Matt Jones

Paradigm Shift

I find it quite disappointing that we’re in the 21st Century, we have powerful computers sitting on our desktops and we’re still using the antiquated metaphor of files and folders to help us manipulate information on them. So, I’m always pleased to see people create different, perhaps more suitable metaphors that help us use technology and get things done with computers; Spring is a graphical user-interface for OS X that is not based on files or folders. While it still uses the desktop metaphor, its user interface is concept-centric; it is ‘designed for the way you naturally think’. Like Xanadu is a more complete solution to hypertext than the World Wide Web, Spring is a more holistic solution to the computer desktop we’re familiar with.

          Of course, my championing of this software doesn't mean I quite understand how to use it. Perhaps this is a testament to the fact that the user interface of files and folders is so firmly engrained into my brain after using computers in this way since I first booted up my BBC Micro many moons ago.   

    I'm sure there is a vast amount of cool stuff being made in [HCI](http://www.ida.liu.se/labs/aslab/groups/um/hci/) (Human Computer Interaction) labs all over the world, but none of it seems to be getting to the computer user. Is innovation is being stifled because people don't like change? If so, it looks like we're going to be stuck with the desktop metaphor, files, folders and trash cans for a long time yet.