Alex Wright

undoing the desktop

July 31, 2002

nadav thinks the new iTunes exemplifies a PC application that escapes the basic desktop/file/folder metaphor that has dominated PC computing for the past, oh, 30 years. he also points to this old Wired article on Lifestreams, David Gelernter's blue-sky idea for a new kind of interface built entirely around a chronological metaphor.

I'm of decidedly two minds about the whole "beyond the desktop" business. while there's no doubt that the desktop metaphor is deeply problematic in a world of gigabyte storage and networked information spaces, I still have to believe the basic idea is so firmly entrenched in most of our minds that I find it just about impossible to envision the world's PC-using population shifting to some entirely new way of working with a PC. and yes, i'll stoop to the obvious and point to the example of the QWERTY keyboard.

the designer's conundrum of innovation vs. expectation is much on my mind these days in light of the new product i've been working on, more about which will be revealed - the bug gods permitting - a few weeks from now.

File under: User Experience

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