Sliders are the key

At dinner a couple weeks ago when I was in SF, David Weinberger and Peter Merholz came up with the silver bullet of interaction design: Sliders! All interaction that is a selection should be a slider! Amazon is on the same wavelength, their new AJAX diamond search is sliderlicious heaven! [update: this is all in fun, sliders do have issues, see comments for more.]

Seriously, it's a great AJAX example. Still seriously, there's issues (like showing active options that don't actually exist - set the price to $100-$1000, and the next slider, for carats, doesn't show you what the carat range is that intersects with the 'under a thousand dollar' price. Greying out the inapplicable options, and moving the slider to the top of the actual carat range of sub-$1000 rocks would be good).

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Silver bulllet? Please.

Sliders have been around in desktop (and even mobile - think Newton) applications, and even old DHTML (back before it had a fancy new name) for years and years now. That said, I don't think David and Peter came up with any IxD silver bullet. I love Peter (don't know David) as much as the next guy, but he's definitely not breaking any new ground talking about sliders.

Sliders have their place (such as Flickr's Organizr, which has also been around for quite some time now using Flash), and as we see less limitation with designing and building web-based applications due to bandwidth and technology contraints, we'll see more and more desktop widgets and desktop-like functionalities creep their way across that ever-greying line between "traditional" and "online" software. But to say that one particular element is the end-all way to provide functionality to a particular problem - especially on a web site where non-IA folks go to garner information and see what We The Designers are up to, seems irresponsible and willy-nilly to me.

To end on a positive note, I agree about the Amazon thing being cool, except that it doesn't work on Safari... ;-)

It's funny - laugh....

Sorry if the humor missed you - David and Peter were reacting to the overuse of sliders, and decided that sliders should be used for all 'choosing' interactions as a joke. There is no claim of invention, just the designation of the slider as the 'silver bullet of choice'.

Sliders are *not* a silver bullet, and often introduce problems that a series of radio buttons wouldn't. But that Amazon app is cool...

As we know, everything is about context...

... including blog posts!

Here: ha!

The humor definitely missed me. These days, one has to be careful posting thoughts from Peter (or anyone from Adaptive Path) - the next thing I know, every client wants sliders... or I spend the next two years removing sliders from broken software... I mean, have you seen how many developer jobs require "AJAX" suddenly? Even though it's been around for years?!

Maybe you like the diamonds more than the Amazon app? ;)