Oh in the end? None of them. I believe that the GUI Desktop metaphor is coming close to the End Cycle. I forsee the replacement as something akin to – an immersive environment not tied down to Documents, Files, Folders, phones, movies, TV, cameras.
I’m inspired by because of its expansive capability; blocks as a basic unit of information but one that you can manipulate and handle and use in any way you desire. Its not “it” but I think it points to a more natural way of interacting with computers.
The line will blur and disappear between video, typing, voice, pictures, as I think it will be possible to receive information in the format you most desire.
I think the emphasis will be on “views”; what you receive will be customizable depending on your skill level so that there are no barriers to communication.
Someone who is 7 years old will equally be able to customize their experience to their needs and skill levels and primary mode of communication equally well as a 42 year old computer programmer, or a 22 year old game designer, or a 70 year old grandparent.
I imagine an iterative process of exploration and discovery within the system; where some intelligent programming will adapt the system in a general way to your needs, without locking you into its decisions.
Working with computers will be less about function and more about form; the immersive experience will allow you to project your wants and needs into the system itself; the system won’t have to do the thinking for you beyond a general way, but instead you will imprint YOURSELF into the system as you use it.
Imagine blocks that are easily programmable. Look at the MIT project SCRATCH; teaching kids ages 6+ the logic of programming by giving them FULL POWER to create amazing games and utilities; they have the power to take their ideas and make them into something; its “extended Kindergarten” model of logical blocks helps them understand the nature of processes,
Right now, with current GUI, there is a disconnect between the processes we desire and the systems we have to use; a greater separation between the underlying processes that govern a computer’s functions with the way we use it.
But if you learn to truly understand what it is that you want to accomplish; and there are STABLE STANDARDS to work with, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish, from creation to communication; (rather than the ever changing “standards” of today; and the layers of confusion added for corporate protection; twitter blocking image downloads, youtube making it more and more difficult to KEEP what we see; (which kids today know how to get past easily enough – and they are the ones that are going to program future systems).
I know this sounds overly vague; but it’s hard to describe the picture I have in my mind about “What is the future of GUI?” That wasn’t your question, but it’s what I’m answering. 😛
But I believe it is immersively connecting your desires with a set of very basic but powerful tools;
1) Create analogies (forms)
2) Add Connections between analogies;
3) Use the channels you’ve created to flow from your mind, through your body’s preferred communication mode (vocal, typing drawing, tactile, video, etc) – into immersive system, to allow one analogy to become another analogy;