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March 2nd 2012 2:26 am

This generation of computer users will be the most divided over touch/mouse+keyboard interfaces

From the way Apple is infusing more and more iOS components into OS X and Microsoft going full force with a tablet friendly UI while retaining the traditional desktop UI in Windows 8, it's clear that we're in the transition period from going mouse+keyboard based UI to a finger based UI.

For people that are little younger than me and older (probably for people in 9th grade and up today) I'm convinced that we're probably going to be unanimously more resistant to the eventual change on how we interact with computers since we all grew up a mouse and keyboard and we're raised to be more efficient with keyboard shortcuts.

But for the kids that are in elementary school now, I think they'll be the most divided in opinion on computer interaction. For those that have iPads and iPod touches at home to play with, they'll probably be more OK with using a full touch OS. But for those that grow up in a tablet-less space (like my sisters), they'll probably be just as resistant as we are.

This paradigm change war is already in full force for handheld gaming. I'm adamantly against all touch controls but, unfortunately, the young ones these days would much rather tap enemies on their iPod Touches and iPads than use the a, b, x, y buttons...sigh...

What do y'all think?

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6 replies

I agree that the generation in their teens now will divide many. They're used to their iPads, iPhones, and other touch.
The older generation is more down to earth. Apple will decide when things go (fully) touch but I feel Microsoft will fall or have it grow very slowly.

I'm not against all touch controls as I love my Magic Touchpad but some things are overdoing it.
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i think Microsoft is pushing it rather hard right now because they are behind in the tablet space which was a space they created.

I also think you are right that when apple goes full touch is when every one else will be going "thats how you are supposed to do it" i think Mountain Lion is a step in that direction.

But i think that depending on how the PC makes embrace the touch hardware this year and next will really give us an idea how fast the transition will be. if for the back to school season we lots of touch enabled laptops or some really good monitors with touch at reasonable prices it may be sooner then you think.
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I think you and Ves are correct for the most part but even now both of my parent who are in their mid to late 60s have touch enabled tablets and "regular" laptops and i find it funny when they reach out to the laptop screen and expect it to do something.

I think the tables (Kindle Fire and iPad) are getting people used to touching the screen and i think it will be an easier transition than people think.

i don't see the keyboard going away any time soon but i can see fewer mice and more of those track pad that apple uses when all the gestures become supported for them in Windows 8.
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You're darn straight I am resistant. I hate the move toward touch friendliness. It has already ruined Ubuntu, and is in the process of ruining OS X and Windows as well. The reality is that the touch interface is great for casual computing, but horrible for being really productive at many work tasks. The reason it is becoming so popular is because the majority of people really only want to do casual computing. For those of us who rely on multitasking for the work we do, touch will always be the enemy, regardless of which generation of computing we learned the ropes in.
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If you have the ability to adapt you can conform to anything. Think of Blackberry users switching to Android devices. Think of a Windows user switching to Macs, or vice versa. If you want to use a method of input badly enough, you'll force yourself to adapt to it.

I truly believe it comes down to a willingness to conform. The problem for me, is I feel comfortable with a keyboard and have an extremely fast WPM rating, so tactile is something I basically need in order to keep that up. If I switch to a touch control I am also at the mercy of the device processing the touch screen. I think it is possible that a touch interface could become the standard and keyboards will essentially not exist, but it will be decades before that happens.

It is a transition, and I truly believe a tactile option will need to be available in most cases, especially emergency related systems that simply can't afford to have an issue with a touch keyboard. However, there will be people more comfortable with that type of keyboard in the coming years, so it's hard to say just what kind of transition we'll see with that.

This is why at age 30, I continuously try to adapt to any massive change rather than reject it. It's important to know how to function in any system, especially today's main modern OS's.

Windows 8 should be a fun time and I'm looking forward to playing around with it. Here is hoping there is a way to port it to an iPad. :-)
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Power users will always be power users. Tablets are not filling the role for power users. And that's what makes Windows 8 so powerful. It appeals to both entry tablet users and power users. You still have everything you need as a power user and nothing gets in the way of that.

I'd say that this paradigm shift you are referring to has yet to come to fruition. And won't for a little while longer.
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