1 February 2010

Stowe Boyd: outdated UX metaphors are holding us back

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Stowe Boyd
Stowe Boyd arguest that the metaphors of computing user experience are holding us back from new ways of structuring our interaction through computers.

“the thing that is blocking us from moving forward, to a better user experience centered on social interaction and not physical data, are the existing metaphors of OS’s. Since we are living in a world of general purpose computers running Unix, Mac OS, and Windows — and we need to have them interoperate — we seem stuck in the 90’s.
To have a break with the past, and to make the past a platform, we have to push it under and not pretend that its constructs are desirable. We need to push files, folders and the notion of a desktop under the surface of a better user experience, and keep it under. Let a new generation of user experience shield us from that drudgery and detail.

The only way forward is to build a new user experience on top of the physical hardware and software that form a platform for it, and conceal it’s nasty details from us.

This is one aspect of the genius of the iPhone and iPad generation of devices: we don’t need to know about the files and folders. We don’t need a desktop with data bundles lying in piles.”

But, he says, “This break with the past is made faster and less difficult if the new system is closed.”

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