This is the second part of the discussion. For first part go here
I don’t know what he told you. But this is what I told him. Our system is going to be a mix of GUI and LUI (language user interface) Now we don’t expect user to learn the language commands, so we want to introduce a tool which will help him either learn, or present “options” to do a task. Again here, the idea of ubiquity comes to my mind. Suppose I want to stop the wireless on my device and I have not given any physical key. The command user will think is simple “Stop Wireless” Ubiquity (now on we will call this system GEN) can take inputs in the form of text. So when we type Stop on Ubiquity (GEN) it suggests you with the available options. And as soon as we type W in the box, GEN (ubiquity) will suggest options starting with W and there we go.
Now GEN has to be intelligent enough to understand that if a user is going through the same process for a task for a number of times, the way of achieving that task should be made easier. Solution? What about wireless now coming on top of the ‘W’ list. Or what about giving it a finger gesture which user can choose? Now here comes what we discussed in the earlier box. Doing experiments (Quantitative analysis) to understand what suits the user (human psychology) better.
People have done a lot of research in figuring out better ways of visualizing the information. But none of the new platform is being accepted by the general mass.. and still we are stuck with the normal page views.
There is something interesting here. Every patent has a life. We don’t own patents for long. In general all the patents which were there with big companies like MS, Adobe, Apple have been outdated. And there are better ways to implement same ideas. We patent the way of accomplishing that idea, not the ideas itself. Its like making the cure for AIDS. We cannot patent the idea that there can be a cure for AIDS. There are lot of open source application which without getting into the patent issues have come up with either same or better solution.. GIMP is a good Linux photo editing software example. Its available for windows as well now.
Open source wave is going to help us a lot. Nearly everything has (in some cases better) its clone in Linux which is completely open. But what we need to do here is focus in what should be given to user as minimal set (though rich) of features. And then force our programmers to enable them.
Bloatware is a software which is packed with excessive controls and consumes a lot of space.. Windows XP is a perfect example. You remember the ideal office I was talking about in my presentation.. that’s bloatware.. you have every control with you, but you don’t know what to do with it.
Do you really think the features which MS office or Excel provide needs special software? Think how is the text managed when you see title bars, task bars, when you get error screens, when you get notifications for updates. Everything is already built into the system. But. Not enabled. Just to sell one more software. Now if you keep doing that, you are increasing redundancy. Increased memory space (2-3 software for what is already built in OS), more time consuming (since now each software developer has to come up with never UI for his software, menus, ways of interacting with OS, etc).
What would the other system which we are designing would do? It would reduce the redundancy, reduce the memory space consumed, increase usability and reliability. Agreed?
I think we cannot do away with the menus. But for now, we can hide them. If you have downloaded and using Textflow software, they have a very cool alternative of menu bar. But yes they do have menu, its just different. Its only accessible when you need it. And that what I think is important.
The problem of adoption is the solution itself. If the solution we provide is in the end complex, and nonintuitive, people are not going to adopt. By separating ourselves from saying we are making computers, we take away the user’s expectancy of giving a windows XP as OS. Which EEE PC does. But does it really solve the problem of mobility?
What is mobility? For us mobility is being able to use it anywhere, and everywhere. For as long as we want. Our hardware gives us this feature. It can run for days, not hours. And we believe in the form-factor we are providing is a better solution for mobility clause. You cannot use laptops when you are standing. We want Adam to be used as a notepad. As a book. You can read the novel, which you might have written. We don’t want you to go out to laptops and PC to do editing of that same novel. You might be travelling in metro reading and figuring out, oops.. there is an error, you edit it right there. If you wait till you go back home, half the ideas will be lost.
Its a huge challenge for the established players to bring changes for which they need to re-adjust. Re-adjusting is risky, costly and leads to unknown futures. Quite understandable. And if you prevent these changes, that’s called monopoly. This is what is going on since long time. How many players were there in 2005 for editing documents? MS Word, that’s it. Its changing. We are not the only one who is going to change it. There are others. But we don’t know who is destined to succeed in achieving. And hence yes it’s a risk, but a risk if gets paid off, there is quite a possibility that our discussions are mentioned in history.
May be Raskin is talking about us. If you search the internet, you wont find people working on this exact concept. Cos its difficult. Even we wont apply this concept to the fullest. There will be applications in our product. Raskin’s system is monopolistic. With which I don’t agree. Windows 7 is out and so is newer Mac OS X. Have you seen any soft of integration of applications with them? No. Why not? Same reason. It will take out the profit that are making using other applications like iworks.
For us what is more important is bring in the change. Telling people that what they were using since long wasn’t exactly the way they should have been. We will tell them that the concept of OS was flawed. But in our case, intuitiveness is the main solution for adoption. Intuitiveness is just the conformity from the user’s perspective that the device has more potential than what he thought before. Other word for intuitiveness would be assumptions. If users have right assumptions about our product, we will get what we are seeking.