Sunday, March 06, 2005

The IA of Things, Part Two: Twenty Years of Lessons Learned (Jim Leftwich)

Session description

Jim Leftwich, principal, orbit interaction

- started as product designer (engineering background) in early 80s
- always interested in symbology: represent things in simple ways
- influences: Bauhaus, Bucky Fuller
- system thinker, generalist, pattern perceiver, supersystems
- Strength in physical model-making (fiberglass, plexiglass, etc.)
- lots of experience in digital media systems UI

TONS of projects: plane missile training system, Fed Reserve bill sorting, GPS, plane exterior/interior mockup, CRT display, user interfaces, SUN OpenLook OS GUI

Infospace: Jim's experiment in browser-based OS, metadata-enabled info display and visualization
- google "Infospace Jim Leftwich" for white paper


*Has a "prosumer" philosophy - people are not passive users
- use your visual cortex! Our brains are pattern recognizers!
- iconoclastic, entrepreneurial approach

Metaverse (structured) vs Myverse (interactive, virtual interpretation)

Needles (Fixed Data structures/filter listings) and Haystacks (Interactive data set visualization)

Visualizing the contexts and interrelationships of info
- e.g., Interactive TV - what are people watching right now?
- quality is overlooked is ability to amplify awareness ("Computer is bicycle for the mind" Steve Jobs)

Darkness and datasmog
- why not visualize our spam as vegetation?

Visualized conferencing system

- filter sets associated with attribute, mnedtadata
- filter sets are modular, reconfigurable, savable, tradable
- can be used interactively and passively


Acuson Sequoia Ultrasound System
- create _interactional language_ and _centralize_ interactions to simplify use and interface
- learned how to drive an interface w/o looking at it

Very definitely possible to design based on ability to perceive generalized patterns

* Starsight Telecast (personal project)
- clickable thumbwheel, remote control
- TV guide
- contextual linking
- got patents but they ended up in a box
- TV guides still suck

*Don't make users spelunk (where they can't see the whole system)
*Don't allow users to run off a cliff

Talked w/ Jim afterwards.