The Desktop Metaphor

Great essay by Steven Frank on the current state of the desktop UI. About hierarchical file systems, he writes:

All major operating systems today still use basically the same hierarchical file system that we've used pretty much forever. Is it a natural fit for the human mind? Not especially.

In fact, the basic hierarchical file system is so incredibly poor at its main and only task that whenever we actually want to manage files (or data in general), we use applications that implement different concepts on top of the basic file system - iTunes, iPhoto, Yojimbo, Together, Evernote, Bento, your mail client...

Steven Frank touches all kinds of other topics, too.

I love Brent Simmons' take on this:

I feel as if it's my responsibility as a software developer to help figure out what comes after the desktop metaphor, and I feel a little bad that we haven't delivered it yet.

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designed for use cover

But wait, there's more!

Want to read more like this? Buy my book's second edition! Designed for Use: Create Usable Interfaces for Applications and the Web is now available DRM-free directly from The Pragmatic Programmers. Or you can get it on Amazon, where it's also available in Chinese and Japanese.