Monday, March 08, 2010

Tufte on Microsoft's Courier Concept

Great observations from Tufte on the Microsoft Courier. I love the video, but I think it's important to remember that this is still just a concept video - there are no products - yet. Microsoft should focus on getting the Windows Phone 7 Series (wonder what Tufte thinks of that clunky name?) out the door first. Click the Engadget link below to view photos and video of the Courier concept.

Ask E.T.: Microsoft's Courier digital journal
Here are videos and stills about Courier from engadget.

I think Courier (or at least the Courier pitch) looks very good, particularly its sense of hand and physicality. Courier appears to manage gracefully all kinds of information inputs, has an excellent metaphor (a notebook, a journal), and is crisp and clean. And it is all about content.

With its double-page spread design, the Courier metaphor is also the book, with obvious promise for electronic books (which will require a reasonably high-resolution screen).

It looks like a useful tool for artists and designers, and thus Courier should communicate with the Apple desktop. Courier will be pretty lonely if it is exclusive to Windows. Or maybe the cloud, which one hopes is OS agnostic, will cause appropriate communication and integration.

Probably the greatest challenge in interface design today is a journal notebook. For years, Microsoft, Apple, and many classes in industrial design have attempted to design a journal notebook. I hope that Courier survives intact, coherent, and focused during its journey through Microsoft, a journey with lots of possibilities for messing it up.

Also how close is the relationship between what is shown in the videos and the actual product in use?

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