“We are starting to imagine a drag and drop world where we simply push and pull the content we want into the technical platforms and the locations we want to consume them. I envision a simple cluster of icons on my desktop that lets me drag my video and audio content onto emblems for car, TV, stereo, iPod, iPhone, etc. This is what I want; you tech dweebs figure out how to do it.” Steve Smith
Nice idea, but what I want from – “drag and drop” – starts a little before having it implement at the device level. For me it starts with the design question – function or form – which comes first. When I look at my blank Zude page – I have to imagine what I want people to do when they arrive, then what it looks getting it done. I take it a little deeper in the sense that try to encourage “active reading”, which means that I’m placing more of a burden on the reader than to simply to act as audience or spectator for a static meaning that I the author have defined. Designing on Zude has to accommodate a special kind of openness that takes advantage of the gaps and play between the elements. So it has to be intuitive, if not outright fun.
It has be fast, not only foolproof but stupid-resistant, and certainly faster than writing code with a keyboard even through it does have to permit you to write code if necessary – which Zude does. But making things “drag and drop” easy on the surface requires a sophisticated programming backend to make it work – that’s the magic – making it stupid-resistant.
Zude takes the first definitive steps into bringing that type of interface to the Internet – be sure that more will follow (the true testament its wonder), allowing you to drag and drop images, text, widgets, YouTube embeds codes, and even whole web sites on to the blank canvass.
That may not be enough to make you switch exclusively from, say Facebook or LinkedIn to Zude, but that’s not really the point. Zude is not a social networking crowd, but it does let you bring the crowd into see the total you, which those other sites don’t or more truly can’t. It’s intriguing enough to make you consider drawing your Facebook, LinkedIn, or other contacts into Zude and making your brand accessible to them in a whole new way. Your way!! So the form you choose can not be ordained by preset page templates, which all the other sites force on you, Zude’s drag and drop interface lets you, the user, decide what your page (actually pages) should look like and more importantly what it says about you for a public to read.
One of the common functions of a web page on a social network is to share your favorite links with others, most of the time people arriving on your page have no idea which of those links actually inform what you do or think. They just seat there, colored lines that whisk your viewer off to some place of marginal non contextual status.
In Zude, you just drag a website URL from one browser window and drop it right onto your Zude page. Whenever Zude detects an incoming web link, it prompts you to choose the form of the link, namely: A standard text link containing the URL, a standard button labeled with the URL, or an embedded web site which places the browser window right onto the page. Embedding can be very useful for frequently used if the subject states something foundational that makes clear something firmly attached to your way so seeing the world.
Of course an embedded site is not very space efficient, which is why you have the option of instead creating a button or a text link that opens that web resource – like a canvass you have to respect the borders of the frame. Like all Zude objects, these links are fully customizable, so you can change the text and color to suit your wishes.
Working with images in Zude
You can drag and drop images from other websites, making it easier than ever to decorate your own web page. Looking for a modern dancer? Just do a search in Google Images and drag the results from the browser window onto your Zude page. Want to set an image as wallpaper instead? Just hold down the [Ctrl] key while you drag and drop. Zude takes care of the rest.
Zude’s DropZone technology even allows you to drag local images from your hard drive onto your Zude page (one at a time – I’d like to see that changed to multiple uploads), though not all browsers fully support this yet. Once on your Zude page, images can be resized (this is another one of points you might like to do before bringing it to your page – photo retouching or other editing tricks need to be done before you get to Zude), or decorated with header/footer captions, or assigned actions that respond to clicks, double clicks, mouse over, etc. There are many different ways to make an image your own… even when it isn’t (I suggest Gimp 2).
Working with multimedia in Zude
At this point you can probably guess that you decorate your Zude pages with your favorite videos just by dragging and dropping them onto the page. (You’d be right, too.) Just do a search on YouTube of your favorite bands or comedian and then drag and drop the URL as a link onto the page. Whenever you click on that link, Zude will launch the video – No more searching! Zude has its own Video and Music Players – but I have not figured out yet how to utilize them to the same extent as using other players For those who like their information up to the minute, Zude also supports RSS feeds that you can just drag onto your page to keep you aware of the latest news, sports, weather, or the stock market.
Although Zude is a technology product in itself, that almost gets lost in the intuitiveness of its “drag and drop” interface. Instead it comes across as a facilitator or canvass for other technologies… something that allows you to put many different elements on the same page in a precise way. Back to my original concern of Form or Function Zude lets you enjoy them without having to be mired in the dualist dilemma. You can, like I am use Zude in an iterative fashion of bring multiple web sites into test them out. It lets us hunt and gather from the web. The fact that it lets us do this with the simplicity of moving a mouse is icing on the cake. And those who could care less about drag and drop will find that Zude responds equally well to “copy and paste”.