Finding and Reminding - Original Proposal
Note: this proposal is now obsolete.
How might we design a solution that marries the Desktop, Search, Places, and the Recently used list? How might the roles complement one another?
- What if the Desktop was a place to stage items that need to be addressed?
- What if items could expire from the Desktop and fall safely into a time ordered list and eventually into an archive bucket?
- What if Places were just a default set of tags that can be used as filters?
- What if we had enough abstraction from the filesystem that we could transparently include non-local information in the same view?
- What if we had enough abstraction from the filesystem that would could include information that isn't that file-like?
- What if this same desktop+timeline view allowed me to schedule items to address in the future?
- What if similar or related items were automatically stacked together so they don't clutter the Desktop?
- What if I could access my Desktop from anywhere?
- What if the Desktop wasn't hidden behind all my other activities?
- What if I could easily share my content with others?
- What if everything in my archive was readily searchable and had rich contextual metadata?
- What if it was easy to add almost any kind of item to the Desktop?
- What if one had the ability to tag, star, and make notes about content directly from a document window?
Well, that would be pretty cool. What could this look like?
What is going on here?
Essentially it is a representation of the following schematic:
- By end of week
Desktop <--- Now
- This week
- Last week
If things aren't pinned into the Desktop they will gradually fall down the view until they safely drop out the bottom into the Archive.
Items may be filtered by any number of labels. A useful set of labels would be provided by default but users may add their own as well. Items may be starred to denote relevance or whatever meaning the user wishes to assign to that designation.
What about the spatial metaphor?
It has been shown that the efficacy of location based information retrieval falls off rapidly after 10 items. The method breaks down entirely once the limit of space is reached. Which happens more often than not in an information rich environment. Furthermore, it may be argued that static location based wayfinding may not be a particularly effective approach in a dynamic and scalable interface. Your office desk doesn't change size and rearrange on its own. Your computer screen and windows do.
That is not to say that it doesn't or can't serve some role in retrieval. But it likely won't be the primary factor in either recallability or recognizability of items. And shouldn't be relied upon.
In the Tulving and Thompson formulation, it is just one part of the "encoding conditions" that may cue or assist retrieval.