Exploring a possible interface

“If you want to get this project off the ground, you have to make it as practical as possible”, a friend replied, after I announced that I was planning Wictures. At first, I had no clue what he really meant, so I asked him straightaway. And indeed, I think he has a good point here. One of the success criteria will be the ease-of-use to post notes. Let’s elaborate on this a bit further.

Seen from a broader perspective it’s all about the real-time web. Often when we want to share on the web, it needs to happen fast, simple and instant. This applies easily for a journalist who wants to publish an article. For Wictures, the flow of editing notes during a lecture/discourse needs to happen smoothly. Actually, we are confronted with this reoccurring pattern quite a lot. We need to be able to quickly enter and navigate content. Therefore, the interface should be in line with the user’s expectations. Consider the following examples.

Facebook allows you to easily add new content and attach images, videos. You can even post a new event. It’s very intuitive and a one-stop shop for various content types.

The same goes for Twitter, which displays a simple box which allows you to insert up to 140 characters.

Look how Posterous and Tumblr have made blogging effortless.

WordPress has a “QuickPress” section on its Dashboard which basically allows you to post new content in an efficient and fast way. It is dead simple.

And finally, see how Microsoft Office‘s One Note tacles notetaking and makes it as intuitive as pen and paper.

Now that we have explored interesting interfaces to tackle several design problems, we also want to look at what the future might bring us. For example, it is being said that within three years our desktops will be irrelevant, but will we be able to kick our keyboard addiction? Devices grow smaller, are more connected and integrated in our environment. As a consequence, technology disappears into our surroundings until only the user interface remains perceivable by users. In an Ambient Intelligence world, devices work in concert to support people in carrying out their everyday life activities in and easy, natural way using information and intelligence that is hidden in the network connecting these devices. No wonder that concepts such as the Internet of Things introduce new challenges to the HCI field.

After analyzing interface requirements for Wictures, I come up with the following. They might not be true interface features, but they are to be taken in consideration when implementing the interfaces. First of all, during the editing progress, content should be automatically saved every x seconds. Another requirement would be the ability to collaborative editing during notetaking. Of course, you should also be able to track you editing progress. Finally, wiki formating should be supported as well. And everything should be dead simple because in a changing environment, one must be able to adapt quickly (e.g. think about toggling extra options and so on).

As always, there are still some open questions. Will we allow posting through e-mail? Will a post be published by default or in draft modus? If you have an answer, feel free to share.

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