I continued the idea of constructing the UI around radio buttons, this time quite literally. I took the spinning dash idea and applied it this time to a familiar medium, a web app.
In this idea, the user would be able to select the planet in the solar system they wanted to be as the observer with the super powerful telescope (left) and select the planet they were looking at (right). The combination of these two selections would dictate the speed of the black spinning dash. The Neilson Norman Group have a great on radio button state defaults hugely useful for this interface. For the user to full appreciate the concept of special relativity in this UI, they need to actively select different options to be given a contrasting animation speed in response form the UI. By default, to provide this interface with no options selected would communicate noting t the user in regards to the purpose of the interface. As per the NNG article, having options selected by default, in this case communicates the possible reward for the interaction desired from the user.
People were much more receptive to these ideas, and said this was the clearest and most understandable they’ve seen the project yet, great! But they also said that the sense of distance in the space-time concept was lost here. This is true, and this entire project has been a balance between realism and understandability.