Sunday, March 22, 2009

An idea: "Geographic" User Interface (GEOUI)

No its not a spelling mistake, I meant Geographic not Graphic.

This post is an attempt to reinvent GUI, or at least enhance it.

Graphic User Interface (GUI) is a great invention, but with more and more options, forms get crowded, users get confused, options are hard to find. Cody illustrates more of this here.

I will propose the Geographic User Interface (GEOUI) as a Sphere. This Sphere represents your application or operating system. Divide this sphere into sections for categorization purposes. Place the most commonly used (basic) options as icons on the surface of the sphere. The user has the ability to zoom to the sphere by using the scroll. He can also pan by holding the left click and drag the sphere. This way he can navigate through the sections.

When the user zooms to the sphere, more options start to appear, you may place the advanced options here (The scale concept). So if he is looking for an option in the Control Panel he will pan to the control panel section and just scroll up to find his option. Easy and simple.

Double clicking the icon will open the option. Now here you can switch back to GUI or create some nice way to represent your forms in the Sphere. You may want to open another Sphere but this will consume more RAM. (Edit: I proposed a new file system to achieve this, Read here for more details Geographic File System GeoFS)

The implementation is easy. If Google Earth is an open source I would remove the earth and replaced it with a white sphere leaving the rest of the tools as is.

Now I am going to add my options as placemarks with regions to scale them up. The user may want to change the color of the sphere. Thats it, the GEOUI is ready.

I already mentioned a hint about this idea in the Golden Spoon application post. I wanted to elaborate it more here.