The Feb 4, 2008 Issue of Newsweek publishes a story on Microsoft’s Seadragon technology and the man behind it, Blaise Aguera y Arcas. Includes some very interesting insights into how he believes we’re all going to be zooming one day:
The Internet, it seems, doesn’t take advantage of how humans best process information. Evolution granted Homo Sapiens a high degree of visual acuity … Scrolling and linking are inferior modes of taking in information. “Humans are incredibly good at spatial navigation and incredibly bad at navigating through a list of generic icons or generic text.” … These limitations are not lost on the technology giants and forward-thinking entrepreneurs working to commercialize a new way to take in information visually: the zoom interface. In its simplest form, it displays information all at once – all the photos in an album, say, or all the files on a PC, or all the entries in a database, or all the items retrieved in a search – and when you spot something of interest, you zoom down into it. In this way, zooming represents an upgrade from the second- and third-best methods for accessing information (scrolling and linking) to the best option: displaying information like a landscape, and giving people the chance to zoom down to the details … Only recently have engineers had the advances in display technology, broadband connections and video processors capable of coping with a zoom interface. As a result, prototype zoom interfaces are now up and running in labs around the world.