There is coming a time when potentially most of those who interact with connected devices will have never owned a traditional personal computer (ie. desktop or even laptop). Trends are already leading this direction.
The future may allow for Flash and HTML 5 or other interactive technologies to exist in order to guide those users through their day-to-day tasks using mobile computing devices. People may soon forget what a cable modem or even what a router is. It’s our job as designers and developers to provide and guide their interactions with application data in interesting and unique ways.
Desktop operating systems are adding more and more “connected” technologies into them because the writing is on the wall. Devices are now out-selling PCs and if they can train users into certain ways of interacting with machines that you find usable and satisfying, you may decide on a new device with their mobile OS for your use.
What will be the fate of the mouse? Will it die? Will keyboards be replaced via listening devices that convert your vocal commands as input? Will devices watch you with their camera(s) (think Kinect+)? What sort of gestures will win and which will lose favor? Will the desktop die a slow and painful death, or will it hang around for certain applications?
There is a lot of really interesting technological things going on, even in this rotten economy. There is this notion of a Flash versus HTML 5 battle being waged… and for now there does seem to be a battle, but only by large companies fighting for mindshare. In the end, whatever works best for users will matter. It is for this reason I feel that Flash and different but related technologies will co-exist until eventually one of them dies out in favor of the other. Who is to say something brand new won’t replace both options?
It’s amazing to think about legions of people going through their daily lives who will never own a traditional PC or use home WIFI in their lives. It is happening now. As time marches on, it will continue to happen to larger counts of people. Users. Clients. Try to keep all of this in mind when you are deciding on what next to pursue in your profession. Just keep an eye on the user experience and how less mouse-driven it’s all becoming. It’s about touch, gestures, surfaces, movements, frameworks, memory, media, and of course hardware.
These are exciting times we find ourselves living in. I am happy to be around while all of this takes place and while I am able to interact with and perhaps even drive a little tiny bit of it one way or the other. I won’t call this a rant… I choose to call it my 10 minutes of positive and dreaming blog authoring.