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

Re: UI for enabling webcam use from untrusted content

From: Anssi Kostiainen <anssi.kostiainen@nokia.com>
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 2009 18:49:16 +0200
Cc: "public-device-apis@w3.org" <public-device-apis@w3.org>, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Message-Id: <13202E2E-B45B-4077-8D27-85F1015B5C4F@nokia.com>
To: ext Kenton Varda <kenton@google.com>
On 10.12.2009, at 5.44, ext Kenton Varda wrote:

> I'd also like to suggest a design #5 (sorry, no ASCII art):  The web  
> page could have a box which is a "socket" for a web cam (or  
> whatever) device.  If you click on (or maybe hover over) the socket,  
> the browser will pop up a box suggesting devices that could be  
> connected to this socket, but advanced users should also be able to  
> drag and drop devices other than the suggested ones.

To make this more concrete (also works with #2 and #3) the UA could --  
once the box is popped up -- show a live viewfinder preview in the box  
beside the device icon once the user hovers on top of it. The preview  
image should indicate that the device is not yet "recording" e.g. by  
graying out the image. This would enable the user to see the actual  
camera output prior to accepting the capture request which should make  
the potential action more concrete. Additionally, in a multi-cam  
scenario (e.g. many mobile devices have multiple cams already today)  
this would help the user to pick the right cam based on visual  
observation only (thus no need to know the actual name of a particular  
camera such as primary, secondary etc.).

[One can play with iSight and Photo Booth or equivalent to simulate  
this scenario to some extent.]

> The metaphor here is of hooking up devices physically.  If I want my  
> iPod to be able to play music to my head phones, I plug my  
> headphones into the iPod's audio output socket.  If I'd rather that  
> it play to my stereo, I hook that up instead.  Everyone understands  
> how this works in the physical world.  Can we extend this to virtual  
> space as well?

> A file-access <input> allows you to select a file to open.   
> Similarly, a webcam <input> should allow you to select a web cam to  
> connect to.  Not only does this create the possibility of having  
> multiple cameras, but I think it forces the user to think about what  
> is happening.  A dialog box that simply says "OK to use web cam?"  
> will probably get reflexive "yes" clicks, but one saying "Choose a  
> web cam to use: [list]" will, I think, force the user to realize  
> what they're doing.  And if they don't want to think about it,  
> they'll probably click "cancel", thus avoiding giving away  
> capabilities they didn't intend.

IMHO #2, #3 or #5 + above live viewfinder preview could be very  
intuitive to most users. Perhaps following the user centered design  
principles (create a prototype, test with actual users) could help us  

Received on Thursday, 10 December 2009 16:48:42 UTC

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