Raskin simplifies interaction with computer files

Macworld Australia Staff
3 September, 2010
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Press Release

Spatial memory at core of user experience

ZURICH, Switzerland, – August 17, 2010 – Today, Raskin Software LLC announces the arrival of its zoomable single surface desktop software application. An alternative to Finder on the Mac, Raskin simplifies interaction with your computer.

Raskin was named after and inspired by the work of Macintosh visionary Jef Raskin. “We developed a crude prototype back in 2002 after reading Raskin’s book, The Humane Interface,” says Raskin’s Chief Software Engineer, Martin Halter. “To quote Jef himself: ‘A computer shall not waste your time or require you to do more work than strictly necessary.’ That’s very much what we’re trying to adhere to with Raskin.”

With minimal features, user experience is front of mind for Raskin’s team of Swiss developers. Described by Macworld’s Stuart Gripman as a “huge sliding, zooming bulletin board with buttery smooth animated transitions,” and by OSX Magazine as “a revolutionary app,” Raskin’s strongest selling point may be how closely it resembles the physical world, albeit flattened. By seeing the contents of the computer on one surface, users can rely on visual and spatial memory to find documents. Once a file is located, the user can zoom-in to preview the document before opening.

“It’s a productivity tool for the future,” says Raskin Co-Founder, Michael Rosewich. “Apart from usability addicts, early adopters will likely be people who work in the creative industry. Photographers, art directors, graphic designers and the like who are by default visual people. When you’re trying to find things it helps when you can see what you’re looking for. That’s something most people will find useful.”

Navigating Raskin on a MacBook Trackpad or with Apple’s new Magic Trackpad on a Desktop will be familiar to iPhone and iPad users. “The gestures are all the same, so it’s immediately friendly to use,” says Gregor Battig, Raskin’s Head of Usability. “This puts Raskin on the right side of current trends in HID technologies and interface design.”

In April 2010, Google purchased a company called BumpTop, that had developed a 3D desktop alternative. And in late July, Jef Raskin’s son, Aza, who develops software for Firefox, released a beta version of Tab Candy – a plugin for the browser that picks up on many of the principles found in Raskin.

Raskin Version 1.0.2 is based on user feedback and input from the developer community, including Apple engineers the Raskin team met while attending WWDC10 this past June. This release improves stability, speed and performance for seamless navigation and a better user experience. Raskin has scheduled a major update with new features for late October, 2010.

Raskin is a zoomable desktop alternative to the Macintosh Finder that simplifies interaction with your computer.

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