Thoughts on “Desktop” UI Paradigm for PCs

Personal Computers have obviously evolved quite a bit. As of 2009, laptop or mobile PCs have largely surpassed the traditional immobile desktop PC.

Laptop PCs by their very nature are used quite differently from the Desktop PCs that sit on the office desk. Have you lately seen what people are doing with laptop PCs in a coffee shop or train or airplane ? Some watching movies, some reading news online, some playing games, some emailing, etc.

But the “Desktop” UI paradigm in PCs has not changed a bit in 25 years. The key aspects of the “Desktop” paradigm are:
     – An office Desktop represented by a background image
     – Tools on the desktop represented by a bunch of icons on top of the image
     – Common tools are docked on a dock or a taskbar

The desktop with its icons is fixed – just like the immobile desktop in the office.

But since the laptops are used in widely varying scenarios, why doesnt the UI change to adapt to the task being performed by its user.

For example, the UI can morph from 1) the traditional desktop mode when the user is using PowerPoint or Excel, but switch to a 2) TV-style interface while watching youtube and switch to a 3) textbook-style UI when reading news online and switch to a 4) game console-style UI when playing games… Like a personal device – “computer” is misnomer when PCs are rarely used to “compute” anything.


About navanee
Citizen of the Universe. Visiting Earth on a valid world-visa, presently parked in Bangalore India. Detailed Bio here: Previously, lived 17 years in Coimbatore, 4 years in Chennai, 2 years in Provo, Utah and 11 years in San Jose, California.

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