Interview with Jef Raskin:
Q: Who coined the term interface in the first place?
Q: Is there anything good about the GUI we use now or is it just humbug?
Q: If the interface is this badly in its design, howcome we are still using it?
Q: Why is it so hard to change the ruling idea about what an interface should look like?
Q: What do you think about Microsoft and its products anyway?
Q: So Microsoft is less concerned with ethics and productivity, and more concerned about finances. Apple is not?
Q: Should the metaphor completely disappear from the interface design altogether and is this even possible?
Q: I was speaking of the desktop, and the windows metaphor.
Q: Could you tell my why I find it easier to collect information about Apple and literature written by (former-) Apple employees than about or from Microsoft employees?
Q: I am referring to the number of enthusiasts of Apple fanatics which are active on the internet, compared to the number of Microsoft enthusiasts. Why do you think it is that I'm not encountering the same number of enthusiasts of Microsoft? In other words, why do you think (some) people are so fond of Apple products?
Q: Since you've worked with Wozniak and Jobs, maybe you can tell me how the name "Apple" became the name of this company. I've been searching for someone to give me a straightforward answer I can rely upon for being correct. On the internet and in the books I’ve read, I find contradicting answers. Did Steve Jobs choke in an Apple and thought up the name? Is it because he was fond of the Beatles? Is it because of Newton? Is because of the biblical association with the forbidden fruit? Some even say that Jobs was a lunatic with an obsession for apples.
Q: Suppose the design of the interface is adapted as you suggest, and the user will notice the computer itself less while completing tasks, what does this mean for the notion that the user had of the underlying technique? The technique is wrapped up by the interface and the user is not expected to know how this wonderful machine works.
Q: A few weeks ago I spend almost a whole day trying to figure out how to install a new hard drive in my computer. I was constantly asking myself questions like "What colored string or wire should go where?". So I wondered, if this interface idea never came up, would I now know all the commands by heart? If the technique wasn't wrapped up in this (goodlooking and also very practical) interface, would I have had more knowledge of the computer itself?
Q: All this is part of the idea, off course, that the enwrapment of technology in, for example in the interface (metaphor), has a paradoxical effect. The user gets the illusion that technology is closer at hand when it is easier to use. But to make it easier to use and understand, technology is covered, and is actually drifting further away from the user.
Q: Personally, I agree something has to be changed in the interface design. Especially because everyone seems to be "okay" with the current interface. I am still discovering new cool stuff I can perform through my windows interface, like functions in microsoft word I have been looking for for years. It really isn't this advanced (anymore).
Interview conducted by Koosje de Ridder
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