Breaking the Surface on CNN

Back in July I posted about Microsoft’s Surface technology. Tonight while watching the election results on CNN, I think I saw that technology in use. The reporter was standing in front of a large flat panel display and on the screen was a collection of photos scattered about like they were tossed on a table. She touched a photo to bring it to the front and then using her fingers at opposite corners of the photo, dragged them out to enlarge the photo. Then performing the opposite motion to shrink the photo before moving on to the next.

The photographer in me said “wow, that’s a cool example use of that the Surface technology!”.

The software professional in me said “I wonder how much one party paid the other to demo this technology in a very public way?”. Even thought I don’t know for sure, I’ve done deals that like myself in the past and I am fairly sure there was some creative product placement deal struck between Microsoft and CNN (or Time Warner).

The sad thing, is that I bet most of the viewing audience didn’t really notice what was happening. That is the beauty of a well designed and intuitive user interface, it’s nature and second nature…

3 thoughts

  1. You said >> The sad thing, is that I bet most of the viewing audience didn’t really notice what was happening. That is the beauty of a well designed and intuitive user interface, it’s nature and second nature…

    I’ve seen this CNN thing. Please don’t confuse the “viewer” and the “user.” The user is the person on the CNN set. The news anchor. Maybe they have been provided with a great user interface for the operation of the system. Perhaps. But as a “viewer”, I’ll never know, nor should I care. As a “viewer” CNN has done a terrible job (IMHO) of creating a easy-to-uderstand palette of information. They zoom around too much, cram too much on the screen. It’s like a really, really bad PowerPoint presentation with too much animation, and too much small print. I believe the CNN presentation of materials to their viewers on this thing will change dramatically as “the best political team on tv” sees that their viewers are changing the channel in droves.

    [Reply]

  2. You said >> The sad thing, is that I bet most of the viewing audience didn’t really notice what was happening. That is the beauty of a well designed and intuitive user interface, it’s nature and second nature…

    I’ve seen this CNN thing. Please don’t confuse the “viewer” and the “user.” The user is the person on the CNN set. The news anchor. Maybe they have been provided with a great user interface for the operation of the system. Perhaps. But as a “viewer”, I’ll never know, nor should I care. As a “viewer” CNN has done a terrible job (IMHO) of creating a easy-to-uderstand palette of information. They zoom around too much, cram too much on the screen. It’s like a really, really bad PowerPoint presentation with too much animation, and too much small print. I believe the CNN presentation of materials to their viewers on this thing will change dramatically as “the best political team on tv” sees that their viewers are changing the channel in droves.

    [Reply]

  3. JB,

    I’m not confusing the “viewer” and the “user”. With regards to the the CNN anchor that was viewing photos, I doubt that any of the viewing audience would notice that this is the Microsoft Surface technology. Or, more correctly, the photo viewing option of Surface (Surface is a lot, lot more than that according to the MS website talking about the technology).

    The point I was making was that if this was a deal struck between MS and CNN to get a Surface user to use it publicly, it isn’t doing anything for increasing the awareness of Surface because the viewing audience doesn’t know it’s Surface. It was a poorly constructed deal…

    On your point of the news media (CNN for specific) presenting news information in a way that is easily consumable, I agree with you. They are currently failing with too much Hollywood and not enough real substance. I often wonder if the increased flash it to distract the general public from the lack of content or real news reporting…

    That’s why I don’t watch CNN very often. (Honestly, I only saw this because I was at the pub having a pint with a friend and it was on.) Personally, I tend to get most of my information from NPR/BBS/various Internet sites, and the majority comes over the radio because they can’t do special effects and you have to focus on the content.

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Human Test * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.