Back to Basics

Wired recently reported in an article called Etch a Site as Easy as Pie that a new prototyping tool has been created that can magically brings alive sketches of sites without its users having to do any programming !

A team at the University of California at Berkeley has developed a software sketching tool – Denim – that helps designers create fully interactive websites using just a graphics tablet or a mouse. Carson Reynolds at MIT’s Media Lab has even used it to sketch an interface for some Linux software. Available for free, the Denim software runs on any Java platform, including Windows and Linux.

The software was developed after an in-depth study of website designers working in the real world. The study found that almost all designers used paper and pencil in the early stages, and were often loath to move on to computer tools because of their relative inflexibility.

It seems strange to think that what should have been the natural beginning of a solution actually ends up taking years to evolve… Interfaces should be designed in a manner that they augment our individual styles of working instead of trying to change them. Indexing systems should try and mimic the human brain in their structure and workings. Search engines should be able to understand the context of our search terms. But instead of Technology working for us, we humans end up working harder and struggling to keep up with the Technology that’s out there !

I am reminded of an email joke I once read : The Americans, during the hey days of the Space Race, spent millions of dollars to invent a pen that would work in the atmospheric conditions of outer space. The Russians, faced with a similar challenge, took pencils instead !

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