Originally published as: Gentner, D., and Nielsen, J.: The Anti-Mac interface, Communications of the ACM 39 , 8 (August 1996), 70–82.
(See also: my appreciation of the Macintosh on its 25th anniversary.)
By exploring alternative interfaces that transcend the principles behind conventional graphical interfaces, a human-computer interface emerges that is based on language, a richer representation of objects, expert users, and shared control.
At recent user interface conferences, several speakers have lamented that the human interface is stuck. We seem to have settled on the WIMP (windows, icons, menus, pointer) model, and there is very little real innovation in interface design anymore.
Physicists and mathematicians often stretch their imaginations by...