The Future Text Project
in public dialogue with industry pioneers, in order to deliver useful systems to the public
We aim to expand the map of what is possible by building systems as far as our imagination can take us, then use the systems and live as pioneers in order to imagine further possibilities and build further, all the while releasing what we build as useful products to the public for their extended input – continuously expanding our augmentation potential.
First Stage : A Liquid View
We are currently working on extending the word processor view into a more flexibly interactive view called Liquid View, which is being built inside the macOS Liquid | Author word processor, which is a product we have built for this purpose: www.liquid.info
The user will be able to instantly toggle from a traditional word processor view to the Liquid Views through a quick gesture which hides all the body text and turns the Headings into Nodes which then become manipulatable in new and powerful ways to better organise the user's knowledge – and instantly toggle back again – to the traditional word processor view. It is important to highlight that this is not a new application but an advanced view of a word processor document so will fit into any workflow and which can be adapted by any word processor developer, this is most importantly a proof of concept and a proof of usefulness.
The default layout is a column for each Level 1 Heading and the user can combine and split through simple drag-actions at will. In this example there are 3 columns: ‘Mac’, ‘Categories’ and ‘iOS’:
The user has chosen to drag some of the nodes vertically apart, to make for natural organisations, as indicated by the arrow in the iOS column (here shaded for clarity and which may very well auto-shade when the user is manipulating it, to make it visually clear where the boundaries are):
The user then chooses to connect some of the nodes (through simple drag & drop) to see relationships and can even add new free-floating nodes, as can be seen off to the side, which will still be reflected in the word processing view (or not, as the user may choose):
The result of this process is that the user can easily see where the issues with interaction design between an iPad and a Mac lies. We have a walkthrough mockup is available on YouTube and initial design specifications are available on DropBox.
When this Liquid View is active, it augments the uses ability to see relationships, associations and groupings which may not otherwise have become apparent – making the text more liquid and the experience more fluid. This is not simply an outline, this can become a concept map, mind map something as sophisticated as Japanese style Kj-Ho or as simple as working with Post-It notes.
Future developments will include refinements of the basic Liquid View concept (including the ability to do visual searches) as well as experiments into ever more advanced views of textual information.