I’ve noticed a new trend from a number of clients –  wanting to jump out of the generic day to day familiar internet browsing and put more time into re envisioning of what we can now do with latest web technologies, to take UX to the next level. Features like Drag and drop, internal popups, multilingual integration, mashups, user customisation of web site portlets – just doesn’t seem to give clients & users that added Wow factor… They still want more, with the latest and greatest technology; whilst still receiving full cross browser support with even unsupported Microsft browsers like IE6.

This has got me thinking.. Now we all know that  mobility is now the new kid on block. Presentations are no longer done from laptops, just hand out an ipad or xoom device to the client and let them play. Boom, you’ve won the contract, well almost… It’s now coming to the point where they are bored of seeing the recognised intuitive standards of skinned dropdown navigations, meganavs/footers, breadcrumbs integrated portlets of content. But as you can see both Adobe and Microsoft have been pushing the ability to step away from this for years and create an improved layer of interactivity with Flash and Silverlight (samples). If it’s done right you can certainly hear the ooohs and “wow thats awesome” but as announced by Silverlight they are moving to the mobile platform and away from desktop integrations. Leaving flash and well we know Apple and Adobe flash don’t see eye to eye.. This bring us to the newest member on the team HTML5, canvas, SVG and the way in which the world of front end developers are heading.

I’ve worked with HTML5 quite a lot ,writing modules to use with canvas and SVG.
Yes, I even have canvas working in IE6 – Thanks to AJ on this.. Go try the Fishbowl Labs polar clock count down!

What I’ve been thinking about is how can we reinvent WebCenter and thinking of discussion with previous clients and thoughts of “No way.. you just can’t do this”, that I’ve had in the past and actually take it to the next level of user interaction..? This is just vaporware at the moment.. I was thinking of why not reinvent WebCenter Spaces as a city.. yes I can see your expression, and see you thinking what I was thinking during those fun meetings I had in the past..

Yes I did say it.. Convert WebCenter Spaces to a generated virtual world to interact with..
Imagine google earth integration and something like this –

Each Group Space is considered as a tower block.
When you enter the space you are entering the reception area.

Each floor of the block is a sub space and each subspace of that is a connecting room.
When you enter a space each page is actually an area of the room that you can interact with.. To see activity stream, BI reports and all the taskflows that we have available..

Here is a very quick and rough visual of how I see it working.


First the map a cross between google maps / earth integration but not so cluttered.
With the ability to hover over building and display related updates, info, alerts.

Maybe a simple isometric world made from cubes with a sign outside showing building (space) name and when you mouse over the levels the name of the main subspace.

When you enter / zoom into a SubSpace floor your rooms are displayed and you can click to enter the room and view the taskflows associated to that section / page of the site.

We don’t want graphics teams to manually generate the city so all this would be programmatically created with canvas.
If your having similar experiences or working on a crazy WebCenter project with a unique UX; I’d love to discuss and share thoughts on this with you.