Skip to content

Category: Liquid | View

Criteria for Views for the Liquid | Author project


The Criteria for Views for the Liquid | Author project are based on the use case a student building a paper for advisors, external reviewers and the academic community at large.

A View simply refers to a visual way of displaying information. The primary information format here is text, with moving and still, 2D and 3D, interactive and passive imagery, music and at some point, haptics integrated. AR and VR are outside of initial focus but could well provide useful Views in the future. 

A workspace where the primary view can not be rolled into a Word Processing scrollable view (‘WP’) is outside of the views for this project and are covered by other projects such as Debate Graph, The Brain as well as many Mind and Concept Mapping solutions. 

The core view is the standard scrolling scroll used in word processing applications. The reason is not only that it is currently the view accepted by academia for a paper and thus connects into current workflows. It is also that this view provides an efficient use of space and is supportive of long form writing and reading. 


Any views must not interfere with other views.

All views must be instantly available, technically and interaction wise. 

The visual clarity of the view should not be sacrificed for clumsy functionality.

Interactions should be manual as well as criteria based, at will.

Please contribute: XX…

Initial Views

Word Processing/‘WP’

Traditional Word Processing ‘WP’ scrollable based views:


•  Show only Headings (outline, accessed through pinch)  

•  Show only sentences with (temporary re-formatting, accessed through selecting word and cmd-f)  

•  Colour keywords based on colour glossary   

•  Show only first sentence per paragraph

•  Flow; break the text on , and double break on . (etc.) for a more listy view


Timeline, based on time of creation of the document sections or reference in the body text to events which happened in time. This relates to the Time Browser Project:

Analysis Generated


Views generated based on semantic analysis of the document, such as:


•  Show Synopsis

Citation Views

Different means through which to show sources cited in the document in ways that are instantly accessible and verifiable.

Liquid | View

A view where headings from a word processing document can be re-arranged free-form across the screen, where placement is fluid and lines can be adde (manually or based on some criteria) to further show relationships. This is similar to a concept map but does not necessarily need line descriptions or arrows and it is similar to a mind map but does not need to have a central node. The document you are reading now is partly created from the thinking used to create:

Please note, these are initial thoughts, these are very much the interactions and implementations where the research needs to be focused:



•  As implemented in a 2D space  

•  As implemented in a 3D space

Manual Interactions


•  Basic interaction is to move any heading around in a view which is visually the same as the WP view with no clutter on the workspace. 

•  Drag from one heading to another and drop to create a connecting line. 

•  Option-Drag from one heading to another and drop to create a connecting line with an arrow. 

•  Drag a single heading/node to another location or include all subsections when dragging. 

•  Double click on a connecting line to give it a name/tag. 

•  Show all levels or hide below a certain level.

•  Hover over heading for access to further information and connections, such as following a link to another Liquid | View document.

Command Interactions


•  Show connections based on keywords from body text.

•  Show connections based on internal or external links.

Leave a Comment

Navigation & Digital Text. A Call to Action!

The Fundamentals

In order to move safely and efficiently through an environment we need to be able to propel ourselves forward, to look around the environment in order to understand what is going on and what is where, in order to generate an internal ‘map’ – and crucially – we need the ability to change direction based on our best understanding of the environment and our needs.

It’s not enough to simply move. It’s not enough to simply move and passively look.

The act of moving, seeing and changing direction must be done in concert. If not, then we are not navigating, we are simply stumbling around.

These are perhaps the most primitive and foundational principles of life on planet Earth, yet when it comes to moving through our information environment we spend most our effort on the first component, simple motion itself. We spend some effort on enhancing our ability to better understand what’s going on in the environment but we spend almost no effort on augmenting our ability to change direction.

By changing direction as a creature in a physical environment I mean having the agility to continuously update our internal maps and then twist and turn and use our muscles to go in new directions, jumping, running, walking, making turns, re-tracing steps and so on.

By changing direction as a creature in an information environment I mean having the agility to continuously update our internal maps and then twist and turn and use our brains to go in new directions.

If we do not apply this most basic principle to how we deal with information (or simply: Our understanding and perspective of this world) that would be insane, and insanity is how we choose to live: We move based on old impetus, we glance at the information to see whether it fits with our preconceptions so we can decide to ignore or use it as a foundation for our direction and we simply very rarely use our ‘potential’ view to augment our ability to change direction.

Towards a Solution

Moving towards directions to fix this is not hard, it’s not expensive and it does not require magic. We can go back to Piaget’s insights about how a child learns and we can take useful directions for this. Jean Piaget uses the term ‘assimilation’ to describe how a child takes in information which fits with the child’s internal map, or schema.

When something does not fit the child’s map, the process is referred to as ‘accommodation’. This can of course be a very taxing thing to do mentally when dealing with complex new information and this is why we simply don’t accommodate as much as we can, we often just choose to disregard the new information which doesn’t fit our mental maps – it’s simply too much work to try to modify our present understanding to make it fit or to reject it based on a thorough understanding of multiple aspects of the issue.

Visual Power

Joseph D. Novak took Piaget’s work into the visual realm and invented Concept Mapping in 1972 as a result. The idea is very simple though there are conventions which add to the power of the system and which constrains it, such as adding labels and arrows to the connecting lines.

The basic idea is to let the user put whatever knowledge they have on an issue onto cards (physical or virtual) which can then be laid out in patterns and lines can be drawn between them.

This then allows the user to organise their information visually and to see where there might be gaps and contradictions – using the powerful human visual processing system to augment their (relatively) tiny working memory.

This allows us to ‘see’ our own thoughts, which is a powerful tool to help us understand our own thoughts and how they relate to the available information about the world.

The result of this process is revelatory and useful, but it has a few downsides which need to be addressed: This view does not easily convey a narrative to guide a secondary reader, it does not support long-form writing and there are no common document formats to interchange the layout.


We should therefore make this type of view not it’s own piece of software but a view of text in a document, allowing the user to move between this ‘concept map’ view and the traditional word processing view.

It’s not enough to create a powerful visual mind map space living on its own, which takes time and effort to convert into and out of again, but like the agile creature moving through the forest, we need to be able to switch views without any perceived effort.

The Result

The result can be an ‘incredible’ thinking space where the user can really map out their understanding of their work and as a result more easily accommodate new perspectives and new knowledge.

The result is that assimilation and accommodation becomes much closer, as the user can better ‘see’ their own internal map laid out clearly before them and can manipulate it without the cognitive load it would take to do it all ‘in-mind’.

The result is we become quicker at changing our minds and hence increasing our capacity to better understand and act in the real world, not in the world of our prejudices, social, scientific or cultural.

I believe that we cannot afford to not invest in this direction.

A Proposal

I propose that we put real time, money and effort behind increasing our ability to see our own thoughts – and therefore have the ability to change them.

I’d like to invite you to Let’s invest in this through supporting my Author project where we are building a Liquid | View to provide such a free-form, multi-dimensional view of your information:

I’d further like to invite you to participate in our annual Future of Text Symposium

Let’s give ourselves a better view of our information and ourselves.


Frode Hegland
Trump Inauguration Day

1 Comment

Transition Tests for word processing view and liquid view 2

Having done some experiments it is very messy to transition from word processing view to the new view from full view so it looks like going via Table of Contents (ToC) view is a good way to do it, even if it’s only instantly in ToC view:

My conclusion for now then is that the transition should be a different command than into the ToC view, however the visual effect, whether the user initiates this when in ToC or regular view, should take the document and collapse it quickly into ToC and then instantly into the Liquid View.

Leave a Comment