Real world to virtual world

technology

Just one more thing about the iPhone, and then I promise I'll shut up about it for at least a couple of minutes.

I noticed something while watching the photos video on the website for the phone functions. When you tap the button to send a photo by email, the following things happen: the background disappears and the photo reduces in size slightly (a visual clue to the fact that the photo is literally being downsized for sending by email, I think1) but stays visible, then the email page appears and zooms forwards as the photograph drops into place. It struck me that most other companies would do the same transition as follows: the whole screen goes black for a fraction of a second, and the email page with photograph in place is rendered (from top to bottom, probably).

So why am I twittering on about this tiny and seemingly insignificant thing, that could be dismissed as pointless eye-candy? It seems to me that it shows just how carefully they've thought about how we do these tasks naturally in real life, and the way that your brain, your hands and your eyes deal with the information. You've got a photograph (printed on paper) in your hand that you want to post to your Aunty Flo, so you take it over to a sheet of writing paper, on which you glue the photograph, writing your message above it. The object you're dealing with (the photograph) is in your sight the whole time, and thing you're adding it to (the paper) visually appears to increase in size beneath it until the two are in the same plane.

The iPhone version of the virtual world doesn't make you think, 'what was I doing?', or make you disconnect and reconnect to the task. I think that's impressive.

1 Quite clever in itself -- why put up a bit of text saying "Resizing photo..." when you can show it happening?

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