Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Manifesto of the UI

A look into the future of UI ...

"I’ve been thinking more and more lately about the state of user interface and it’s evolution path — it’s something that I can’t get out of my mind. Over the past few years (we’re talking less than 5), we’ve seen user interfaces across the digital world morph from a static experience into highly dynamic interactive experiences. Web sites like Facebook and MySpace have proven that interactivity and the ability to relate real world ideas to the digital realm wins over features and functionality. Applications like iTunes have shown that how data is presented and you interact with that data is more important than how your computer processes the same data.

As such, I’d like to pose a simple question to those front end developers out there: What do you think the future of UI technology will look like?
Where we are right now

Right now, we have a huge group of platforms to develop with. We’ve got platforms for the web, platforms for the desktop, and platforms for both. In the past few months, we’ve seen the desktop and the web reach out toward one another, and the line is really starting to blur.
Web

On the web side of things, HTML is the prevalent technology, with XML and Flash following closely behind. The web has seen a revolution is technologies that enable rich interfaces. We can deliver high definition video, manipulate XML through the browser, and change HTML & CSS on the fly reliably across all popular browsers.

Along with the rise of technologies that give us the ability to create rich interfaces has been a rise of rationality and code design. We’ve seen terms like the semantic web being thrown around as well as the rise of highly refined ideas like microformats. Developers have taken a relatively small orthogonal toolset — HTML, CSS, and Javascript — and refined it into an art.

Unfortunately the two movements have happened very much in parallel with little to no crossover. We have some extremely powerful technologies that allow us to create incredible rich experiences — but few rational and idealistic methodologies for creating rich user interfaces.
Desktop

In the past two years, the desktop has seen nothing short of a revolution in interface design. With the release of Windows Presentation Framework in Vista / .NET 3.0, and the rise of OS X technologies like Core Text, Core Image and Core Animation we’ve seen immense power become available to the user interface developer.

No longer does creating interactive 3D interfaces require a Ph.D in OpenGL — the power has been brought to the surface and now developers have great tools to create amazing interfaces with little effort through scripting languages and frameworks."    (Continued via Warpspire)    [Usability Resources]

OS X and Quartz’s Core technologies - Usability, User Interface Design

OS X and Quartz’s Core technologies

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