10/GUI and Changing Interaction Paradigms

10GUI is something I came across almost a year ago that I was reminded of the other day while speaking to John about touch screen devices. Designed by R. Clayton Miller, 10GUI is a concept design in the next evolution of human interface elements. He says, "the mouse and the windowed desktop are perhaps the two greatest innovations in the history of human-computer interaction. But like all innovations, they are best seen as part of a continuum rather than a terminus."

When I first saw the video I thought the designer's proposals to change the common desktop environments were very intriguing. The end result is something pretty impressive in its use of natural hand motions to bring the tactile manner in which we interact with our everyday surroundings into the virtual realm. Even more impressive than the use of touch is the reorganization of the desktop software to fit the mode of interaction. Fortunately for 10GUI and other UX proposals like it, the hardware is becoming more ubiquitous in the market by the day with the advent of touchscreen devices like Apple's multitouch environments. However, unlike the touchscreen devices like the iPad that get to define a whole new niche and thus get to define the landscape, the 10GUI and its counterparts are attempting to replace and directly compete with a "good enough" working model, the mouse. Defeating the mouse is going to be the largest obstacle to the 10GUI and other UI/UX proposals like it. As in other evolutionary trends, the success of the 10GUI will hinge on it proving itself so far superior to the current model that the idea of the mouse being "good enough" dies out.

This is much akin to the current barrier we have in proliferating the adoption of hosted SIP over the established "good enough" solutions like the PSTN and on premise PBXs. We like to think of the benefits of hosted SIP are like those of email, IM, or other web technologies; you don't need to pay a separate bill, you use your existing Internet connection and let the end devices interpret the data, you can take it with you wherever you go, the data can integrate into other systems, yadda yadda yadda. Unfortunately for SIP however, email, IM, and web really had no existing mainstream competition when they came to town, so the adoption rate was not hindered by a "good enough" alternative. On the contrary, Google Wave was recently killed because it failed to convince people that it was so far superior to email and IM that the world should switch. Back to OnSIP, our challenge in making it the new norm is to show the populace that the benefits the service brings so fare outweigh the potential of the existing "good enough" solution that there isn't even a fair fight between the two. Here is to hoping that Wave was just ahead of its time, while hosted SIP is long overdue.

Anyway... enjoy the video: