What’s the Next Dominant User Interface Metaphor?


3 of 5 stars
What’s this?

An excellent, inconclusive exploration of how we might — or might not — move beyond the interface paradigms that dominate desktop, browser and mobile software today. The author, a member of the Panic software team, posits that forward progress may be inextricably hampered by current conventions.

“As amazingly revolutionary and beneficial as your new idea may be, you can’t escape this albatross of legacy data. Unless your new metaphor presents a new way of working that is such an obvious and dramatic improvement over the status quo (like pinch-to-zoom) then there’s no compelling desire to laboriously learn, adapt, and migrate to the new environment.

“It seems a bit fatalistic, but I can’t think of a way that the entire desktop metaphor can be overhauled without either everyone in the world switching over at once (which won’t happen), or becoming a ‘data island’ like the Newton or Classic Mac OS.”