Jan-Erik Stange & Sebastian Meier
A Tool for location based literary research enabling users to explore books by locations contained in them on a multi-touch table. The system displays all the locations in any given book by little points on the map. Curved lines connect these to a scrollable ring, which represents the book.
Jan-Erik Stange, Sebastian Meier, Till Nagel, FH Potsdam
Todd Wilkens: When it comes down to it, this team pushed a number of UI elements further than we've seen before. It fits together as a cohesive piece, and as you dig in you get more, and the interactions feel novel and interesting. I feel like they took a little bit of risk, and while it's not perfect, they touched on new currencies of interaction. Gregg Wygonik: My favorite part is the circular navigation, as a method of moving through a series of linear data.
1. Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the challenge posed to you? Did it get you excited and why?
The class this project evolved from was called "Urban Layers". There was no strict brief, we decided to develop a concept for a modern library. Catalogues in today's libraries only offer a search that is based on "describing" metadata like title, author, publishing date and so on. In the future more and more books will be available as digital texts. This offers completely new possibilities in searching these texts for data. We believed that it could be very interesting especially for scientists to be able to have a different perspective on books by making the locations mentioned in a book searchable for the user. Since the topic of my Master Thesis I'm working on at the moment is about developing new search interfaces for libraries, I'm quite familiar already with library catalogues and other search interfaces. It was exciting to finally produce something after having researched for a long time.
2. What point of view did you bring to the challenge? Was there anything additional that you wanted to achieve with this project or bring to this project that was not part of the original brief?
Hard to say since there was no original brief, or better said we came up with our own brief. In general the design of library catalogues hasn't changed in a long time at least in Germany. There are a lot of issues regarding the user interface and the interaction with these. So, additionally to making a completely new way of searching available, we were also anxious to create a better user experience in general with such an interface.
3. When designing this project, whose interests did you consider? (Discuss various stakeholders, audiences, retailing, manufacturing, assembly, distribution, etc., for example.)
We were trying to create something for the scientific researcher that offers him additional ways of searching for literature.
4. Describe the rigor that informed your design. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) If this was a strictly research or strategy project, please provide more detail here.
As mentioned I did some research in general on library catalogues. For this project we did research on related work that used locations mentioned in tweets for example. In the early stage of the development of this project we tested our concept by building a paper prototype and tested it with some students at the university. The final prototype is programmed in Processing. Most of the interactions could be tested with this software prototype.
5. What is the social value of your design? (Gladdening, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, labor-mindful, environmental, cultural, etc.) How does it earn its keep in the world?
We hope to create a new perspective on literature by providing this way of searching. LIT. also offers a fun way of using the tool, thus creating a good user experience.
6. If you could have done one thing differently with the project, what would you have changed?
Looking back, it probably wasn't necessary to put so much work in programming the software prototype, since we could have tested our concept with other evaluation methods popular in interface design. On the other hand, the software prototype gives you a good impression on how the final software on a multitouch table could feel like.