What is Focus-n?
Focus-n is a project aimed to the design and implementation of a software system that will allow common users to integrate and manage all kinds of information within one single application.
Who promotes Focus-n?
The idea of Focus-n originated in 2009, from the research activity of two professors at the Spanish university Universitat Rovira i Virgili (www.urv.cat), Santiago Romaní and Carlos García-Barroso. Later on, in 2012, Santiago co-founded, jointly with his two brothers, David and Jordi, a software business called Flexible User Experience SL (www.flux.cat), to promote the fulfillment of the project. After several years of design and development, with the direct support of the university, the project couldn't become a commercial product, because it is very complex and we ran out of financial resources.
Currently, FLUX is dedicated to tailored web-based and mobile applications, and the project basically is a bunch of nice ideas for improving user interaction and information handling. Nevertheless, Santiago still believes that it is interesting to publish such ideas, in case that somebody finds them useful enough to put the effort in bringing them to a real and useful software. That's why we maintain this web page.
Why we started Focus-n?
Our main concern is the usability and user experience of Information Technology. Thus, we aimed to create a software platform that simplifies and enhances the everyday work with IT systems, since we noted that many people have significant difficulties in handling current software systems (see 'Users' handicaps').
Main idea of Focus-n
To manage any kind of information, we propose to build documents by hierarchical aggregation of objects of specific types (text, image, table, expression, etc.). At any time, the system will show just the functions associated with the type of the object in focus (see 'Proposal overview').
What does the name stand for?
FOCUS is an acronym for Framed Object Contextual User System, while it also refers to the info focusing feature. The n postfix stands for sequential versions (Focus-0, Focus-1, ...).
Current status of Focus-n
We developed a small prototype but its functionality is still too simple to be useful. Since the system is very complex, we have created some videos to simulate, approximately, how Focus-n should work (see 'Simulation features').
We have filled a US patent application to protect the new ideas behind the project (US13/908,988). However, our claims weren't accepted by the USPTO. Although we think the reasons for rejection are wrong, we decided to abandon the application due to lack of financial resources.
Currently, Universitat Rovira i Virgili owns full rights on the project, but they agreed to allow third party developers to release software based on the project under some kind of open source license (typically, GPL2), provided that they have explicit permission of the university. In case you are interested to contribute, please send an e-mail to email@example.com.