I’m not sure about this one. While I agree that it’s often necessary to draw the user’s attention to a specific area of the screen or website, this looks like it has potential to be <BLINK> on steroids.
Anyway, from the introduction:
I was first introduced to the term "Locus" almost an year ago, when I attended a fascinating 2-day seminar with Prof. Jim Coplien on the subject of “Humane User Interfaces”. It was quite amazing to know that the design of user interfaces in software really hasn’t got that much attention and has a long way to go. Anyway, one of the key aspects in designing a good user interface is to understand how the human perception works. First of all, we humans have only one conscious (well, perhaps except for some lunatics ;)). In our mind, the thing that gets high conscious attention or most of our conscious attention is called the "Locus of attention".
Locus- Latin for "the place."
So our Locus is the place where our conscious/mind is set. It is the state of our mind. The Locus can change if an external event alarms our mind. For example: when we are reading a book, if a rapid ball of fire moves from right to left in the horizon, it is likely to catch our attention. This biological mechanism is built in us for survival. If a dangerous event happens, our mind pays attention to it since it is something that can kill us, harm us etc.
It is obvious that our Locus can be changed. This can be taken into consideration while designing a user interface that requires user’s attention. But usually it is misused or overly used; causing distracted user interfaces that makes us unproductive and tired. Modal forms attract our locus but since they are so repetitive and since they block our work we tend to click OK automatically and close these nags. Locus changes should be done as and when needed with great care and thought. If the locus changes for a brief time, our productivity is not harmed but after that we loose concentration in our previous task. Switching back to the previous task is quite slow and causes productivity problems.