Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Changing Face of the User Interface

The progression of UI to present day ...

"A few days ago, after reading a TechCrunch article about Microsoft Tafiti, I played around with Tafti for a short time. It has a really cool and impressive interface. I don’t think Tafiti is something I’ll be using on a regular basis, but I think it's a good example of the direction that user interfaces will be going in the near future.

Based on my experience, hardcore techies often seem to be indifferent (at best) when it comes to the user interface. During the early to mid 90s, I remember the shift from DOS character-based applications to the graphical user interface (GUI). At the time, it seemed like the technical people preferred the character-based applications over the GUI. The techies’ argument was that Windows required too much overhead to run (it did) and that DesqView (or whatever favorite TSR utility) was a superior environment. But, users obviously embraced the richer environment of the GUI.

During that period, I remember some of the software companies seemed to make the shift to Windows/GUI very slowly. WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3 were slow to change and ultimately released buggy Windows versions of their software. I think part of their failure in the marketplace was because they didn’t move quickly enough to improve their UI.

I think things are a little different now that we’re in the internet era; we have a legion of web designers with a specialized skill set that is a mixture of a good sense of aesthetics, art, usability and technology. With web applications, I don’t think we’ll see the huge shift in UI paradigms like we saw when we moved from character-based applications to the GUI, but I think we’re going to be seeing a new class (for lack of a better description) of web applications appear that are based on Adobe AIR, JavaFX, and Microsoft Silverlight. AJAX has gone a long was to making web applications more appealing to use, but the new tools for building rich internet applications are taking web UI far beyond the clunky realm of HTML, CSS and JavaScript."    (Continued via David Duey)    [Usability Resources]

Tafti - Usability, User Interface Design



Anonymous Anonymous said...

combining good JavaScript UI libraries with technologies such as JNEXT
opens another interesting option in the same direction.

2:23 PM  

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