The Human Interface

shadoi shadoi at
Wed Mar 9 14:16:08 MST 2005

Jared Bernard wrote:

>With the all the news about Jef Raskin recently because of his death, I've 
>learned alot about him lately and just how visionary he was. Before this time 
>all I knew about him was that he help develop the GUI for apple and that's 
>about it. 
> I've become interested in some of his ideas about The Human Interface. I 
>haven't read his book (yet) but was hoping to get some feed back from some of 
>you who have studied some of his theories/ideas or read his book.  Here are 
>some questions that I have, solely for the purpose of understanding others 
>perspectives or interpretations of Raskin's work. 

I read most of The Humane Interface, and he has good ideas.  THE ("The 
Humane Environment" I think)  is the project he was working on.  It's 
basically a gigantic page and you freely scroll around it and zoom in on 
whatever you're interested in at the time.  That's basically it, but 
there's more to it when you get down to the interaction level.  It's 
simplicity is the coolest part.  It allows for just about any type of 
interaction without windowing and all kinds of odd metaphors.

>1) Not having studied Computer science, Is Raskins ideas about the Human 
>Interface considered more theory or fact?

I believe they were in the process of implementing everything in Python, 
I'm sure they're quite close.  Not sure who the guy was helping him.  
(There may be a whole project going on somewhere I just can't find it).

>2) How closely does Apple's GUI reflect Raskin's ideas?

Not really at all anymore.

>3) Are there other GUI's out now there that more closely reflect The Human 
>Interface, i.e. KDE, Gnome, Wmaker, Icewm, etc? What is it about those GUI's  
>that do or don't agree with his ideas?

Not that I've seen.

>4) What is the basis of his Human Interface? I mean, my basic understanding is 
>that he essentially has ideas about what is the most natural design or 
>environment for humans to interact with a computer. What does he use to 
>determine that? It seems that he's trying to develop this perfect environment 
>but is that possible? Anyone who has experience other cultures know that 
>people think differently and interact differently, so wouldn't culture or 
>environment contribute to whats most natural? or am I way off as to what he 
>is trying to do?

Read the book, read the stuff on his page[1].  It's not something that's 
easily expressed in a few words despite my meager attempt above.



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