Interface design is getting a lot more interesting lately. It probably has a lot to do that fancy Microsoft Vista coming out and the multi-touch interface craziness going around. Spacetime has jumped in headfirst with a new search/browse interface.
What does it do?
3D Search and browsing with plans to implement email, music and RSS. At first I thought it looked a little annoying particularly with all the windows stacking up. It was harder to go through the search results as opposed to a regular “flat-view” Google search, but it “feels” really cool switching to different pages and searches.
This is actually pretty cool and I could see how the typical “window” or “browser” could develop into something like their eBay search, where only the product or content is shown. This is really just a kind of fancy way of looking at stuff. If it’s efficient as well, it may actually have a lot of uses. In my opinion though, this interface is relying too much on the point and click/double-click method of navigation when things are going toward a grab-and-drag, touch-and-zoom approach.
From a SolidWorks perspective
SolidWorks is already neck-deep in this stuff. Some of this visualization is going to be available in 2008 in SolidWorks Explorer, but I can also see this being used in the work space. I could imagine a timeline of modeling history or part revisions, working simultaneously between designs, filtering features or even dimensions – all on screen. To make it actually functional though there would have to be some more intuitive contextual commands built in and from what I’ve seen in 2008 it’s heading that way. If this is combined with some of the other gesture-based stuff coming out the design and engineering process will be much more environmental and interactive. First things first though, it has to be functional.