Friday, April 20, 2007

Technology Breakdown: The Paradox Of Complexity

Can localized software be on the way out? ...

"I was writing an article on user interface design and started thinking about the recent release of Windows Vista and how it is playing out in the market.

Looking at where the world of software development is going along with other technology developments, the idea that Windows Vista may be the last desktop operating system that Microsoft ever releases is not a far stretch.

... For years now, the guiding principle that I base user interface design on is the acronym, AFCDI, which stands for “any fool can do it”. Arguably the biggest problem facing the software industry is that developers are producing programs capable of doing amazingly complex functions. The sad fact is that many of these programs are also a real pain in the butt to use -- which brings me back to searching for files in Vista.

... Herein lies the paradox of complexity. As hardware technology advances, it has become possible to present [display] information in richer formats than what was available previously. However, the emerging trend to provide software as a service (SaaS), means that the PC becomes a client, as all of the processing of data takes place remotely, and all of the data is stored remotely as well. The ability to use advanced technology to display data means that client programs can be developed that could allow you to do desktop publishing from your cellphone (don’t laugh, you can already run PowerPoint from a smartphone). While the new hardware makes it possible for PC software to do more complex tasks, high speed internet communications coupled with the faster hardware will eventually make localized PC software irrelevant; turning the desktop operating system primarily into a graphics rendering engine with a networking layer attached. This phenomenon leads to a number of wildly interesting, potentially disruptive possibilities. Maybe Einstein was onto something when he said “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Ah, the paradox of complexity."    (Continued via EURweb)    [Usability Resources]

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