Information is displayed on a virtual plane, infinite in size. Your local machine is an island of content. Other islands might be the LAN, the Web, etc. As you zoom closer, documents appear, and as soon as text gets readable, it can be edited.
This takes advantage of our orientation capabilities. Pages with links or files in a directory structure are likened to a maze, instead. Spatial orientation, landmarks -- stuff humans are good at -- are no longer useful in such environments. The Zooming Interface Paradigm allows humans to use these capabilities.
Other ideas: A button has a descriptive text on it. As you zoom closer and closer, more descriptive help becomes available.
A Flash demonstration can be tried at http://rchi.raskincenter.org/demos/zoomdemo.swf.
Is this exactly the same as "SemanticZooming?"? If so, I propose we move the contents of this page under that title as there are already backlinks to that page and it doesn't have the word "paradigm" in the title. ;) -- SunirShah, author of page "ParadigmShift" so I speak as an expert.
SemanticZooming? seems to have broader application. The reason I chose the "Paradigm" in the title was the ZIP acronym JefRaskin used. Anyway, feel free to move stuff around. -- AlexSchroeder
I actually read Chapter 6 in TheHumaneInterface, so I see the difference. My mistake. The concept of ZIP came up recently on the SIGIA list (subj: ZUI hatred), so perhaps we could summarize what was said here. --ss
This sounds a lot like AppleCorporation?'s old HotSauce? zooming interface, rendering data in MetaContentFormat? (some connection to RDF/RSS). http://vmacs.vmth.ucdavis.edu/notebook/test/105.html
MCF was the predecessor to RDF. I have a historical archive of some stuff about it (including downloadable HotSauce? browser plugins, if you want to try it out!) at http://downlode.org/etext/mcf/ . HotSauce? was great, it's a real shame Apple killed it. -- EarleMartin
Sun also had an implementation of a similar idea in Self, called Kansas (so named because Kansas is big and flat). Not so much focused on the zooming, but on an infinitely large desktop shared by everyone, with a "radar" (think "zoomed far out") widget to help navigate the desktop space. Not perfectly useful, though certainly more faster and more powerful than what Oak (later renamed Java) was capable of at the time.
A rough but usable implementation of ZIP can be found in Eagle Mode (http://eaglemode.sourceforge.net/).