is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Principal Designer at Adobe, Design Chair at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. Refer to the advertising and sponsorship page for inquiries.+
There have been disappointingly few apps that truly capitalize on the potential of the iPad as a personal computing platform. The criteria I would use here is simple: does the app do something that you can only do on the iPad, that you can’t do on a desktop or laptop, or even on an iPhone?
The unique app Liquid Text is one of these apps. Started as a doctoral project by founder and CEO Craig Tashman when he was Georgia Tech, Liquid Text adds a number of innovative direct manipulation features to the experience of reading documents. In fact, it’s more accurate to call LiquidText a research or working app than a reading app, as its value is in allowing the user to better use and understand the information and relationships that are most relevant to her in a text.
You can do more than just highlight information; you can make explicit and functional relationships between salient bits by simply drawing lines between them, or you can circle a chart and excerpt it instantly, or you can collapse whole passages or pages to condense content to just the essentials. This video captures some of this power in action; it’s notable that the features can be demonstrated without a voiceover and with only the briefest of text explanations, as the value of the features is powerfully self-explanatory. It’s also clear that this kind of product could only happen on an iPad.
More information at liquidtext.net.+