2.20.2006

RANT: Surfing the web, Bloomberg terminal style

We need a new (computer) UI, best-selling author Geoffrey Moore blogged. God bless the GUI-it has changed my life more than any other technology-but we are both suffering from the same deficit: a deterioration in our multi-tasking capabilities... Definitely be on the net, but watch TV at the same time, keep your eye on the IM list, check your email, oh, and do your homework. No problem. Except that the UI on our PCs is not constructed to optimize this mental landscape. It is too single-state oriented. It reminds me of, well, me. These days I like doing things in single-threaded fashion. I think of it as becoming more Zen. My wife and children, on the other hand, think of it as, "Don't talk to Dad when he is driving."...

The current UI is still tied indirectly to the PC's original root metaphor, a typewriter. It needs to transition to another-the stock trader's workstation on Wall Street. It needs to recast itself as a media machine, with many concurrent feeds that enable traders to scan for information, detect trends, and transact, all very rapidly. Switching between states, foregrounding one without losing the context of the others in background, is the technical requirement. Picture-within-picture on a TV is a crude example. I think we can do much better...

In short, we need to recognize that the role of the user has shifted from passive consumer to active director, someone continually choosing from among multiple feeds to construct the desired experience, and reconstruct the UI to serve that new end.

Category: C++ Quant > Random Walk

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