Channels ▼

Jack Woehr

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers

OMG :) I'm a User!

January 13, 2010

I hate applications.

To use an application, you have to relearn to do some task just how someone else decided you should do it.

Even if you yourself wrote the application, that's just a special case of the general rule: the you of some months or years ago wrote this nonsense and s/he is not you anymore.

But. O.M.G. I'm. A. User. And I've figured something out ,,,

Sartor resartus, as Thomas Carlyle said, the dresser redressed. After all these years of abusing users, I've been forced to become a user of a specialized application. The application will not be named, because the point here is not a review of that application.

But the experience has made me aware that the GUI metaphor as we've known it is creaking at the seams, decrepit on the desktop like a zombie past his sell-by date. Handhelds are drifting away into voice recognition, but on my desktop, I still have to remember scores of semantically opaque keystrokes, I mean, like Ctrl-Shift-apostrophe, to operate this application effectively.

It's more complicated than the user interface to the Linotype machine.

We're way past when this should all have been changed. We're still using the typewriter keyboard 160 years or so after its invention and the mouse 50 years after its invention, and it makes the modern mission critical desktop application feel like a Steam Powered Robot.

It's time to gesture and speak to control our avatars as they navigate apps. Televisions already work that way, and that's what anyone really interested in user interface design should be working on.



Related Reading

More Insights

Currently we allow the following HTML tags in comments:

Single tags

These tags can be used alone and don't need an ending tag.

<br> Defines a single line break

<hr> Defines a horizontal line

Matching tags

These require an ending tag - e.g. <i>italic text</i>

<a> Defines an anchor

<b> Defines bold text

<big> Defines big text

<blockquote> Defines a long quotation

<caption> Defines a table caption

<cite> Defines a citation

<code> Defines computer code text

<em> Defines emphasized text

<fieldset> Defines a border around elements in a form

<h1> This is heading 1

<h2> This is heading 2

<h3> This is heading 3

<h4> This is heading 4

<h5> This is heading 5

<h6> This is heading 6

<i> Defines italic text

<p> Defines a paragraph

<pre> Defines preformatted text

<q> Defines a short quotation

<samp> Defines sample computer code text

<small> Defines small text

<span> Defines a section in a document

<s> Defines strikethrough text

<strike> Defines strikethrough text

<strong> Defines strong text

<sub> Defines subscripted text

<sup> Defines superscripted text

<u> Defines underlined text

Dr. Dobb's encourages readers to engage in spirited, healthy debate, including taking us to task. However, Dr. Dobb's moderates all comments posted to our site, and reserves the right to modify or remove any content that it determines to be derogatory, offensive, inflammatory, vulgar, irrelevant/off-topic, racist or obvious marketing or spam. Dr. Dobb's further reserves the right to disable the profile of any commenter participating in said activities.

Disqus Tips To upload an avatar photo, first complete your Disqus profile. | View the list of supported HTML tags you can use to style comments. | Please read our commenting policy.