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Direct manipulation on the web

I stumbled across tool-man.org which demonstrates a couple of direct manipulation tasks implemented with javascript and CSS.

I found it when I started to think about a way to reorder paragraphs on a site by direct manipulation. The idea came from the thought that although the web is non-linear in many aspects, an isolated page is still pretty often ordered in a linear fashion. Even if the visitors do not follow the rules (e.g. they might read the comments and follow the links before they read the post on a blog) there is still a visible structure.

One way to reduce the structure of content could be to allow the users to reorder the page and save the changes. A news paper could for example let the visitors reorder the sections in the way they like.

The fun part in this is that the freedom (or responsibility) of the consumer (i.e. the visitor) would increase radically. As an author you could write something in one way and then release it to see what the best appreciated structure would look like.

If I can find the time, and still think this is a good idea next week, I might try to make an editable page, just to test the concept.

Reader comments

  1. Check out google news for a content restructure tool. Basic customization, and so the structuring is not very "direct manipulation" and a little cumbersome, but still, it's a start. They let you reorganize in a quite restricted way. I think that's a very interesting subject, how much freedom will site owners give away?

    18th April 2005, 01:03 CET. 

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Created 14th April 2005 21:04 CET. Filed under Javascript and DOM, Interaction design.

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