Click to visit our sponsors!

homeGeek CultureWebstoreeCards!Forums!Joy of Tech!AY2K!webcam

  The Geek Culture Forums
  I Love my Computer
  Unusual program user interface designs

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

UBBFriend: Email This Page to Someone! next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Unusual program user interface designs
zooz
unregistered
posted November 11, 2001 06:59           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

I recently built a "quest" mode (inspired by Linux's quest mode)
into one of my programs. Basicly it's a Zork style text adventure game.
where he objects you collect activate different features of the
program, such as a scroll which reboots the system when
used, and "switches" that takes the user to one of the programs
menus or CLI interfaces. The interface isn't very
practical; but I decided to do it because I thought
it would be neat.

So,does anyone else know of any other "bizzare" user interface
designs you have come across?

IP: Logged

LifetimeTrekker
Alpha Geek

Posts: 326
From: Albuquerque, NM, UD
Registered: Sep 2001

posted November 11, 2001 07:36     Click Here to See the Profile for LifetimeTrekker   Click Here to Email LifetimeTrekker     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by zooz:

I recently built a "quest" mode (inspired by Linux's quest mode)
into one of my programs. Basicly it's a Zork style text adventure game.
where he objects you collect activate different features of the
program, such as a scroll which reboots the system when
used, and "switches" that takes the user to one of the programs
menus or CLI interfaces. The interface isn't very
practical; but I decided to do it because I thought
it would be neat.

So,does anyone else know of any other "bizzare" user interface
designs you have come across?


Anything produced by Microsoft.

IP: Logged

quantumfluff
Highlie

Posts: 672
From: the ether
Registered: Jun 2000

posted November 11, 2001 20:20     Click Here to See the Profile for quantumfluff   Click Here to Email quantumfluff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LifetimeTrekker:
Anything produced by Microsoft.

You may think you're being funny, but their UI ideas really do cause harm. They seem to believe that every time they want to alert you to a choice the UI must ask a question in a dialog that only has three choices "Yes", "No" and "Cancel". This revolts me every time I see it.

IP: Logged

bizzybody
Geek-in-Training

Posts: 32
From: Idaho, USA.
Registered: Oct 2001

posted November 12, 2001 00:47     Click Here to See the Profile for bizzybody   Click Here to Email bizzybody     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Do a websearch for "user interface hall of shame". You'll find plenty of unusual junk there, plus lear a lot about how NOT to design a UI. Also hunt for that Linux process manager based on DOOM.

IP: Logged

EngrBohn
Highlie

Posts: 686
From: United States
Registered: Jul 2000

posted November 12, 2001 04:38     Click Here to See the Profile for EngrBohn   Click Here to Email EngrBohn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Believe it or not, user interfaces can kill. Well, actually, it's how the system responded to the interaction with the user interface.

Aircraft cockpits have a "Master Caution" light that acts as a single "idiot light" so all the displays the pilot doesn't need during normal flight but does need to diagnose a problem can be put out-of-the-way.

The last MV-22 that crashed did so because of two factors. The instigating factor was a hydraulic line in an engine pod that got rubbed until it burst. Had that been the only problem, the pilots would've been able to land the aircraft because of a redundant hydraulic system. The Master Caution light lit, alerting the crew to a problem (loss of hydraulic pressure), and the crew pressed the button to clear the alarm (standard procedure to silence the alarm and to allow any future problems to activate the Master Caution light), identified the problem, and set about to perform a precautionary landing. Shortly after, the Master Caution lit again, this time due to zero hydraulic pressure in that particular line. This is where things went south.

The software that updated the balance of the two engine pods underwent a slight pause (milliseconds) when the Master Caution button is pressed to clear the alarm. Since the pilots were now setting the aircraft down, this lag resulted in an appreciable skew between what the balance should be and what it was, so the MC alarm activated again. The crew cleared the alarm, resulting in the same lag, and an even greater skew. The alarm sounds again.

The accident report says the crew cleared the alarm twenty times (I think) in the last few seconds of the flight. Each time, increasing the skew between the correct positions of the engine pods and their actual positions. The aircraft rolled over and crashed. I haven't heard yet whether the problem was with incomplete requirements, whether it was with a design that failed to meet the requirements (and, by extension, a testing program that failed to find the design failure), or whether it was a coding error that failed to satisfy the the design (and, by extension, a testing program that failed to find the coding error).

Not really a problem with the user interface itself (the "Master Caution" approach is pretty much the best option in that environment), but the users' interaction with the system through the user interface exposed a flaw in the system that led to their deaths.

------------------
cb
Oooh! What does this button do!?

IP: Logged

sk00t
Mini-Geek

Posts: 57
From: Olsztyn, Poland
Registered: Aug 2001

posted November 12, 2001 12:04     Click Here to See the Profile for sk00t     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting story.

-------------------

I would be happy to see (or invent myself) a really original UI.
They all seem to be really similiar. Buttons, menus, icons... Differently named, differently shaped.
zooz's idea (althought I have meet similiar ideas already) seems to be a step in a right side.

Somewhere I read about a menu designing technique, that resembles a bit the Windoze Control Panel - big icons in a window. This was also interesting, but not much inventive (the article was rather about OOProgramming, not about UIs).

zooz: I am really interested in your results! Be sure to notify.

(and forgive my language mistakes or unclears - try to learn Polish yourself )

IP: Logged

quantumfluff
Highlie

Posts: 672
From: the ether
Registered: Jun 2000

posted November 12, 2001 14:47     Click Here to See the Profile for quantumfluff   Click Here to Email quantumfluff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sk00t:
I would be happy to see (or invent myself) a really original UI.

Take a look at some of the stuff the Xerox PARC people are doing. For one example, they have things like menus which radiate out like pie wedges from the moust click, so any choice is just a few pixels away.

And, of course, there is always the adventure shell

Oh, and now that I mention that I recall the reactive keyboard. This was something really cool I used about 10 years ago but lost when migrating from some Gould machines to Sun. It was a predictive typer that ran within your shell. As you typed it guessed what you would want to complete the line and presented that ahead of you. But it was much more sophisticated than the annoying crap you see in microsoft word. This thing would look at long chains of commands and come up with really good guesses. For example, if I was doing an edit/compile/test cycle, after about two passes it would know the next command after 'vi foo.c' would be 'make' and the next would be 'regressiontest foo'. So as you got the shell prompt back from one command, the expected next one would be ready to go if you just hit return.

It took a few days training to get used to, but it really cut down on typing time.

IP: Logged

zooz
unregistered
posted November 13, 2001 05:56           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

quote:

Oh, and now that I mention that I recall the reactive keyboard. This was something
really cool I used about 10 years ago but lost when migrating from some Gould
machines to Sun. It was a predictive typer that ran within your shell. As you typed
it guessed what you would want to complete the line and presented that ahead of
you.

I've been wanting a command line "spell checker" that would learn
what command you type frequently, and fix the command line if you
make a mistake.

Of if you type accidently something like

coipy sometext.txt sometxt,txt

it would fix it so is says

copy sometext.txt sometxt.txt

Of course in all cases It should ask you first, which could get a bit annoying,
so this feature should be easily toggled.

quote:

But it was much more sophisticated than the annoying crap you see in
microsoft word. This thing would look at long chains of commands and come up
with really good guesses. For example, if I was doing an edit/compile/test cycle,
after about two passes it would know the next command after 'vi foo.c' would be
'make' and the next would be 'regressiontest foo'. So as you got the shell prompt
back from one command, the expected next one would be ready to go if you just hit
return.
It took a few days training to get used to, but it really cut down on typing time.

I would defently like something like this.

IP: Logged

sk00t
Mini-Geek

Posts: 57
From: Olsztyn, Poland
Registered: Aug 2001

posted November 13, 2001 11:30     Click Here to See the Profile for sk00t     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by quantumfluff:
Take a look at some of the stuff the Xerox PARC people are doing.

Aahhaa
I like this!

Example for the lazy ones:

Now I can sleep peacefully - someone is still making inventions out there.

IP: Logged

quantumfluff
Highlie

Posts: 672
From: the ether
Registered: Jun 2000

posted November 13, 2001 11:32     Click Here to See the Profile for quantumfluff   Click Here to Email quantumfluff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by zooz:
I would defently like something like this.

Try a web search. It seems the guys who did the research behind it have a book coming out on it this month. I found sources at http://www.mit.edu/afs/athena/project/atic/src/rk/

IP: Logged

Greg Wooledge
Alpha Geek

Posts: 254
From: Lorain, OH, USA
Registered: Jan 2000

posted November 13, 2001 12:20     Click Here to See the Profile for Greg Wooledge   Click Here to Email Greg Wooledge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
it would know the next command after 'vi foo.c' would be 'make' and the next would be 'regressiontest foo'. So as you got the shell prompt back from one command, the expected next one would be ready to go if you just hit return.

Eww! I can't stand stuff that interferes with my typing like that.

Besides, I normally do any serious hacking with multiple windows. One window is vi, and has the source code I'm working on (or more than one vi window, if there are multiple files that work together). Another window is where I run make. That way I can see the errors and the code at the same time.

quote:
Of if you type accidently something like

coipy sometext.txt sometxt,txt

it would fix it so is says

copy sometext.txt sometxt.txt


There are Unix shells like that already. SCO's ksh has that as an option, IIRC. I think tcsh and/or zsh may, as well. Again, it's not the kind of thing I'd want, so I don't know a lot about its availability.

quote:
And, of course, there is always the adventure shell

ESR wrote a Linux kernel configuration script that has a text adventure interface, IIRC. It was mentioned on slashdot a little while back.

IP: Logged

quantumfluff
Highlie

Posts: 672
From: the ether
Registered: Jun 2000

posted November 13, 2001 14:10     Click Here to See the Profile for quantumfluff   Click Here to Email quantumfluff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Greg Wooledge:
ww! I can't stand stuff that interferes with my typing like that.

Normally I can't either, but this was really not invasive if you didn't want it to be. It would be predicting what to type, so if you saw the right thing happening you could just hit tab and it would accept the completion. If you just continued typing what you felt like it would back out it's suggestion and use your input.

IP: Logged

zooz
unregistered
posted November 15, 2001 04:10           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
:

Originally posted by quantumfluff:
Take a look at some of the stuff the Xerox PARC people are
doing.

Aahhaa
I like this!
Example for the lazy ones:
(picture not included

Now I can sleep peacefully - someone is still making inventions out there.


If it does use a 3d engine, can you noclip with this

Off topic peeve: I really hate it when 3d game developers don't include
a no-clipping/walk through walls code in their games. I always wonder
whay "goodies"and oddities are left outside the main map/room/race track/whatever
and I have spent many hours trying to find and exploit bugs in the engine
to try to leave the map/.

One of the more bizzare effects is when you go outside of the level in a DOOM
engine game, and it seems that the floors and ceilings are stretching tward
your position when you look at the leve from outside.

IP: Logged

supaboy
SuperBlabberMouth!

Posts: 1242
From: Columbia, SC, USA
Registered: Jan 2000

posted November 15, 2001 07:47     Click Here to See the Profile for supaboy   Click Here to Email supaboy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In Gran Turismo 2 on the PlayStation, there is a place where you can drive off the Laguna Seca track. Since Laguna Seca has some pretty interesting elevation changes, you can "fly" your car around the spectator area. If you drive back over a bit of track below you, you will fall back onto it.

IP: Logged

Roceal
Super Geek

Posts: 158
From: That place, you know, with the thing
Registered: Aug 2001

posted November 15, 2001 15:22     Click Here to See the Profile for Roceal   Click Here to Email Roceal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sk00t:
Aahhaa
I like this!

I seem to recall a similar interface on a web site once, I think made with Shockwave or Flash, but anyway, the platform isn't important-- it was the idea that was interesting. It was kind of like a spiderweb or a net, and the intersecting nodes were some major section/concept, and then had lines connecting out to related sections/concepts. I wonder if I could find that URL again... it was a while ago...

IP: Logged

zooz
unregistered
posted November 16, 2001 03:53           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
posted November 15, 2001 07:47               

quote:

In Gran Turismo 2 on the PlayStation, there is a place where you can drive off the
Laguna Seca track. Since Laguna Seca has some pretty interesting elevation

In Destruiction Derby 2 (demo PC version),on the first level, sometimes the
cars "bleed through" the sky, where there is a mountan awith a track there.
The mountain apparently is behind the paralaxing sky and invisible
Also, when the cars collide in a pile up, sometimes they get merged into eachother.
IThere is a narrow area in the level where I would park my car sideways, and
cause a huge pile up. Sometimes, cars would jump 30 feet
into the air when they collide, usualy if they land on top of another
one. I've had many hours of fun doing this

quote:

In Gran Turismo 2 on the PlayStation, there is a place where you can drive off the
Laguna Seca track. Since Laguna Seca has some pretty interesting elevation
changes, you can "fly" your car around the spectator area. If you drive back
over a bit of track below you, you will fall back onto it.


I've noticed that in a few driving games, if you get outside of the track,
and keep going, you'll find yourself back on the track, but with all of the sprites
and polygon models removed. This happens in Mario kart, Big Red Racing and even Quake 1. Coincidence?

By the way. In Big Red Racing you can drive off of the track and have it repeat, but
the effect I've mentioned dosent show up until you are play back a demo of the
game. It gets really bizzare when you hit an object on the "repeated" track while playing the game, but so you see the car flying in the demo ,

Funny part is, when you drive out into the "ocean", the screen "flickers" mometairly
before the track repeats while playing the game, and you get a "normal" track when
it repeats. In a demo, this flickering dosen';t happen and you get an empty track.
I would also like to ask the programmers why there is an empty track in addition
to the regular one (though I doubt map data is repeated twice). Any experts would
like to comment on this?.

IP: Logged

Steen
SuperBlabberMouth!

Posts: 1162
From: Maryville, TN, USA
Registered: Jan 2000

posted November 19, 2001 19:35     Click Here to See the Profile for Steen   Click Here to Email Steen     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I played with this thing at one time. Interesting interface, though I'm not sure how useful it is. I was too lazy to really set it up properly.

IP: Logged

All times are Pacific Time

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | Geek Culture Home Page

© 2002 Geek Culture® All Rights Reserved.

Powered by Infopop www.infopop.com © 2000
Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47e

homeGeek CultureWebstoreeCards!Forums!Joy of Tech!AY2K!webcam