As I write this post, I am watching music videos in the lower right hand corner (PIP Style) using Joost.
Simply, Joost is television broadcast over the internet. They have managed to ink deals with major and minor content providers like MTV, Comedy Central and Warner Brothers. Just like regular television there are commercials. But the format is more like on demand cable channels. You choose what you want to watch and commercials come on between programs and periodically in the middle of longer programs. Besides Programming, each channel has a chat room and message board to make the experience more interactive.
The UI for Joost is pretty impressive. I know it was not created using Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), but it got me thinking we are probably on the verge of paradigm shift when it comes to UI design. The tools that will enable designers to craft stunning interfaces are becoming mainstream.
I remember my first tech job as an web producer, a.k.a." HTML code monkey" at GORP.com. A graphic designer would print out her design crafted in Photoshop, complete with web safe colors and pixel heights and width for each table. Those pages turned out great, and I was able to build them quickly. That was the last job I had where I had access to a professional graphic designer. In all the other positions I had, in the best situations we had screens designed by professional firms, but for most instances I had to use my own intuition to craft screens.
About two weeks ago I first tried to design a WPF form using XAML. If you haven't seen any of the WPF demos, or silverlight demos checkout this link. In my tinkering I was able to use these bleeding edge tools that are designed specifically to make it easier to create stunning user interfaces to create one of the more ugly user interfaces imaginable. To be fair I was using Visual Studio.Net and not Expression Blend which is better suited for UI design.
With technologies like WPF developers will be able to leverage 3D effects, Vector graphic and animations. And although this will lead to some of the most impressive UI's ever dreamt about, I am sure it will also lead to some of the most hideous as well. Like the saying goes: You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.
If you need an invite for Joost, reply to this post or use the Contact me feature in the main navigation area. I will do my best to accommodate you.