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'Sideshow' should inform without distracting

'Sideshow' should inform without distracting

In an official PDF document from Microsoft, the research group of the software giant describes its latest findings on the subject of 'How and when do I draw someone's attention to something without distracting them too much from their current activity'.

To explain this in more detail, the following example is given: People want to be constantly informed about as many things as possible, such as when they receive a new e-mail. Either visual or acoustic means can be used to alert the user to this event. But regardless of which solution you choose, the user will always be distracted from his previous activity. Thus, according to the information in said document, the advantage of references to current events, namely that the user turns to another activity, is also its greatest disadvantage.

The solution is seen in making the user aware of various events through changes in his environment. The best example of this is that a computer user working near a window knows about the local weather conditions at all times, without being distracted by noticing this condition. Microsoft's envisaged goal is to make the user aware of something in the future by changing the ambient conditions instead of distracting him with a message that comes to the fore, even if it is only in the form of a yellow info box at the right end of the taskbar.

Here, probably with one of the next Windows versions, Microsoft's latest invention with the name 'Sideshow' should come into play, taking the following design principles into account: Since one wants to make use of the user's perception of the environment, so must permanently a certain area on the screen for the appropriateInformation be reserved. And in order not to deprive the user of his concentration with flickering advertising banners, the screen content in this area should hardly change during work. I take advantage of the fact that a lot of the information is represented by numbers and, as any user of a Windows-like desktop can confirm, it has not distracted anyone so far when the clock integrated into the taskbar is doing its job. With the information illustrated by images, which take up several pixels, the goal of attracting as little attention as possible is achieved by only updating the content at relatively large time intervals.

Another goal was to make the information provided by SideShow fully adaptable to individual needs. The current share prices do not necessarily have to take up a certain portion of the screen space if the user has absolutely nothing to do with them. A feature without “SideShow” probably having no right to exist is that you can get further information about a SideShow element by clicking on or moving the mouse. That actually sounds less revolutionary, but it also means that instead of having to open Outlook, only the relevant window with the email overview is displayed.

A good example of the exploitation The perception of the environment shows photos of the people in the messenger's buddy list. When the buddies are online they look at you, but when they are not available online, they look to the side. Whether you are really subconsciously aware of whether a buddy is ready to talk or not will only be shown by a test. This idea is always interesting to become a data protection officerHowever, we immediately complain that Microsoft is then theoretically able to assign a picture to a large number of messenger users.

In order not to lose track of a large amount of information, the same can be grouped and if desired 'Collapsed' so that only the title of the group is visible. However, Microsoft is not only satisfied with the states folded in and unfolded, but wants to implement intermediate stages in which only the most important information is displayed or images are shown reduced in size.

SideShow is a sidebar like the Windows taskbar - of course with different content - but Microsoft hopes that the well thought-out concept of SideShow will gain broad acceptance among users. So that the user can choose between as much information as possible to be displayed, a SideShow SDK (Self Development Kit) should enable people with knowledge of C ++ or HTML to create their own modules, so-called “tickets”, for the SideShow. According to Microsoft, these should then be offered for download on Internet sites that provide the corresponding content. But even without the help of third-party authors, the user can add new features to SideShow. For example, he can create a ticket that continuously draws attention to the current highest bid of an eBay auction of interest to him.

A study carried out internally among Microsoft employees is said to have shown that SideShow from a clear majority of User has been accepted, but you have to note that a not to be underestimated number of testers used SideShow anything but daily. This can be concluded from the fact that only 51.8% have used the tool at least once in 14 days. The feature that was most positively received is the simplified handling of theE-mail and calendar management, the main reason for rejecting SideShow's technical deficiencies, which have now allegedly been eliminated.

What should be clear now is that Microsoft has patented its development at least that's what the text on the splash screen of the first screenshot strongly suggests. One thing should certainly be clear in view of this innovation. Microsoft continues to focus on the development of the PC as a multimedia control center for everyday human life. A constant internet connection seems to be a mandatory requirement for such a feature.

SideShow in action No. 1
Functions explained
Outlook implementation
Calendar implementation
Update

As known today rde, SideShow should already be included in Microsoft's own Internet Explorer add-on MSN Explorer 8.0, which was announced a few days ago. In order to further promote the distribution of the product, according to unconfirmed information, it will also be part of Microsoft Office.NET!