UI&us is about User Interface Design, User Experience design and the cognitive psychology behind design in general. It's written by Keith Lang, co-founder of Skitch; now a part of Evernote.  His views and opinions are his own and do not represent in any way the views or opinions of any company. 

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Hot Bumptop

Bumptop, an augmentative 3D desktop for Windows, looks to be getting [edit: some] things right. Via Lifehacker

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Reader Comments (7)

It seems to me that this sort of interface would work pretty well only with a limited number of files.

If you had 30-40 items that were all visible at once like in this demo, this interface would be quicker than using a mouse.

But as things start to scale, I think the faux 3D metaphor would really start to break down; how do you find one file amongs thousands, how do you browse, etc.

In these situations I don't think a physical interface with direct manipulation is quicker than using a keyboard since you have to "touch" each individual object.

This isn't to say that BumpTop can't be useful; I just see it mainly for working in very limited spaces as opposed to an entire operating system. For example, think about using BumpTop while working on a photo or set of photos in Photoshop, or editing songs or movie clips…

October 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJosh

I totally agree Josh that this interface doesn't scale to many objects. However, I do like some of the interactions, like the dynamic selection by drawing around the objects.

October 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKeith Lang

With the ability to organize with hierarchical stacks (already present), the addition of ajax-like dynamic search, and context-appearing on-screen keyboard I think it could scale nicely. Of course, in order to be considered an OS and not just a front end, it would need to run programs with consistent UI guidelines and a terminal. It seems like it would begin to approach a cross-breed of OS X, iPhone OS, and Sun's 3d Project Looking Glass.

The thing that I hated the most was the ruining of the immersive environment by using native, rather than an in-app & themed, email window. But congratulations to BumpTop for the forward-thinking multi-touch interactions!

October 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnderson Florence

Hi Anderson,

What do you mean by 'ajax-like dynamic search' — any examples you can point to?

October 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKeith Lang

@Keith Re: Dynamic Search: I just mean that as you type each character of the filename you are looking for it reduces the shown tiles to those that match only like this: http://yfrog.us/02vq0z

Also, this original BumpTop proto video gives a better idea of the exhaustive organization techniques that can be applied: http://lifehacker.com/software/top/bumptop-desktop-emulates-physical-documents-182465.php

October 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnderson Florence

Ah yes, thanks Anderson.

October 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKeith Lang

I think I had BumpTop installed on my computer for about 6 minutes. Just didn't work for me, and I couldn't see the benefit in persisting. Perhaps for more kinaesthetic/tactile people or novice users.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNathanael Boehm
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