Interface Depth of Field

20 December 2007

All this attention put into so-called usability and OS developers still aren’t taking advantage of depth of field. Why not, instead of changing colors, borders, and shadows, use a blur technique for inactive windows? It’s already built into Mac OS (ala Core Image) so why not utilize it? I’m not a developer, so maybe I’m missing something.

Interface depth of field example

It wouldn’t have to be much. In the example above I used a value of 0.5 (of Photoshop’s “Gaussian Blur” effect) – and it’s almost too much. The effect is visually appealing as eye-candy, yes, but is also useful in determining focus more immediately. Of course, it could even be provided as a user preference, allowing for greater or lesser blur for inactive windows. It could even be applied to the desktop and its icons.

And while we’re on the subject of the desktop, another question: Why not allow for a user to evoke Exposé’s “Desktop” state when clicking on [an unoccupied spot on] the desktop? (App idea?)