Does the above picture bring back memories? And not just of a museum visit?
Fortunately, user interface and user experience (UI/UX) design continues to make great strides, and is now entering the realm of artificial intelligence (AI). Think of an interface that adapts to the way you work, perhaps even suggests or “auto-completes” command selections in a fashion similar to Gmail. Context sensitivity is key and UX designers have already made great strides in that regard.
CAD (and, really, all software users) have seen the transition from static text-based menus to static icon-based GUIs in the early 80’s back to cascading text-based menus in the 90’s and ultimately most have adopted the reasonably contextual MS Office Ribbon-style standard. Most all these forms have been customizable, and/or could be augmented with keyboard shortcuts, and with a small initial investment in time, a user could create an efficient, transportable environment. Let’s also agree that even the worst interfaces become reasonably effective through time and repetition, as muscle memory kicks in. (Not so good for the occasional user, perhaps, but that is the same shortcoming some proposed AI-based methods will have.)
Of course, through all the paradigms, there will be early adopters that love it, and the “who moved my cheese” crowd that will not.
I have heard AI-based UX designers sum it up this way: “When it works, it can be great. You want it to be right in 90% of situations, otherwise, it can be annoying.”
What do you think? Are you ready for the next step?