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Multitouch software: Navigation hierarchies of applications

The concept of navigation for the whole application is based on the zoom-in and zoom-out gestures for multi-touch surfaces. Such gestures are generally available on all multi-touch devices and are the most familiar to users.

The concept of the “main menu” can be completely replaced by the zooming gestures, enabling the user to move from one level of hierarchy to another just by changing the scale of presentation.

The universe presented to the user contains two types of objects – normal objects and “magic” or portal objects that contain an entire new world within. Depending on the object, the globe’s zooming operation can produce two different kinds of results:


•    A normal object supports normal zooming (i.e.: zooming out from an island on the map or zooming in to increase scale of an image on the monitor on the bridge)
•    Zooming into a portal object zooms into a new space (i.e.: zooming into the bridge door lets the user enter the bridge and see the devices on the captain’s desk)


The portals and their interactions with users make hierarchy more intuitive and obvious. The concept makes the navigation system similar to such devices as iPhone and iPad, rather than the standard computer applications.

The top level of the hierarchy is represented by the Multitouch Earth application, presenting the map of the Earth and allowing user to navigate the oceans and seas. The objects on the map are placed based on their geographical coordinates.


The GPS coordinates of the ship place the ship on its correct position on the map along its route.

The map is a “normal object”. Zooming gestures have obvious effect. Zoom in will lower user’s view of the Earth surface. Zoom out will move user further away from the surface.

The only “magic” object on the map is the image of the ship. It is a picture about 3 cm long, which makes zooming into it consistently simple and allows user to enter into a new “space” – the interior of the ship.

View of Earth on the Globe
View of Multitouch Earth


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