When you’ve been using computers as long as some of us nerds have, you tend to take some things for granted. Small things like Cmd+Tab or Cmd+Q are second nature to us, but there is a population of fairly intelligent people that do not have that sort of knowledge in their repertoire. Contrary to the beliefs of some of our extremist brethren (Read: OSS nerds), it’s not their fault. We have trained our brains to function on a middle ground with computers. Other people simply don’t. That’s not a bad thing.
We deal with these abstracted concepts like key combinations every day because we revel in that part of our world. Lawyers, doctors, and firemen don’t have the same passions and interests as Network Administrators. Asking them to learn our complex methodology to use a computer is fairly ridiculous. What the next generation of interface designers need to do is take touch-based interfaces and run with them.
Sometimes we get hung up on how many clicks, swipes, or keystrokes it takes to do something. That might not be the issue at all. We have to keep in mind how the majority of people would approach a problem in real life — real space, and then find an equally simple way of implementing it on the computer. Simplicity, logic, and ease of use are the keys to taking computer use to the next level. We want everyone to know and love computers. We’re not going to accomplish that by telling them to RTFM.
Image Credit: striatic