News and Notes
The two-dimensional user interface has been with us for about 15 years, and ever since Windows 95 banished the DOS prompt to obscurity, most users have taken the "desktop" metaphor to heart. Of course, it's unlikely that the evolution will stop there. And as the march from punch cards to immersive virtual reality continues, a probable next step is 2-D representations of 3-D space. The folks at Plumb Design have begun that step by providing Thinkmap, a kinetic 3-D interface for databases. The first two examples, a Visual Thesaurus and the Smithsonian's Revealing Things exhibit, are not only well-engineered online resources, but very possibly a glimpse into the future of UI.