Command Line vs. Graphical User Interfaces
(or "Do you know what you want, or would you like the soup of the day?")
A recent poster to a usability email list pointed out that command line interfaces can be more efficient than GUIs once they are learned. He had even found a web site that offers a command line for web browsing. http://www.yubnub.org/.
This brought to my mind a few analogies that I'd like to share here:
Command Line (CLUI)
...is like ordering a meal from a short order cook, when you know what they can serve, how they can prepare it, and exactly how to order it.
"Hey, Mac, give me a Pope Benedict and Sweet Alice with mystery in the
alley, on wheels"
(To decode this, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diner_Lingo)
Graphical User Interface (GUI)
...is like having a menu (opportunistic pun) and a waiter who tells you what the specials of the day are. Of course, half of the time, after you order they tell you that they're out of that.
GUI "Specials of the Day" today:
1. "Do you know you have unused icons on the desktop?" and
2. "Microsoft Update, Adobe Updates, Google Updater, and Installshield Updater all have updates for you to download and install...Mr. 'I have nothing else to do but keep my software updated'...oh, and did I mention that your two anti-virus and three spyware apps all need updates? The next time you visit, maybe I can interest you in upgrading your firewall to something other than that free version that came with your computer."
The GUI Fast Food Server: Mr. Wizard
"Great...so you're ordering the #2. Would you like fries with that? Are you sure? Please read this Fries 2.0 license agreement and select 'I Agree' before continuing. Great. Where would you like me to put the fries? Installing potatoes...Oops, sorry, there's not enough space left on your plate."
- Don Norman Essay: UI Breakthrough-Command Line Interfaces
- Answers.com: Command Line Interfaces
- Scott Isensee: Revival of the Command Line?