Index / Flux

Today's browsers are rigid. Websites are arranged in one-dimensional tabs and browser history is expressed through plain lists and a linear back-and-forth.

Flux is an experimental web browser that rethinks the browser as a spatial tool and explores interactions and expressions that emerge with it.

SyntaxDescription
ContextFluid Assemblages course at Umeå Institute of Design, December 2021
TutorsHeather Wiltse, Christoffel Kuenen
ExecutionPrototypes and Chrome extension built with React

The browser as a spatial tool. In Flux, websites are drawn onto an infinite canvas, which allows i.a. positioning and grouping of individual websites. Video snippet of a working prototype.



Websites as fluid elements

In Flux, websites are treated as fluid, changing elements. This mental model allowed the exploration of different interactions based on metaphors.

🪣 Containing a fluid. Similar in how you can scoop water into a bucket to contain it, entire canvases can be contained and put aside. By separating elements onto different canvases, we can create mental buckets of the web.

🧊 Freezing a fluid. Some websites are fluid — content we see today, might be changed or gone in the next day or even next time we're visiting the website. In Flux, websites can be frozen. Otherwise fluid data is turned into a rigid copy that is stored locally and can be viewed anytime — until it is thawed, making it fluid and dynamic again.

Browser history

One of the shortcomings of today's browsers is the browser history. Navigating back and forth between sites is linear and tracing back where we're coming from is difficult.

Explicit traces. In Flux, navigating through hyperlinks creates explicit traces that maps our browser history as individual nodes, where each node is dependent on its parent.

Anticipating next steps. By parsing all links on the current page, Flux offers a selection to

The browser as an API

What if the canvas was exposed as an API to both the user and the website? What if not only the user could interact with the canvas, but websites could do the same? This way, individual websites and platforms could offer rich, contextual actions which could take advantage of the browser's spatial features.

Example of the canvas API: A news site displaying related articles to enhance the reader's reading experience.

Inspiration

This project is inspired and build upon ideas from other projects such as 'The web browser as a tool for thought', Rauno Freiberg's tweet about browsing on a spatial canvas and spatial platforms such as sprout.place.