#67: Subjective interface tool

When I was in my early 20s, I suddenly discovered that most people didn’t have the same internal models as I had.

Here is a page from a computer-based diary (written in HyperTalk) which I designed to mirror how I think about the year… how I actually see time in my head.


Each week is envisaged as an upwards-slanting ellipse which moves from Monday (lower left) to Friday (upper right).

Successive weeks form a vertical helix with New Year at the top. This helix of the year then loops over and flows downwards towards Summer.

My 3-D view of time does make using a conventional, rectilinear calendar a major challenge, but it occurs to me that it provides a much more direct, ‘zoomable’ model of time than the conventional grid layout (which never works for me, since I can’t stand that need to look over the page to see what’s happening next month -come to think of it, surely it would be better, on computer-based calendars, to scroll time so that eg on the 2nd of the month you get a window displaying the 15th of last month to the 16th of this month…how many meetings get missed because people didn’t see them coming?)

It turns out that I have several of these visual models: the kinds of thing that NLP and ‘timeline therapy’ rely on. Today’s invention is therefore to equip people with a simple, personal design tool which allows them to create computer based interfaces, reflecting their subjective mental models, to the processes of eg

  • travelling in the city where they live -see this example
  • all the activities within their company
  • their relationships to other people (could produce a few surprises).

It would probably be something like a version of FrontPage (that actually worked) but with lots of javascript widgets available as standard to accommodate the necessary interactivity and personalisation. (I’ve just come across this interesting development).

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