Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Last week, I announced plans to build document callout software designed for the Mac. Today, I'd like to give an overview of the design goals of the project.
The software I envision is pretty basic conceptually. There are only two steps from the users perspective:
- Open a page from a document
- Select a region of the page to emphasize.
Then the software should display the selected region in such a way that it is easy to read at a distance, and such that the original context of the callout is obvious.
Once of the things that I like about this project is that the concept is so simple that we can really focus on the details. For example, what is the very best way to open a document and select a page? What is the very best way to select a region of a document? What is the very best way to display a callout? I will discuss these issues in the blog as we ponder them.
There are two important goals of this project which will drive all our design decisions:
- Ease of Use: The software needs to be so easy to use that a person can use it in real-time during a presentation or court case without training. Users will also be able to prepare presentations in advance.
- Nice Looking: This is presentation software after all! Any graphics or effects should enhance the clarity of the presentation and should look beautiful without becoming a distraction to the presentation. I hope for something so beautiful that the results can be used in a documentary, but so clear and professional that it can be used to question a witness at trial.