The Desktop metaphor… dead

This is not a compeltely original thought. I wish I could find the literature that initially put it into my head, but alas, i cannot. Still, i will rigth here to describe a simple thought:

the concept of the desktop in relation to a computer is out of date.

When computers were first developed for consumer use, they sat on desks. The interface, once we got past the single line input, received a metaphor of a desktop equating the computer screen to the desk it sat on. This worked quite well considering files were primarily text based, kept in folders, and this matched the physical world quite well.

In present day though, this does not compute so to say. With laptops the ever popular computer, mobile devices gaining an ever increasing market share and ubi-com becoming less and less a thing of science fiction, we need to step away from the desktop metaphor. People no longer sit at their desks and check email, write in blogs, and perform day to day business and personal functions. That being said, the desktop metaphor does not apply.

Apple tries to address this in their iPhone, by calling the screen with the application icons the home screen. This too though, is inaccurate. Home screens refer to the page within a web browser upon opening the application. I do not feel it can apply to the departure screen of a computing device though.

I do not have the solution to this dilemma of language. I simply propose that designers and developers needs to look at the language of the products we use and design and realize that much of the hurdles we must overcome are based on innapropriate titling of items commonly used.

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