1-D vs. N-D wasRe: Windows 2020 Lifestreams and Objectlens's

Jeff Bone jbone@jump.net
Sun, 06 Jan 2002 13:40:35 -0600

IMO, most of this hubbub about new UI metaphors is just rehashing old
arguments;  it's the result ofa few people who just won't let their own pet
ideas go, even when proven to be wrong.  Back in the early-mid 80s:
MUD-like "virtual places" were all the rage, with everybody talking about
how using spatial intuition to organize information would lead to a whole
class of much more intuitive, useful interfaces.  I was one of those
people;  I initially saw the buddy list as an adjunct to a virtual place
metaphor, rather than the primary (or only!) interface for network-based
communication and collaboration.

People want lists.  Buddy lists prove that.  "Navigation" through most
information spaces not only does not add value, it subtracts value.
(Exceptions include anything where the information space actually does
represent real-world spatial information:  GIS-like systems, simulations of
various kinds, demographics, etc.)  For sets of things, people, files, etc.
there's negative benefit in a spatial metaphor.  Indeed, the
lesser-dimensionality and "traversal compression" of networked information
is one its most desirable characteristics!

In fact, people want as little dimensionality in presentation of their
information as possible.  Dimensions of presentation should only be
introduced when that dimension has real, substantial value.  Scopeware's
right on the money.  The rest of that stuff looks like Bob2.

At least, that's my (current) story.  I'm sticking to it.