the folder (and desktop) metaphor should be deprecated

8 Nov 2007 - 8:52pm
718 reads
Esteban Barahona
2006

decades ago, when computing was becoming more mainstream and personal
(Macintosh, PC revolution, firsts GUIs, ...), the desktop metaphor was
invented. This arguably helped make friendlier a computer to new people. But
now, I think it's time to move on.

I'm reading the "dock chapter" of the Mac OS X 10.5 ars technica
review<http://arstechnica.com/reviews/os/mac-os-x-10-5.ars/13>...and
honestly, the insistence of the folder metaphor used for new
functionality, is a little comical.

Why not use icons everywhere (excluding icons that only point to "files")?
...it should keep a subtle but legible distinction between:
1) an object (application, document, ...)
2) a list of objects (formerly "folder")

Seriously, do people really think now that a folder contains an application?
The folder metaphor is too contextual, it's document-centric. Maybe it can
be useful on a Document User Interface; where there's "only" documents...
but still, computers are essentially information-centric machines. Even the
document metaphor is specific, not general. Interfaces paradigms should be
general, like an information-centric one; no discrimination* between
graphics or text, applications (even algorithms are information) or files.
*meaning no emphasis of one type over the other, ie: (traditional) Unix is
text-centric.

I would like that the graphical differentiation for lists of objects is a
box with rounded corners and a custom background (one theme can even be the
"recycled paper" texture used in Leopard). But it shouldn't have the look of
a folder, and it should focus on displaying just the first element on the
list (an icon, or preview). And it should be 2D, the Leopard dock is
insisting on an (almost) 3D look; which is not the physical (monitor) or
interaction (mouse) reality... which for now is 2D.

--
http://www.zensui.org

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