I believe that interface design is the single most important aspect of modern computing. From the advent of the command line to the birth of the graphical user interface, our computing capabilities have been greatly dictated by the means by which we interface with our computers. No only does the computer interface have an effect on what tasks we perform with our computers, but it also has a great effect on how we perform those tasks. Every year, more and more tasks that have been traditionally handwritten, or spoken, are being performed by computers. I believe that these tasks are fundamentally altered as they are ported to the dynamic interface of the computer. I believe that the computer interface has greatly affected the evolution of new data types such as bolggs, on line forums, and many more. In short, I believe in the positive effect interface design has on thought and creativity, and believe that the only way to fully realize this effect is to allow free design of newer and better interfaces.
When I was in high school, my friends and I started a rock band. Not long after deciding that we should record our music, I decided I should get a mac. Its common knowledge that the mac interface is much better right off the shelf at audio, and video applications… and we could use all the help we could get. When I first started using my mac my dad told me, “that the biggest problem with a mac is that its so intuitive, you think its more complicated than it is.” He was absolutely right, I had been raised on Windows, and it is no small task to change the way you think about you computer. Part of what my dad had been saying though, was that the Apple interface was more transparent than Windows. That is, it is easy to forget the operating system, and only concentrate on the task at hand, be it word processing, audio recording, or any other.
When I realized this about the mac, that the many features for easy window management, and easily finding of files made every task easier, I realized a fundamental truth of interfaces. Every interface design requires a balance, a perfect blend of transparent usability, and attractive looks. With OSX’s playful icon design, and the soothing blue color scheme, it was easy to realize that the interface is more than just a way to interact with data, it directly influences our interaction. Just as different fonts are used by authors to evoke different moods in their audiences, different interface designs will fundamentally, and most likely subconsciously effect how we use, and react to our computers. Modern computer manufacturers are aware of this balance, and through attempts such as Windows Vista, Linspire, and OSX, are trying to design an interface with this perfect balance of usability, and like-ability. I believe that interface designs such as these will alter the world of computing as radically as the first GUI’s in the 1980s. I believe that as interfaces progress so to does our progress as a digital society. In short, I believe in the vast importance of the computer interface in the world today.
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