TED Talks Anand Agarawala presented BumpTop

TED Talks Anand Agarawala presented BumpTop, a user interface that takes the usual desktop metaphor to a glorious, 3-D extreme, transforming file navigation into a freewheeling playground of crumpled documents and clipping-covered walls. I know - I know it's not new - but it has become current again by the recent revision of the BumpTop - Current: 1.02 build 2859, April 17th 2009

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I greatly enjoyed the presentation and the interface, but found myself unconvinced, thinking, "Yes, it's fun… but would it improve computer usage? Would we work better, faster, more comfortably?… and significantly so?"
For example, though it's cute, I'm really struggling to think of a time when I would need to "bump" files, punting them off in random directions. Also, hanging things from the 3D "walls" isn't really a significant improvement: it's a 3D-effect on a 2D display with the same effective dimensions.
Anyway, I wonder: how much of the working day is actually spent at the desktop? Most of us spend our time in applications.

I do think that eventually when computers evolve with multi-touch-sensitive screens like the iPhone, some elements of this interface would be / will be useful.

I actually think that 3D-simulating interfaces will improve a lot the HCI in the future.. However, when it comes to organizing and sorting information, a more 2D-ish interface might very well be superior, as I think it has the ability to condense and simplify information, and make it easier to manage / handle.


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