Ideas about UI design

Some ideas that uniformly applied would vastly increase the power and usability of a computer UI.

  1. Finding things should be like doing a web search. Structured on-line help, menus &c. can just be supplementary views; underlying multi-format information (text, HTML, man pages) can be searched and the results displayed uniformly. This combines web search, online help, Emacs’s apropos command &c.
  2. The only UI is the web browser. This means it can be dynamically created, there’s no distinction between local and remote services (other than usability, speed, latency). There’s only one interface to learn (custom menus and toolbars &c. can all be part of it, and needn’t be “plugins”, they can just be part of the markup language).
  3. XML everywhere: no more plain text! No need for parsers in compilers! Much easier to design editors for different data types (the big problem becomes how to feed back from the view to the model in complex relationships such as vector art, music or DTP).
  4. No more overlapping windows (except for things like transient dialogs such as confirmation boxes); use moderately intelligent panes.

Also see Tau.

Last updated 2006/11/03