Graphics, conventions, and orientation (to the UI mechanics)

[I am sending this separately to GL and to UA - Al]

Two ideas:

1.  I am concerned that too much attention is being focused on icons or
symbols, graphical mnemonics for items or atoms.  The real genius of the
graphic plane is its ability to display multiplayer situations:
constellations of items or atoms.

In terms of our ability to understand graphic language that non-readers can
comprehend, we need to be looking at the relational cues that show how the
depicted items relate to one another.  For example, the navigation frame,
whether top right left or bottom, is always immediately within the border
of the total frameset rectangle.  It is there to provide contextualization
glue; so it is placed topologically between the environment of the browse
window and the specific content that defines the logical "here."

2. I was struck by the idea that scrollbars can be an insurmountable
cognitive hurdle.  Of course when they were new there was a lot of flapping
caused by the confusion factor that when the control moves up, the
controlled stuff moves down.  Nowadays we don't give it a second thought.
But that is just because is is part of our culture; the stuff we do by
reflex and forget we ever had to learn.  But there are people for whom this
molehill is a mountain and rather than a speed bump, it is an impassable

In terms of a fix, I think that maybe the UI for the nonreader should
borrow from the art tool conventions.  This is the cursor pallette.  The
user overtly goes to an agent selection pallette, picks what kind of
operations they want to have associated with the cursor, and then moves the
cursor through the displayed view to associate the tool/role that the
cursor has picked up to objects in the scene to operate on them.  For
example, a 'speak' tool for controlling the voicing of text.  This to me is
how to apply graphics to make the interaction processes comprehensible.
Use the move-it hand rather than scroll bars to reposition the viewframe.

Just as with adaptation for the single-switch user, we are here dealing
with the styling of user command input and its integration with the display
channel, and client-side profiling of that styling from a profile-generic
articulation of what is there that can be done.


Received on Thursday, 15 July 1999 11:42:53 UTC