Good Examples of Physicality in Web Visual, Design

20 Jul 2004 - 3:12pm
10 years ago
1 reply
699 reads
Andrew Otwell
2004

> I am currently engaged in a Web application project for which the
> client would like to incorporate a certain degree of machine-like
> physicality in the visual and interaction design (e.g. "like iTunes").

This question is a little confusing. What is exactly meant by
"physicality?" It sounds like your client is saying "I want my web app
to feel like a desktop app." ITunes, although it has a metallic-looking
"finish", doesn't really do anything special in terms of a "physical"
interface. It doesn't replicate analog controls like dials or knobs or
the iPod scroll wheel.

In fact, it really doesn't have what I would think of as "extraneous
chrome"; it's interface is primarily navigation and file management,
which you can do entirely via drag-and-drop direct manipulation. It's
pretty efficient.

For software that really does try to replicate physical interfaces,
check out music software, which very often replicates the physical
interface of a mixing board, or of a rack of hardware. See for example,
"Reason" at http://www.propellerheads.se/ which is a literal translation
of totally analog hardware interfaces.

andrew

Comments

20 Jul 2004 - 7:34pm
drewbam
2004

Andrew,

It seems to me that the question is one of degree. Obviously, iTunes
doesn't go to the lengths that some of the music software goes to
replicate hardware controls (I am a user of Reason, BTW), but it does
incorporate things like physical-looking transport controls, a volume
slider, and even a faux 1-bit LCD screen. These elements are all
borrowed from traditional consumer audio devices, which I believe
makes a lot of sense in the case of an application that offers similar
functionality.

Do a brushed aluminum frame and plastic control buttons make sense for
a more strictly information analysis-oriented application?
Particularly one that is already embedded in a browser frame? The
answer to this question is much less clear to me. Hence, I am looking
for some examples of well-executed solutions that incorporate these
types of controls. Thus far, I have yet to see many that have any
relevance outside of music or gaming applications.

d|b

On Tue, 20 Jul 2004 15:12:55 -0500, Andrew Otwell <andrew at heyotwell.com> wrote:
> > I am currently engaged in a Web application project for which the
> > client would like to incorporate a certain degree of machine-like
> > physicality in the visual and interaction design (e.g. "like iTunes").
>
> This question is a little confusing. What is exactly meant by
> "physicality?" It sounds like your client is saying "I want my web app
> to feel like a desktop app." ITunes, although it has a metallic-looking
> "finish", doesn't really do anything special in terms of a "physical"
> interface. It doesn't replicate analog controls like dials or knobs or
> the iPod scroll wheel.
>
> In fact, it really doesn't have what I would think of as "extraneous
> chrome"; it's interface is primarily navigation and file management,
> which you can do entirely via drag-and-drop direct manipulation. It's
> pretty efficient.
>
> For software that really does try to replicate physical interfaces,
> check out music software, which very often replicates the physical
> interface of a mixing board, or of a rack of hardware. See for example,
> "Reason" at http://www.propellerheads.se/ which is a literal translation
> of totally analog hardware interfaces.
>
> andrew

Syndicate content Get the feed