Breaking the Windows Barrier

The new year is beginning with Microsoft previewing its next-generation operating system, Windows 7, which is remarkable only in that it is almost the same as every previous version. But if we place form, in its broadest sense, at the heart of the user interface, we can begin to imagine designs that enable multiple levels of understanding and thus convey complex subtleties.

Kyoto – As 2009 commences, Microsoft is previewing its next-generation operating system, Windows 7, which is remarkable only in that it is almost the same as every previous version. Stagnation in computer design is not surprising, considering that familiarity is so comfortable.

But it can also stifle development. Military intelligence depends on ever-improving communication, so it is one area in which system design is constantly changing. Some of those innovations will eventually trickle into the mainstream, so a glimpse at current experiments can reveal what the future of ordinary computer interaction could look like, and what would be gained.

For the lay user, technology is encountered mostly as an interactive interface. People rarely consider that the tangible features assumed to be intrinsic to the “computer” were imitations of other objects, with keyboards inherited from typewriters and screens from television.

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