Does anyone else remember the perimeter defense hacking scene in the originalĀ Jurassic Park? The interface that the young girl character had to work through was a 3D file system for unix called FSN (like the image below), which I think looks like a 3D version of a site map.

An image of an example 3D unix-based file system.

An example 3D unix-based file system. Look at those pretty, web 2.0 colors.

Now, two-dimensional navigation is tradition. It’s familiar, but a little tame. Talented developers are rolling out shiny interfaces using HTML5 and its spouse, CSS3, but I propose a push for more. Let’s bypass a step in user experience evolution and pay mind to some cool, if a little half-baked idea I saw in a dinosaur flick!


So I introduce 3D environmental navigation, which I lovingly call EnviroNav, using visual perspective as another factor in site hierarchy, along with color, size, style, etc. Instead of moving “back” and “forward” like pages through a book, humans can browse a site, application or any other complex, interactive system by moving left, right, forward, backward, into, out of, up and down, in and throughout.

A color sketch of a 3D environmental navigation example.

A rough sketch of what environav could look like.

All this, and not mentioning the gaming aspect, the pure fun of navigating known sites in a new way. Want to re-invent the novelty of the Internet, circa 1999? Give this a shot, and let me know how it goes!