The touch generation

I grew up on a Mac, was live on the web with NCSA Mosaic from 1992, and it wasn't until at least 1996 that I owned a windows-based computer. (Win95)

I remember learning to use the Mac from my father, and I perfectly aped his learning style. The coolest thing about the Mac user interface, especially Apple's interface guidelines, was that everything you could do with a Mac or any application running on a Mac was easily discoverable. The more you wanted to do, the more you could find, in the menus, based on the type of controls, etc.

Being from the Mac generation that is what underlines my entire technological experience: I discover functionality as necesary, without fear that I might make mistakes or do something bad. Even more than that, I don't bother remembering complicated secret ways to access functionality. (It's kind of the modern day equivalent of Einstein's not remembering his own phone number for efficiency reasons [source])

I came back to Mac half-heartedly in ~2003 (iBook G3) and more seriously recently (MacbookPro 13in) in order to do iOS development. Since OSX, the Mac has taken on a number of completely non-intuitive not very discoverable controls. Which means that there are entire parts of the interface that will continue to feel uncomfortable to me.

Contrast that with the iOS. Everything is boiled down to essentials, to naturally intuitive and easily discoverable functionality. (The only caveat is that perhaps all preferences should be in the 'Settings' panel, being split half and half the way it is now is confusing.) I'm loving the fact that we're (as Users with a capital U) returning to a smooth human-computer interface that simplifies both the clutter of the desktop OS and the absolute lack of predictability and consistence of the web.

I think you had to be born in the Mac generation to appreciate what computing without arcana really feels like. Or you could just be part of the Touch generation where mice and keyboards don't even get in the way.

I truly hope my kids and all their peers never have to remember complex instructions to access features. Computing can and should be fluid and organic.

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