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Old 08-29-2007, 01:38 PM   #1
nathany
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Post Interface Design

Last night I was thinking about interfaces for ePaper applications, and was wondering what other developers have to say. I have never played with an iLiad or other E Ink device, so please excuse my ignorance.
"In thinking about applications for ePaper, I realized we need a whole new way of handling the UI. Readability and power efficiency are paramount. Rather than scrolling, we should stick to page flipping. Windows and dialogs feel out of place.
"For data input, I envision filling in a circle with a stylus like those multiple choice tests in school. Forms with either lines or one-letter per box. Freeform handwriting would be preferable to an onscreen keyboard, but takes a lot of processing power unless there is a standard form as with Graffiti.
"Take a page from Circus Ponies’ Notebook, which uses a dynamically generated index as an alternative to the built in search feature. A Bible application could have a good old concordance at the back.
A device with a paper display needs software that bridges the gap, creating an interface that feels like paper, but still has the dynamic abilities of an application."
The full article is on my blog.
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Old 08-30-2007, 10:13 AM   #2
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The iLiad actually implements some of those ideas/concepts.

Just about everything is based on pages, from the configuation application, to the directory browsing, to reading. With all of these, you use the pagebar to "flip" from one page to another to access other files, settings, etc.

The iLiad does have full handwriting recognition. It uses a pop out keyboard application, so it's not exactly writing in a box on the screen, but it works well enough.

I think there are a few Bible's available for moibpocket, A study application hasn't been ported yet, but I don't think it'd be too difficult if it's written in GTK.
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Old 08-31-2007, 11:20 AM   #3
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thanks | off-topic

Thanks for the insight Adam... the iLiad definitely sounds cool. Though with Vizplex devices coming soon, I wonder when iLiad will get it's next update.
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Old 09-02-2007, 03:38 AM   #4
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The next hardware update? Sometime this year, in theory. Nothing too radical, though - just a somewhat "beefier" battery, really.

I don't really think the VizPlex screens are going to make any practical difference to anyone using an eInk machine. An increase in contrast of 35% to 40% is barely noticeable, and although double the speed of page refreshes is nice, for the vast majority of uses of the iLiad, the current speed is just fine.
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Old 09-17-2007, 11:24 AM   #5
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Regarding the desire for Visplex. Compare the specs for the Iliad display and the new Visplex ones. The Iliad display is in some ways better as the iliad display can achieve twice as many grey levels as the Visplex screen. Personally the update speed doesn't really bother me when it comes to reading. But if there is a desire for more complicated UIs then the faster update could help.

Size is an issue however, I'm guessing that currently the size is limited by the fragile nature of the glass display. The second you get above the current Iliad display size the glass screen would start to get very easy to break.

Thoughts?
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Old 09-17-2007, 11:45 AM   #6
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Vizplex isn't inherently limited to 4 shades, the current crop of controllers only does 4 shades. I guess Vizplex caught the display driver designers napping.

The six inch screens are plastic fronted ... I don't know about the backplanes though. I believe the iLiad has a glass front because of it's wacom panel, to allow for the stylus friction, I mean. In any case, my 12.1 inch tablet screen is glass fronted, and seems to have no problem with fragility, so I'm not sure that's the hold up.
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Old 09-17-2007, 02:05 PM   #7
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All the current Visplex devices are using the old 4-level controller. E Ink has announced a new controller that will support 8 grey levels (and bigger screens, i.e. more pixels). So the delay in larger Visplex screens may be partially controller related.

As I understand it, the iLiad screen is E Ink but the controller is from iRex and that is why it has been the only one supporting a larger screen and 16 grey levels. However, I have not seen a clear explanation of where the iLiad screen comes from (perhaps there was one before I started monitoring the iLiad threads).
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