word, excel and powerpoint editor are available everywhere.. So if you are writing me an email through safari, you can still send me rich formats.. you don’t need to open any application to write CV quality letters. And adding more features to the system is not installing application.. In other words, to add a different capability to the system, we don’t need to write a specialized application, with its specialized command structure, but rather leverage the commands that already exist and add any news ones that might be required.  its just adding one more command to the system. Say for example, our computers don’t have application to keep windows on top.. either we can install some software to do that.. or what this guy is saying “OS is powerful enough to give this feature. Add this as a command and user will just press “Ctrl + Alt + T” to keep the windows on top.
Zooming will also be the inherent part of our system. The hardware and software will be capable of handling such features. What problem is highlighted here is “understanding how can zooming be used for more than just viewing pictures! It’s a challenging question.. few solution can be, making interface such that zooming takes you to certain areas which otherwise will not be accessible. But one thing we must realize.. zooming in and out is fun only for the first half and hour.. then it becomes cumbersome. So design should be such that system zooms in for more data.. not the user.
You might have seen “geek”  who never use mouse.. specially those who are working with linux.. for everything they will open their consoles.. and type in command there.. What Jef is saying here is. Archy was designed to be addictive. It grows onto you. Especially when you realize that you are saving a lot of time and the system is giving you much higher degree of control.. In general Control means lot of commands, which would mean cluttered menu icons. Archy was language based. So if you remember the commands, you can take those icons away. But here comes the problem, how can I expect a normal user to remember those commands. Here we wish to solve this problem by giving the user minimal set of features through menus and icons and other set is either hidden or accessible through Ubiquity kind of system. To understand what I mean by Ubiquity, you need to go through this link http://labs.mozilla.com/2008/08/introducing-ubiquity/ I would suggest installing latest firefoxand have a bit of understanding how it works
Here is an example.. a research found out that we all have a reading pattern of “F” We glance through the text from left to right and then quickly move down on the left edge to see what else is interesting. So, would that mean, if I keep interesting links on the left side of the page, there is a higher chance that user might actually go through it? The study suggested yes.  Now this result came from the statistical analysis of movement of eyes of people while they are reading text. This is Quantitative analysis.
One more example would be to figure out what is the minimum dimension of icon which a user can click using his fingers. This is also experiment based. And a very important study for us. So, do you really think that those people who are developing applications for iPhone are actually doing these studies and experiment before they make anything? My guess would be, they are not. And this is what Aza is saying. People who are designing application are not figuring out human psychology and information theory to design user interfaces.

3 thoughts on “Ideas and Communication

  1. I am going to read this. Decided to go back and read all blog posts to ease my wait for my Adam Pre-order!!!!!

  2. This post looks really weird in Google Reader. Like, it does things that I don’t think RSS feeds should be able to d.

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