after sitting and watching the positive comments roll in on the desktop ZUI (zooming user interface) blog entry, i started to feel a little guilty because people might think i actually came up with the basic idea. just in case that were to happen, let me offer a pro-active correction.
the idea of a ZUI has been around for a long time (in so far that HCI research has been around for a 'long time' ;). in particular, Jef Raskin spent the last years of his life with a team of talented researchers exploring the practical application of ZUIs to desktops. reading their papers on the topic led to a number of inspirations and ideas, such as why not to do just a free zoom but actually perform object abstractions as the user moves in and out.
we aren't going as directly radical as his ideas when it comes to a zooming desktop, at least not right away (e.g. we aren't going to let you zoom out further and see your local network, the again to see the intarweb ... yet! ;), but i'd feel pretty turdish if i didn't at least own up to some of the shoulders the plasma team is standing upon. Jeff being not the least among them.
what is new and interesting is that we're moving it out of academic applications and onto production desktops. we're making it pretty and we're melding it with a number of other ideas, some borrowed and some new (but none of them blue).
Jef Raskin, 1943-2005. RIP.