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Future computing

As a long time computer geek, I often think about where computing is headed in the future, both near and far. Since a large part of my day job is adapting technology for the average person’s needs, I’m also acutely aware of the issues that hold it back. It’s one of the reasons that’s driven me to venture into the field of information architecture. Technology is great, but it’s so often designed without the end user in mind.

I found this recently published series of concept videos to come out of the Adaptive Path/Mozilla Labs to be fascinating, albeit unexpectedly complicated for something headed up by Jesse James Garret, the guy who wrote User Centered Design for the Web. I think there’s some good concepts buried in there, but the interface just seems way too techy for me. Yes, I’m a computer geek, but unlike many I don’t think everyone should have to be one. Seamless transition of experience from one device to another? Win! Having to manipulate screens chock full of icons? Ick. Being able to simply mashup various data sources to drive to the info you’re looking for? Fantastic! Weird slow animated unintuitive popup menus? No thanks.

To me this seems to be a relatively near future concept and maybe I’m too impatient and want to think a little further ahead than that, but frankly, I think the world has buckets full of useful functionality already. What we need are simpler, more stable, and easier to use interfaces. Technology needs to be as easy to use as a toaster.

Check out the series of videos of the Aurora project (so far) for yourself and let me know what you think…

Aurora (Part 1) from Adaptive Path on Vimeo.

Aurora (Part 2) from Adaptive Path on Vimeo.

Aurora (Part 3) from Adaptive Path on Vimeo.

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