September 27, 2008

Will Future Information Consumption Be In Nested GUIs?

As Web technologies evolve, new, innovative ways to absorb information via the Web browser are being created. Some, like Google Reader, and blogs on SportsBlogs Nation are utilizing keyboard navigation, letting you type letters to jump from one new item to the next, while others let you move between screens by using the arrow keys, instead of clicking the mouse. An enterprising developer, Michael Buchanan, is hoping that nested GUIs, which he calls "Microspaces", will be a new way to approach navigation - letting you view a page within a page, within a page, all without opening a new browser window.

While he's just getting started with Microspaces, an initial trial site, called StoryLinez, has been posted, that brings top news sources for business, entertainment, health, news, sports and tech in one place. While that in itself is not new, the way the site operates is. Wants to be a Hub for News On All Topics

Instead of clicking on an item, and getting a pulldown menu with multiple options, the nested GUI technology is triggered via mouse-over. For example, having your mouse over the "Business" section opens up a smaller window within a window, with sites ranging from CNN to Fox News, Yahoo!, Forbes and BusinessWeek, surfacing.

The Nested GUIs Technology Shows a Site Within a Site

Rather than send links off to a new browser window, as most sites do, putting your mouse over these news sources, and their resulting headlines instead shows the story in a section within your same window. And when you're done reading, move your mouse back to the listed options and get more stories. The goal? As Michael wrote me, "One of the things I wanted to accomplish was the ability to navigate everything without clicking." (See the blog for more)

You Can Click Through to Articles but Not Leave the Site

We've gotten used to flooding our Web browsers with new windows and new tabs. New Web 2.0 technologies are helping us to see the Web as a foundation for applications, which will need new ways to approach data. Could nested GUIs be one of the future ways we'll consume media? The StoryLinez site is fairly raw, but it's an interesting experiment. Could you get your news this way in the future? Michael hopes you will.

(Also See: TechCrunch: Microspaces: Playing With Nested GUIs from August 19th)