Visible Language Workshop


Muriel Cooper’s demo of information presented in a typographic landscape is truly ahead of its time. What was demonstrated was not simply a 3D layout of type, it was something that was way before the tech world imagined any technology that could utilize such a human-computer experience.

As an exploration of the idea, Cooper’s demo was flawed, limited and very prototypical. The interface could only do some simple animations, and the stacking of visual element makes the hierarchy and the information being presented very hard to read. But despite all that, the level of control that was present in the demo is astounding. Even to this date, fully-immersive virtual reality and semi-immersive mixed reality experience provided by companies like Oculus and Microsoft are still fundamentally not that far off of what was already imagined in the demo, it is just that the advancement of technology made the experience much better and more immersive.

For example, the texts in the demo are replaced with larger blocks of buttons with a better hierarchy, instantly making the interaction between the user and the system more intuitive. The idea that user can initiate and look at multiple applications at once just like physical files is also one of the features still present in modern productivity-focused VR/AR experiences, also enhanced by the better graphical and informational processing power to make the interaction more straightforward.

Microsoft Hololens UI Design
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Hongye Sun