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Jack Woehr

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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.

 

 

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