Notes on Magic Ink: Information Software and the Graphical Interface

What You See is All You Get (WYSIAYG)

  • UI design is:
    • How information is presented: Graphic Design
      • Personal accounting, Health app visualization
    • How to manipulate and create: Industrial design
      • Photoshop, Illustrator
  • Users mostly want to learn something, not create something. ⇒ Graphic design > Industrial design. ⇒ How information is presented > How to create new things
  • Thus, paper graphic design is not only relevant, but is a baseline


If a person is in the mood for a movie, what questions might she have?

  • What movies are showing today, at which times?
  • What movies are showing around a particular time?
  • Where are they showing?
  • What are they about?
  • Are they good?

Consider this redesign.

Context-Sensitive Graphics

  • Digital interfaces are better than paper because information is context-sensitive.
    • It can link to more information (instead of having to search paper)
    • It can present data in different ways according to what the user needs (instead of being static data on paper)

Interactivity is Bad

  • For all information software, interaction == navigation in data-space
    • Contextual software should already know what user wants
    • Navigation is effortful and bad.
  • To reduce manipulation…
    • Context-Sensitive Specialized Controls:
    • Tight Feedback loops (immediate results)