Pixel Space and Tools

  • mapping huge spaces onto small screens seems to be one of fundamental problems in "UI":
    • Figma/Sketch and other graphical apps have infinite canvas(es)
    • Muse zooms infinitely into a confined space (ZUI)
      • and in more general, attempts at UIs with more "Fractality"
    • desktops have infinite folders within folders (and virtual desktops - though these are finite?)
    • Dynamicland makes everything an interactive information piece (so the space is room/building-size), but is still constrained by the size of the building
      • somehow when things are at human-scale, it doesn't feel that way - you can "surround" yourself with your work, spread things apart, have some of them in the peripheral vision, some of them "in the kitchen", etc.
        • is this where VR kicks in?
  • somehow free panning in x/y makes me feel like looking through a loupe - I don't get that feeling when scrolling only vertically though
    • strangely, some applications of x/y pan seem ok - maps for example
    • maybe the issue is somewhere else - when zooming a map I don't care so much about the context anymore, but when working on a screen, I usually want all the surrounding information, and I just can't display it all at once (more in Detail in Context)
  • I'm curious how many and what kinds of projectors would I need to have a wall for doing/thinking
    focus plus context screen with a projector

virtually every user in the study reported that an advantage of spreadsheets is the ability to view large quantities of data on the screen (Nardi and Miller, 1990). Users had a strong preference for being able to view as much data as possible without scrolling

A Small Matter of Programming - Bonnie Nardi

  • another thing to keep in mind is the "data-ink ratio" idea from Tufte - for power users the best UIs allow for making a lot of information visible at once, with the least amount "UI cruft" possible (No Chrome)

We can imagine, for example, mechanisms by which a user debugs a particular formula by bringing up a view of the spreadsheet in which irrelevant rows and columns are filtered out, and related cells are highlighted

A Small Matter of Programming - Bonnie Nardi

  • another idea to gain pixel space is to filter out what's irrelevant

Sparklines work at intense resolutions, at the level of good typography and cartography. Currently such intensities can be found only on paper, film, and metal - where resolutions > 1,200 dpi are easily and inexpensively achieved. Today's computer monitors operate at about 10% of paper's resolution, producing coarse typography in the smaller point sizes as well as sparklines lacking in fine detail.

— Beautiful Evidence - Edward Tufte

  • maybe the problem is not so much about the size of the display, but about the DPI? (for reference: reMarkable 2 has 226 DPI, Apple iMac Retina 5k has 218 DPI, so only ~18% of what's possible on paper)