I’m sure that many of you thought of this and for a right reason. People’s way to interact with the operating system has been the same for many years. And since our needs are a little different from 1995, I also think the user interface along with the user experience should be different.
Same desktop structure for years
The thing that bothers me the most is the fact that the desktop has the same structure. Let’s take a look and analyze the desktop user interface in Windows 95 and the desktop from Windows … 7.
As you can see, back in 1995 we had the icons, taskbar, start button and the systray. This was pretty much the desktop and it was more than enough. At that time all tasks were easily achieved with that structure.
Now, I think we have different needs. The time spent in front of a computer means in most cases – surfing the web and interacting with web applications. From this perspective I believe that many things must be changed.
Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy the new user experience from Windows 7. Compared to Windows Vista, the upcoming Windows installment has a bunch of improvements when it comes to user interface and user experience. The new taskbar, the minimal interface and the visual feedback are great new features. Still, I’m not sure we’re on the right track.
We’ve seen in the last years multiple samples of interacting with the interface by using your hand. For example you can think of the Surface Computing from Microsoft. It is a nice thing and really great, but when can we promote that concept for the masses? Probably never, first of all because the touch screen technology has to become pretty mainstream. The second drawback to this approach is that some things are better achieved through a device like a mouse combined with a keyboard. I mean, I know I would like to open Photoshop and use only my hands but who am I kidding.
ASUS Seamless Experience
Another example which is similar to Microsoft’s Surface Computing is Seamless Experience from ASUS. Based on the same concept – direct interaction – a dedicated surface shows you properties and information related to some devices placed on the surface. Here is a video with a demo of Seamless Experience:
As good as the demo looks, I will take us many years to achieve seamless experience. As concepts, Surface Computing and Seamless Experience are quite nice. As standards, they fail.
Based on the huge growth and market potential, a new operating system was developed for netbooks. The system is called Jolicloud and it has a different approach compared to the more famous OS like Windows, Linux or Mac OS. According to their website, Jolicloud is: an Internet operating system. It combines the two driving forces of the modern computing industry: the open source and the open web.
As you can see from the description, from the capabilities perspective, we have some drawbacks. The interesting part comes from the UI/UX side. Jolicloud has a different structure – dashboard like structure. I really enjoy that and I also like the fact that a search box is part of the interface, since searching is one of the most common activities online.
Impressive 3D User Interface
An interesting 3D user interface was developed for Nvidia Tegra based notebooks. The user is pleased with very impressive 3D effects for a user interface. Not sure this is the way to go, but definitely a great user interface must have nice graphics too. Here is a demo:
And the winner is …
I really don’t know which is the best solution. I do know that it has to optimize our time, it has to be balanced from the visual and performance perspective, it has to be intuitive, it has to be web oriented, it has to be easily customizable.