ZDNet Looks At Other UIs, Asks What's Next?

In 1984 Apple first gave the world a Graphical User Interface (GUI). Yeah, the company borrowed it from Xerox, but Apple brought it to the world. The result was the biggest change yet in the way we use computers, but what about other ways of interacting with a computer?

The GUI has been the king of human/computer interaction for more than 15 years, is there any other type of interface that could threaten its dominance? ZDNet News has posted an article by Stephen Withers titled Interfaces of the future that explores the state of user interface options, from Virtual Reality to Voice Recognition to more exotic UIs. Hereis an excerpt:

Itis generally accepted that the last substantial change in user interfaces happened in the mid 1980s when Apple launched the Macintosh, bringing the WIMP (windows, icons, menus, pointer) or GUI (graphical user interface) to the mass market. The arrival of Windows 3.0 in the early 1990s cemented the shift, but since then all weive seen is incremental improvement -- some say incremental change, arguing that not all the differences constitute improvements.

The science fiction vision of computer systems with advanced user interfaces seems as far off as ever: Clarke and Kubrickis HAL is certainly not last yearis model! But is this implied criticism really fair?

The future has a way of creeping up without us noticing. For example, the styling of many contemporary cars bears a strong resemblance to the "cars of the future" that were touted in the 1960s and i70s. And while in-car navigation systems are rarely standard equipment, as an option or aftermarket accessory they cost less than many people spend on audio gear.

Similarly, various "futuristic" user interfaces such as virtual reality and speech recognition might not be part of the everyday desktop computing experience, but they have found niches in the IT ecosystem.

Itis a well written and thought provoking piece that is well worth your time. Note that there are several pages to the article, which are accessible via the "Next" and "Back" links at the bottom of the article. Stop by ZDNet and check it out.