The mouse was not the only input device invented by Doug Engelbart. The keyset, which Engelbart is using below with his left hand while operating the mouse with his right, was left in the dust by Steve Jobs and others who sought to simplify the user experience. Jobs also refused to include a network connection and other high value options. Maybe it’s time to take another look…
Check out Of Mice and Men, by 99%Invisible podcaster Luisa Beck who spoke with Christina Engelbart, Executive Director of the Doug Engelbart Institute, and Larry Tesler, Apple VP and Chief Scientist from 1980 to 1997:
If you are looking at a computer screen, your right hand is probably resting on a mouse. To the left of that mouse is your keyboard. As you work on the computer, …(READ MORE)
There is some discussion in the piece about “easy to learn” vs. UI options that offer increased capability but require some learning. What’s important here is not to fall into the trap of thinking there is only one true path. Of course we need “easy to learn”, but what we need even more is a range of UI options — from “easy to learn” to very advanced. If “easy to learn” was our only metric, we would all be riding tricycles, there would be no surgeons, lawyers, athletes, black belts, and all musicians would play the recorder. And everyone would be using computers today exactly the way they did when they first started. The point is, it’s important to have choices, and a path to increased proficiency.
If ease of use was the only requirement, we would all be riding tricycles. – Douglas Engelbart
Doug Engelbart anticipated a world of accelerating change, with global issues for business and society increasingly complex and urgent, challenging to solve. He knew that if we could reach into the future and borrow tomorrow’s higher performance tools and practices, and use them effectively to solve today’s challenges, that would make a significant difference to humanity and the planet. That’s what drove his research agenda, why he invented the mouse and keyset, and pioneered other revolutionary features like hypertext and teleconferencing with equally revolutionary business practices and strategies for bootstrapping innovation, augmenting human intellect, and increasing the collective IQ in teams and organizations wishing to make a difference in the world.