And I thought "point and click" was user friendly
My mom is quite computer illiterate, but the other day she wanted me to show her how to turn the computer on and play some music. Imagine what the most difficult part of the whole process was! It was pointing and clicking with a mouse. She says her arm started hurting of all the trying. Double clicking is particularly hard because as she does it the mouse slightly moves and the double clicking fails.
It turned out that it was easier for her to use the keyboard to start or stop playing music and move between songs than using a mouse. And I thought pointing and clicking was supposed to be new user friendly!
I told her in the future we'll probably, like in Star Trek, control our computers with voice and touch screens and she really welcomed that. It seems that it is much more natural for an average person to touch the stuff on the screen with their fingers (or with a pen) rather than use a mouse to do it, but this seems to escape us computer geeks quite commonly, as we mastered our mouse navigation skills.
Star Trek was utterly spot on with their vision of computer interfaces, and chances are great that this is exactly how it will be. We already have multi touch screens - they just need to start entering the home users market. Some day soon, noone will need a mouse and everyone will, if they wish to, use voice to control their computers. Keyboard will probably be around for touch typists for fast and quiet (voiceless) input though, but as they already are more and more, they will be slim, compact, wireless and portable.
One thing left to adapt to this kind of revolution is the operating system software. It must support touch screens and have good voice recognition software. The former is probably not an issue for Free Software, but the latter could be. Windows Vista might, at this point, be slightly ahead of us. There's a hint for whom it may concern.