Sunday, June 01, 2008

Control v. Data Plane Complexity & HCI

I was reading a bunch of HCI research recently and it struck me that the
really successful systems that people build (I realize HCI isn't about systems, but
often the really good HCI work builds systems to do experiments, so you get to see cool design artifacts as a side effect of their work - hey- the iPhone as a side effect is
no bad thing:) so anyhow te good systems have low complexity control planes and all the clever stuff is implicit in the work in the data plane (to use networking terminology)

this is a bit like IP v. ATM- IP has a rediculusly simple control plane (originally)
and so is easy to write many many applications to.

in HCI terms,. this is similar - we want systems with low cognitive overhead - i.e.
you want star trek communicators not things you have to click to unlock then 10 digits to dial/press to call. you want tivo boxes that just go ahead and record your favorite types of programs by default and use the actual broadcast events to trigger recording start/end, rather than VCRs with arcane yarrow-stick-casting interfaces where you type in immutable start and end times in odd formats and program/channel numbers that relate to local geo- and techno- specific assignment of program and station to some random number....

you want a net where you can just send a packet, rather than calling 11M lines of code to set up a virtual path and channel.

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