Alert management:

JD points to Haystack, a client side data management interface, like central. The site has a paper called ‘UI continuations‘ which shows an interface for alerts that prompt the user for more info in a better way. One advantage of central is that it allows users to setup rules for routine tasks. It sends alerts which prompt for more information or present new information when a rule is satisfied. The current central interface can do better with a robust alerts interface. Even windows started off with basic bubble alerts. But upcoming Aero has a better alerts feature which supports storing, searching and categorizing of alerts.

Search stock photos by color:

A new type of search at IStockPro, where you can search for a stock photo by color. Via Jim Rutherford. If this service is mixed with the technique described in a previous post of mine, Colors in nature and interface design”, (interface skinning by sampling pictures) it would give on-demand themes for user interfaces. More stuff on color over at Sarah Allens blog.

Right degree of control for user interfaces:

One of the articles in the Aero UX guidelines deals with giving the right degree of control to users. “The rule of thumb is to put the user in control of tasks performed as part of regular activities and guide them through everything else.” It dosn’t talk about interfaces that do both, give control to frequent users and guide novice users through the easiest path. For example, the slides in a presentation can be seen by clicking the next button or by clicking on the navigation links. If I know the presentation well, I can follow my own navigation path and if I’m new to it, I’ll keep clicking the next button to follow the path the author thought was best. Similarly, loosely connected task based applications which give control to frequent users and also direct novice users are possible. The ‘blast’ feature in Central is a nice way to loosely connect task based interfaces. Update: Hillel Cooperman presented a talk on Aero User Experience, which a lot of ppl are saying is the best PDC presentation. The best summary I could find for it is over at Werner Vogels’ weblog. Hillel Cooperman the presenter and head of the msft user experience team has a blog called The Microsoft Experience.

The best of PDC:

Bill Gates keynote: The complete transcript.
Scott Hanselman’s summary: A quick overview of the keynote including all speakers
Aero user experience guidelines: 8 neat articles with detailed UX explanations
XAML: Application Markup language for Avalon for vector based interfaces
Jeremy Allaires summary of rich clients that can deliver vector-based, behaviorial interfaces, driven by XML user interface languages. Update: Sean Neville has an even better summary.
And here is a video of the cool Rich Client presented by Amazon CTO on Scott Hanselman’s blog.

Longhorn PDC Build 4051 screenshots:

The Register has an article on the newest PDC build longhorn build and points to Neowin which has lots of longhorn slate screenshots. Update: More videos and screenshots at Winsupersite.

How to innovate? Why not: The book

Rajesh Jain points to this interesting site which is a open-source idea collection. It has lots of ideas which solve common problems we face daily. It is the site for the book, “WHY NOT? How to Use Everyday Ingenuity to Solve Problems Big and Small” – by Barry Nalebuff and Ian Ayres. Some sample ways to innovate are according to the site are: Imagining how a consumer with unlimited resources would act. Forcing the cost of inefficient practices to the surface is another way to solve problems. Start with a solution from another context and searches for a problem it might solve somewhere else. Looking for potential symmetry and then turning things around offers unexpected solutions. More info with examples. HalfBakery is an other site on similar lines.

Interesting change blindness studies:

If you haven’t seen the change blindness videos, you’ve got to watch them. My favorite one is this one. “Change
Blindness is the inability to detect what should be obvious changes in a scene.” It’s amazing how we focus on certain parts and miss to notice many details from our surroundings. Via Jeffrey Heer. Prof. Stephen Intille presented a paper in Ubicomp2002 on how to use change blindness in Ubiquitous interfaces to reduce disturbance caused by continuously changing information. May be, central pods can learn from this research and change information in the pods slowly to prevent disturbance to the user. If you are interested in this years Ubicomp papers, here they are.

Zoomable UI’s:

After his “A GUI that doesn’t embrace linking can never be truly rich” post, John Udell points to the flash video demo of DateLens, a fisheye calendar. Zoomable interfaces are very intuitive, but it is difficult to interact with interfaces which zoom with mouse over rather than mouse down. Macintosh OS X Dock however gives nice ‘wow’ effect. Another similar calendar with a more polished look is Laszlo’s calendar. I would love to see Laszlo calendar in central. Wonder if Laszlo apps fit into central.

Cool concorde tour in flash:

BBC has a neat QTVR style tour of Concorde in flash with detailed voice descriptions. This is the only way you can peep into concorde as 23 October will be the last time it flies. It would be great if there were tools to convert pics to interactive QVTR presentations. I remember Scalado, which has tools to convert normal pictures into interactive presentations. I wonder if Royale can be used to generate stuff like this.

Free publicity via blogging:

If a company runs aggregators and gives hits to posts related to their product, it would encourage bloggers to blog more about their product.

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