Thinking about user interfaces

Had some time to look into implementation of gui in inferno and take some thoughts.

First maybe about history of graphics user iterfaces and how they brought us to the current situation.

How a computer iteracts to an user?


Very first implementations of are just clones of typewriting process – user types on keyboard and same time computer types on paper roll actions. Due to this first commands are pretty small like “ls” “ps” “cd” etc. Also because of that all current shells inherit paradigm of typewriter: user see echo of what he types and between his types he sees “answers” of the computer. Ideal representation of the paradigm is “chatty” – user send “questions” and receive “answers”. That’s all, nothing else. All power of command lines of unix systems is based on idea of “chats” with a computer. More you know about language of “question” then more complicated logic can be launched inside a computer and you looks more powerful to your boss :)

Pretty clear that this paradigm is very limited same time: if “questions” can not cover something in system then you are powerless… Take a look a photoshop user iterface and it is clear that you can not do same with command line with same efforts…

But going deeper, why typewriter idea was in use? That’s only historical reason – we may say nothing else was really same time available that can convert mental matter into storage – from ancient times we have next processes as

1. Drawing – converting mental matter into “images” of physical matter
2. Writing – converting mental matter into “images” of physical matter but using mental system of symbolism.

So our computers inherit systems of our symbolisms…

Let’s have a some example…

I would like to get list of files of root folder. (well, what mean “file”? – some concept of our system of symbolism :), same about a folder). I type “l“, “s“, “enter” on keyboard (why? because it is “synonim” of “list” which is in our system of symbolism means a… list of something :) ). Then on screen I occasinally see few lines of text with names which I can read and translate into mental matter in my conscious where I can operate it with…

So where are these files really exist? (on hard drive?) Hehe, solely only in our mental field (or space) which is structured by our system of symbolism which we have imprinted from school, teached by parents and social environment…

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  1. By Thinking about user interfaces, part 2 on December 21, 2015 at 22:17

    […] « Thinking about user interfaces […]

  2. By Thinking about user interfaces, part 3 on December 25, 2015 at 17:34

    […] Part 1 Part 2 […]

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