Super Tuesday News Tech Preview
The Washington Post describes CNN’s Multi-Touch Collaboration Wall, its “touch table” used to show graphics on the network. It was rolled out for the Iowa caucuses and it expected to be a star player tonight.
While “ooing and ahhing” over the technology, the article does highlight, subtly, that this is basically a big monitor and if you put too much complex information on it, viewers only see confusion. I’m curious too how watching the talking heads manipulate the Wall with their hands is that much more entertaining than if they (or someone behind the scenes) controlled a mouse or keyboard. Perhaps it’s just the novelty at this point?
I’m also concerned that the Wall is perhaps getting credit for software others have created - say Google Earth. It was cool before the Wall and will be afterward. Still, the article reports that CNN’s “fancy version of the Wall” comes with lots of extra software. It’s unclear if its content, analysis or simply navigation tools.
I do want to raise the “touch screen” will solve all interface problems vision I seem to run into now and again. A user interface is not necessarily better with a touch screen than with any other input. Interface design is still difficult. At one time I felt many in the geocommunity felt that once GIS was in the browser, it would be"easy.” In some cases, that’s true, but one need only look at how complex browser apps and often their interfaces can become, to see the other side of the story.