We Program Managers are always looking for the latest technology, trends and designs that will be enable us to deliver our vision of the feature to our users in its simplest and most powerful form.
I was doing some research on tilt UI and physics UI and I came across this site, which in my opinion is one of the best implemented:
Now clearly this cannot be used to navigate your source tree, unless it is very small, but you can extract a set of design ideas from it. Let me give you some of the examples that I think make this implementation a good one:
Simplicity - there is no application junk hanging around the site, the content is the UI and nothing distracts you
Color - the background color plus highlight/ illumination centers you on the UI and since it is not static (moving elements) the navigation feel immersing. In regards to colors, I think the color and mood of a UI is one key element of a great looking application
Annotations - The orange callouts (Hot, 20) are a great simple way to get your attention while not distracting from the content. The help content that appears (zoom in, open) are also a great way to tell you what to expect from the click action.
So there you have it, a slick UI with lots of good elements that we can apply to our applications.