Where Computer Interfaces Are Going
So why haven't interfaces changed much in the last 20 years? One possibility is that the desktop is in some way an optimal representation. More likely, however, is that it is simply a functional representation; no need to change when change takes effort, right? We expect to be able to sit down in front of a new interface and immediately be as productive as we were before. We have all learned to use the desktop and menu-driven interfaces because we haven't had a choice. It has taken time; just as learning to read and write took years when we were younger. Even the keyboard and the mouse, although perhaps easier than writing, have taken time and effort to master. New interfaces will face the same hurdles. Their designs will need tweaking to reduce the learning curve as much as possible. The users of these new interfaces will need the patience to develop efficient usage patterns; and the interfaces themselves will need to be entertaining enough to mitigate the patience required. All these efforts will yield interfaces that are not only more enjoyable, but faster and more useful.