07 January 2006

Time for a New Browser?

The HTML browser was never designed to do the things that we expect it to do on a daily basis.

I think it's time someone developed a new application browser (not an HTML browser) similar to the old Hot Java browser that Sun developed many moons ago. The idea is that HTML, CSS and Javascript are being cobbled together to make AJAX but really, rather than make the HTML browser jump through hoops to make a really interactive interface, I think it makes more sense to have a browser that is specifically designed for the job.

It's so interesting to me that Alan Cooper was writing the first edition of his amazing book About Face the web was taking off, destroying all aspirations of good user interface design in its path. Now we are back in the equivalent of the mainframe terminal era, albeit with graphics, and the amazing thing is... we're OK with that!

OK, we're not totally OK with it, which is why javascript is in the browser in the first place, but by looking at the use interfaces we have been willing to settle for in the 10 years since About Face was written, we haven't made any real progress.

I think we will soon though.

The web is really starting to stanardize on page layout, menu positioning, etc... people now expect certain things from web sites and as these standards evolve I think we will see more tools specifically designed to take advantage of that standardization and then we will be in a position to make some real progress in UI design again.

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