Somebody (Instapundit?) linked to this piece by David Gelernter, who has some interesting ideas about online newspapers. Gelernter thinks they could be radically improved by introduction of a cardfile-like user interface that he describes in detail. He also links to Scopeware, a company he’s involved with that develops and markets UI software of the type he discusses.
The Scopeware UI paradigm seems like a natural. It also looks likes an evolutionary improvement on the UI designs we use in blogs. (Which raises a question of why Gelernter didn’t mention blogs as precursors and prototypes for the new newspaper paradigm he envisions.)
I’m eager to see if Gelernter’s UI comes eventually to be used by online newspapers, but I’d be more interested in seeing it applied to blogs right now. Blogging software such as Movable Type already makes it easy to aggregate data feeds, search posts and categorize them by theme — features Gelernter says are important (and they are, though most bloggers fail to make efficient use of them). How hard would it be to create a MT main index template and style sheet to display posts as an over-the-horizon cascade of index cards in the way Gelernter suggests? Not very, I’d bet. Maybe someone will do it, and maybe then, if it becomes a popular blog UI, newspapers will consider using it. I doubt the newspapers will be the first to introduce it, though.