Beyond the Desktop Metaphor: Designing Integrated Digital Work Environments Review

Beyond the Desktop Metaphor: Designing Integrated Digital Work Environments
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After chancing to see the book at the FLOP (free library of Philadelphia) i checked it out to check it out. Basically, the authors are complaining that the metaphor of the desktop for our personal computing and organizing information is insufficient for the demands of life. Good point, but they don't argue persuasively that something is 'just around the corner' like many "tech-savvy" books always proclaim.
This work was meant to be a bit more academic and theoretical (did i spel that write?) in order to i guess present and stimulate deep thought about alternative metaphors for working with computers. I found the examples thoroughly explained and the book well written. But after about 3/4 of the book i got the point and didn't want to pore over the details of the rest of the book. i hope i didn't miss anything.

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The computer's metaphorical desktop, with its onscreen windows andhierarchy of folders, is the only digital work environment most users and designershave ever known. Yet empirical studies show that the traditional desktop design doesnot provide sufficient support for today's real-life tasks involving collaboration,multitasking, multiple roles, and diverse technologies. In Beyond the DesktopMetaphor, leading researchers and developers consider design approaches for apost-desktop future.The contributors analyze the limitations of the desktopenvironment--including the built-in conflict between access and display, thedifficulties in managing several tasks simultaneously, and the need to coordinatethe multiple technologies and information objects (laptops, PDAs, files, URLs,email) that most people use daily--and propose novel design solutions that worktoward a more integrated digital work environment. They describe systems thatfacilitate access to information, including Lifestreams, Haystack, Task Factory,GroupBar, and Scalable Fabric, and they argue that the organization of workenvironments should reflect the social context of work. They consider the notion ofactivity as a conceptual tool for designing integrated systems, and point to theKimura and Activity-Based Computing systems as examples.Beyond the Desktop Metaphoris the first systematic overview of state-of-the-art research on integrated digitalwork environments. It provides a glimpse of what the next generation of informationtechnologies for everyday use may look like--and it should inspire design solutionsfor users' real-world needs.

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