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This wiki space contains archival documentation of Project Bamboo, April 2008 - March 2013.

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In the initial draft of this wiki page, the listed user-interface ideas and references are taken wholesale from the Bamboo Implementation Proposal v0.5 page on the "Bamboo Atlas" (since reframed within the Bamboo Commons).

A variety of user-interfaces will be enabled by services that provide access to Bamboo Atlas information; only a subset of those interfaces will be built by Bamboo partners. However, the range of that variety will be broadened or narrowed by service design decisions made by Bamboo partners. An iterative process of user-centered design will be employed to maximize the breadth of possibility. This process will include consideration of precedent and best practice in areas of Atlas function and interface, and exploration of how the Atlas can be tailored to specific contexts of humanities scholarship.

Here are some examples of existing precedent and practice in user interface design and function - mostly from well known commercial sites - that might both illustrate the concepts described in this proposal, and inform aspects of Atlas function and interface:

Search, Discovery, Trust

  • includes a book's citations and citations by other books, (see, for example, R. Ellmann, Yeats: The Man and the Masks, (Norton, 2000)).
  • includes key phrases "mined" using multiple algorithms from a book's text, (see, for example, R. Ellmann, Yeats: The Man and the Masks, (Norton, 2000)).
  • includes a concordance of the most frequently-occurring words in a book, as well as additional statistics mined from a book's text (see, for example, the concordance for W. G. Sebald's Austerlitz (Modern Library, 2002))
  • suggests similar items in its catalog based on usage patterns (in Amazon's case this is based on other books bought by those who bought the book being presented).
  • is a well-known example of how "tags" can function as a kind of one-word summary of the content of an image - tag visualizations on Flickr can search as a discovery mechanism, and can be focused by popularity or recent contribution.
  • uses geotagging to allow access to its billions of images by place
  • combines multiple sets of information, such as "where the clickthroughs are coming from; who comments on it and when; who marks it as a favorite; its tags and many more things which are constantly changing" to arrive at a measure of "interestingness," which serves as a path for discovery based on what others have found valuable.
  • In a (scientific) research context, presents recommendations based on other items viewed by those who viewed the item being presented (see, for example, the Nanohub entry for a Crystal Viewer tool)
  • An example of "faceted search" - the ability to search not just by keyword, but by categories of information - can be seen in the Flamenco list of Nobel Prize winners
  • exemplifies how deep hyperlinking - affording ability to wander idiosyncratically through a body of information, finding one's serendipitous way - can offer rich opportunities for discovery (start, for example, at the disambiguation page for the term Austerlitz, which can leads one to a novel referenced in examples in this list, as well as through articles on several cities, on the eponymous Paris train station, and on the performer Fred Astaire).

Review and Rating

  • includes views of a smaller, more prominently presented set of reviews, and a larger more complete set (see, for example, the initial, smaller and more detailed & complete presentation for W. G. Sebald's Austerlitz (Modern Library, 2002))
  • presents contributed reviews and ratings of a book in aggregated (chart) form and in detailed modes that permit viewers to see how other viewers judged the reviews/ratings, e.g., "most helpful" (see, for example, reviews and ratings for W. G. Sebald's Austerlitz (Modern Library, 2002))
  • allows a simple expression of approval via its one-click "Like" function that can be applied to the status updates, photos, and other content contributed by one's social network ("friends" in Facebook's jargon)
  • Apple Computer's support forums allow someone who submitted a question to mark a response "helpful" or "solved," which awards "points" to the person who responded. A participant's accrued points boost the level of a status marker that appears next to each of the participant's contributions, affording viewers a quick way to judge how the community ranks or trust contributions from active participants.

Present information tailored to different interests and audiences

  • presents articles on a topic in different languages. Some of these articles may be or may originate in translations of a single contribution, while others are presentations of a topic contextualized by contributors whose perspectives are situated in different national or linguistic frames (see, for example, the English-language article on Gare d'Austerlitz, the Paris railway station; this article is translated or differently-presented in fourteen languages as of 25 May 2009).
  • Dell Computers is notorious for organizing its website to obscure content by forcing users to choose a perspective (such as "Home" or "Public Sector") that influences - most often narrowing - the range of products presented as available for purchase. The Bamboo Atlas will want to avoid that trap.


  • Many Eyes is a data visualization lab run by IBM. From tag-cloud examples to maps portraying where the "worst drivers" can be found in the U.S., this site gives some sense of the breadth of possibility when a well-defined service back end opens data to visualization "mashups."
  •'s concordance (also used as an example in the Search, Discovery, Trust section, above) displays the most frequently-occurring words in a book as a tag cloud (see, as above, the concordance for W. G. Sebald's Austerlitz (Modern Library, 2002))
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