As you are probably aware, The Magic Ink
essay makes interesting reading with
lots of food for thought.
Does anyone have opinions on his ideas?
# The ubiquity of frustrating, unhelpful software interfaces has
motivated decades of research into “Human-Computer Interaction.” In
this paper, I suggest that the long-standing focus on “interaction”
may be misguided. For a majority subset of software, called
“information software,” I argue that interactivity is actually a curse
for users and a crutch for designers, and users’ goals can be better
satisfied through other means.
# Information software design can be seen as the design of
context-sensitive information graphics. I demonstrate the crucial role
of information graphic design, and present three approaches to
context-sensitivity, of which interactivity is the last resort. After
discussing the cultural changes necessary for these design ideas to
take root, I address their implementation. I outline a tool which may
allow designers to create data-dependent graphics with no engineering
assistance, and also outline a platform which may allow an
unprecedented level of implicit context-sharing between independent
programs. I conclude by asserting that the principles of information
software design will become critical as technology improves.
# Although this paper presents a number of concrete design and
engineering ideas, the larger intent is to introduce a “unified
theory” of information software design, and provide inspiration and
direction for progressive designers who suspect that the world of
software isn’t as flat as they’ve been told.