W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-device-apis@w3.org > December 2009

Re: UI for enabling webcam use from untrusted content

From: Robin Berjon <robin@robineko.com>
Date: Tue, 8 Dec 2009 19:15:28 +0100
Cc: public-device-apis@w3.org
Message-Id: <6DF30EAA-484F-4C60-89B5-1296B7408B02@robineko.com>
To: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
On Dec 8, 2009, at 18:39 , Ian Hickson wrote:
> 4. Infobars
>   +-----------------------------------+
>   | [] [] [_http://www.example.c_] [] |
>   | +-------------------------------+ |
>   | | Bla bla  (Enable Webcam) (No) | |
>   | +-------------------------------+ |
>   | | Bla bla     (Enable Mic) (No) | |
>   | +-------------------------------+ |
>   | |                               | |
>   | |  To start the video chat,     | |
>   | |  activate your camera.        | |
>   | |                               | |
>   | +-------------------------------+ |
>   +-----------------------------------+
>   Cons: - Doesn't scale to multiple devices.
>         - Users will enable devices they didn't intend to, since they 
>           likely won't read the prompts.
>         - No on-screen indicator of active device use.
> Anyone got any better ideas?

A quick few notes, I've been thinking along similar lines.

First: distinguishing audio and video is sort of a geek approach to things. In my experience users think in terms of Pictures (just a visual snapshot with no sound), Sound (nothing visual), and Video (moving visuals *and* sound). I think that the UI could reflect that, and offer audio+video as a single "device" to select (possibly with advanced options for people who don't just want to pick the webcam and its integrated mic).

Another related note: how many "devices" (by which I mean things that the user perceives as possibly grouped) are we likely to ever want to enable simultaneously? Think in broad categories, we might end up with Input (AV) + Location + Sensors for a full-fledged Augmented Reality app — that's not so many. Again, since this is a UI discussion, I would expect (with the caveat that naturally I haven't lab-tested any of this) that a user might care about showing her picture but not disclose her location, but if sensors are okay wouldn't mind if it's temperature and wind velocity or just ozone concentration.

The approach I've been mulling over is an enhanced infobar of sorts. If the author requests Video (in the AV sense) you get a regular infobar and have to drag (or perhaps just click the icon) of the AV abstract device. There can be a little ▾ next to the icon providing further options to select a specific input amongst many, or disable parts of it if it's a conceptual device grouping many. If discarded, the bar goes away. If accepted, it sticks in a form that shows that same icon with an active Rec symbol and the appropriate affordance to turn it off (including turning it off temporarily, i.e. muting). If a further device is requested while one is active, and it is also a device that needs to be continuously shown, then the infobar+ appears below the "devicebar", but activating a device closes it and the device's icon moves up to the devicebar (possibly with an animation).

It's a little convoluted to explain, but I think it would be reasonably straightforward to understand visually as the devicebar would appear only upon device activation, would stay only so long as there are active devices, and extra devices clearly get added to it. Assuming it's possible to grant permanent access to a page/origin, the devicebar would reappear. The more I think of it the more that's actually something I'd like to already have for Location.

If anyone feels like scaring up a mockup and a lab test, I'm all ears :)

Robin Berjon
  robineko — hired gun, higher standards
Received on Tuesday, 8 December 2009 18:15:57 UTC

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