Interaction vs Passivity

It’s that time of year again, and the Adobe Live roadshow has been to town. The two-day event was held at the Business Design Centre in Islington, and I went along to see demos of the latest versions of Photoshop, Dreamweaver and all the other goodies in the CS3 Suite.

As well as the product demos, there were also other seminars covering design topics. One by a guy from Avenue A/Razorfish was entitled Web Design With Emotion

This was quite thought provoking, saying users are starting to expect more and more from things like eCommerce applications, and there are more ways of presenting results that just boring old lists of stuff. Two examples he gave were:

Amaznode
Great way of querying Amazon – I ran a search for rugby books on the UK site, and got the following interconnectedness results back:

[Amaznode search results show a web of connectedness for the items]

It’s fun watching the network to build up. You can pick up an item and drag it about (the blue knot). Double-clicking the centre book will bring up the item detail panel, which lets you Add to Cart or Go to Amazon. I liked the way it presents related stuff – could be good if you’re looking for recommendations based on what you have already. Not sure how reliable they are though!

Etsy’s Shop By Colour
Etsy is a site where folks who hand make craft items can sell to individuals. There’s the usual way of browsing boring old categories, but the Shop By Colour feature is fun – especially if you are trying to co-ordinate stuff for an outfit or room.

[Etsy shop by colour display]

Swirl your mouse round to stir up the colour trail, and click one you like the look of. The database will bring back a cluster of stuff that matches. It’s great fun – go and have a play!

So, just two bits of food for thought which show search results don’t have to be boring. Users are getting smarter and prefer interaction to passivity, so whilst this kind of interface would have been unheard of even a couple of years ago, things are changing fast.

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