Lookable User Interfaces and 3D

Lookable User Interfaces and 3D

Alan Radley (University College London, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7377-9.ch003
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A new philosophy of user interface design is described. Named the “Lookable User Interface,” or LUI, the approach is based on the concept of a Personal Reality (PR) system. Here the computer adapts to the user's worldview in a personalized way, and according to the specific requirements, behaviors, and perceptive skills of the individual. Typically, a PR system creates and adjusts (in real-time) 3D perspective view(s) of a data-set, including (potentially) the field of view of a scene and the apparent distance and scale of objects, whilst also creating an aesthetic “eye-friendly” context for computing operations. A Lookable User Interface (LUI) affords the maximum degree of visual accessibility to digital content. The authors examine the results of testing a Lookable User Interface. Spectasia is one example of a Personal Virtual Reality (PVR) that can be used to visualize links between universals and particulars within digital worlds.
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The User Interface: How Shall We Define The “User Interface” (Ui)?

In the 1991 book “Computers as Theatre”, Brenda Laurel states that we should think of - and design - a computer interface in terms of a theatrical metaphor (Laurel, 1991). Her idea is that like effective drama, good interface design must engage the user in both thought and emotion. Laurel also says that the user interface (UI) in a way obstructs access, and that it stands in the way between us and what we are trying to do. This is a useful perspective. But it is by no means the only one.

Others have spoken in terms of overcoming the communication barriers that exist between one world and another. For example, sending messages between the hidden digital “world” of the computer, and the human “world” of language and vision. In this view, actions in one world must be “interfaced” using a language of commands that both “sides” know how to interpret. Thus the happenings in one world must be communicated (and translated) into an entirely different realm. The UI‘s “job” is to hide unnecessary complexity and to expose public events/actions/information in each world, and so to mediate between the different regions of being. From this perspective, there are many different types of UIs; including operating systems, TV remotes, and washing machine controls etc. Even language itself, which communicates the thoughts of one individual to another, may be seen as special kind of UI.

Ideally, a UI provides useful views into an information space; according to the actions, behaviors, choices, and needs of the user. And this would perhaps be a relatively straightforward task, if it were not for the great diversity of different types of computer system, varying purposes, and the vast complexity of information types dealt with. To say nothing of the great range - and constantly changing - user interests. A large variety of different types of UI designs (and interaction techniques) are needed to cope with such diversity of purpose.

Over the last 50 years there have been many innovations in UI design. For example, in the 1960s, Sketchpad introduced interactive graphics (Sutherland, 1963). Soon after the mouse - and other key elements in the field of human-computer interaction - were invented by Douglas Englebart (Tuck, 2013). Later the Xerox Star system (Johnson et al., 1989) was introduced and the PARC user interface (Hiltzik, 1999) arrived which pioneered graphical elements such as windows, menus, radio buttons, check boxes and icons. More recently also, the touch-screen approach has been used on mobile computers and even full-sized displays. And the success of all of these techniques (generally) has led to an explosion in number and types of user interface designs. Progress has been so rapid, that in today’s world, it would be difficult to get through even a single day without using multiple UIs.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Hologram: Is a technique which enables three-dimensional images to be made. It involves the use of a laser, interference, diffraction of light intensity recording and suitable illumination of the recording.

Graphical User Interface: Is a visual way of interacting with a computer using items such as windows, icons, and menus, used by most modern operating systems.

Personal Reality (PR): Is another approach to the design of Artificial Reality (AR) systems, and is in one sense the very opposite of Virtual Reality (VR) systems where the user is immersed in a virtual world which he then adapts himself to. Here the world view adapts to the person in a highly specific way, and this class of artificial reality system may be properly called a “Personal Reality” (PR) system. The nature of the personalization of the system is not defined and may differ from one design to the next. Typically the PR system might adapt optical parameters such as perspective projection, the field of view of specific aspects of a scene, the distance and scale of objects, and also as well creating background contexts for aspects of the display where appropriate

Lookable User Interface: Is a user interface which provides a high degree of visual accessibility for digital content. Typically a LUI enables the user to explore a 3D representation of a large collection of data items or object models.

Human Computer Interaction (HCI): Is the study and planned design of human and computer activities.

Virtual Reality: Is a computer-simulated environment that can simulate physical presence in places in the real world or imagined world

Hologram Mirror: Is a mirror system which produces a one-to-one scale stereoscopic “reflection” image which faces the object, and which floats in space in-front of the mirror surface. Also, when used by a person to look at his/her own reflection, a “Hologram Mirror” produces a three-dimensional image of the person's face, but without the clutter of background images that are normally seen.

Curvilinear Perspective: Is a graphical projection used to draw 3D objects on 2D surfaces.

Stereoscopic: Relates to or denotes a process by which two photographs of the same object taken at slightly different angles are viewed together, creating an impression of depth and solidity.

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